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Plains and Eastern Clean Line seeks federal approval to sell capacity on proposed transmission line from Oklahoma Panhandle to Tennessee

Clean Line Energy Partners filed an application to establish rates with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. A planned high-voltage transmission line would take electricity directly from Oklahoma wind farms to utilities in Tennessee and the southeastern United States.
by Paul Monies Published: June 30, 2012

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.

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by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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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.”

Michael Skelly

President of Houston-based Clean Line Energy


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