A company that hopes to connect wind farms in the Oklahoma Panhandle with utility customers in Tennessee filed an application Friday with the federal government to establish rates for the project.
Clean Line Energy Partners plans a $2 billion high-voltage, direct-current transmission line across Oklahoma, through Arkansas and into Memphis, Tenn. Its application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asks for permission to negotiate rates and sell service for the 600-kilovolt transmission line, called the Plains and Eastern Clean Line.
Michael Skelly, president of Houston-based Clean Line Energy, said he expects the FERC application process to take fewer than six months.
“There are a lot of dimensions to a project like this,” Skelly said. “There's a regulatory piece, there's a technical piece, a permitting piece and grid interaction. This is part of the commercial piece.”
The 750-mile project will transmit wind power to a Tennessee Valley Authority substation in Memphis. FERC approval will let Clean Line negotiate arrangements with either wind producers in the Oklahoma Panhandle or utilities in the southeastern United States, Skelly said.
“They can buy capacity on the line, and that commercial arrangement would be the underpinning to what we're doing,” he said. “(FERC) doesn't set our exact tariff, but they make sure we use an open process and they make sure our rates are just and reasonable.”
The company wants approval to sell 75 percent of the capacity for the transmission line to customers at either end of the project, with the remainder sold under what's called an “open-season” process. In May, Clean Line received FERC approval for its Rock Island Clean Line, a similar transmission project from Iowa to Illinois.
In the meantime, Plains and Eastern Clean Line representatives continue to meet with landowners, government officials, tribes and other stakeholders as it studies a proposed route for the transmission line from Oklahoma to Tennessee. More meetings are planned for later this year.
We're optimistic that there's a place for this low-cost, clean energy over the long term as part of the U.S. energy portfolio.”