A planned high-voltage, direct-current electricity transmission line from Oklahoma to Tennessee has cleared another federal regulatory step and can now negotiate rates with customers, the company said Tuesday.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved an application from Plains and Eastern Clean Line to sell up to 75 percent of the transmission line's capacity to utilities and renewable-energy providers. The remaining capacity would be sold under what's called an “open season” process that provides access for other customers on similar terms and conditions.
The 750-mile project would take electricity from wind farms in the Oklahoma Panhandle to customers in Tennessee. If it meets several other regulatory requirements, the project is expected to be in operation by 2017.
Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy Partners, said the commission approval was another important step.
“We are excited at the momentum surrounding the Plains and Eastern Clean Line and we look forward to working with our local, state and federal stakeholders as we continue to develop the transmission line project in a responsible and transparent manner,” Skelly said in a statement.
Plains and Eastern Clean Line said its project employees have met with more than 1,800 people in the project area. They've also held meetings with local officials and community leaders in more than 30 counties across Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Plains and Eastern Clean Line already has agreements with Claremore-based Pelco Structural LLC to manufacture the monopoles for the transmission lines.
“This approval from FERC is a great step toward developing Oklahoma's low-cost, clean energy resources,” said Oklahoma Energy Secretary Michael Ming.
“The Plains and Eastern Clean Line will create jobs while enabling billions of dollars of investments in Oklahoma's clean energy industry,” he said.
Clean Line received commission approval earlier this year for its Rock Island Clean Line, a similar high-voltage, direct-current transmission project from Iowa to Illinois.
The Plains and Eastern Clean Line will create jobs while enabling billions of dollars of investments in Oklahoma's clean energy industry.”