Clean Line could begin construction in 2015, executive says

Construction could begin in 2015 on a 700-mile electric transmission line that would carry wind energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle to Memphis, Tenn., Clean Line Energy Partners President Michael Skelly said.
by Jay F. Marks Modified: July 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm •  Published: July 23, 2013

Clean Line Energy Partners is working on several projects aimed at helping to solve the “big challenge of renewable energy.”

President Michael Skelly said electric transmission projects like the Plains and Eastern Clean Line, a direct-current line from Guymon to Memphis, Tenn., would help get renewable energy from areas where it is abundant to areas where it is scarce.

“The Panhandle of Oklahoma truly is one of the mother lodes of wind in this country,” he said.

Skelly spoke Tuesday to members of the Oklahoma City Rotary Club after meeting with Gov. Mary Fallin to discuss the $2 billion project.

Fallin said Skelly and Clean Line are “doing great things for our state” by working to build an interstate electrical transmission line that will spur investments in developing Oklahoma's wind resources.

Growth expected

Skelly said the project, which will accommodate about 3,500 megawatts of electricity, could result in $6 billion worth of new wind farms because developers need a way to bring power to market.

“That's a very substantial investment for the state,” he said.

Clean Line, which earned transmission-only utility status in Oklahoma in 2011, is working with the Department of Energy to determine the path for its transmission line across Oklahoma and Arkansas, Skelly said.

Clean Line also is working with Arkansas regulators, who have rejected the company's bid for utility status.

“We're confident we're going to be able to come up with a way to make this work for Arkansas,” he said.

He said the company hopes to begin construction on Plains and Eastern line in 2015.

Even though renewable energy has become a partisan issue, Skelly said he expects lawmakers to continue supporting wind energy.

“I'm putting together a 700-mile transmission line, so I'm an optimistic kind of guy,” he said.

by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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