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Planned electricity transmission line could boost wind generation in Oklahoma

A high-voltage transmission line planned from Oklahoma's Panhandle to Tennessee could begin construction by 2014 if it meets several regulatory hurdles.
by Paul Monies Published: April 5, 2012

A planned transmission line that would take wind power directly from Oklahoma to Tennessee has yet to clear state and federal regulatory hurdles but has begun lining up potential suppliers.

Clean Line Energy Partners' Plains and Eastern project would span more than 800 miles from western Oklahoma to western Tennessee. The company hopes to begin construction by 2014 and be ready to transmit electricity by 2017, said Phillip Teel, regional outreach manager for Clean Line.

Clean Line hopes to help solve a longtime problem in the energy business: getting power from its source to those who need it. With wind, that means sending the excess generating capacity in Oklahoma and other Plains states to consumers on the East and West coasts.

“We're just connecting a source with a market,” Teel said.

For Oklahoma, the project could mean an additional $14 billion in wind farm investments in the state, he said.

“There's a lot of potential out there and there's about 15 or 20 developers that would start building tomorrow if this project goes,” said Teel, who gave an update on the project Wednesday. “We think as a result of this project, there will be between 3,000 and 4,000 new windmills in the panhandle of Oklahoma.”

The project would allow up to 3,500 megawatts of electricity to be sent along high-voltage, direct-current transmission lines from Oklahoma's Panhandle through Arkansas and into Tennessee for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Clean Line would make money by charging a tariff, similar to a toll, for transmission from electricity producers to utilities.

Teel said Clean Line already has agreements with Claremore-based Pelco Structural LLC to manufacture the monopoles for the transmission lines. The company has a similar agreement with a company in Arkansas, General Cable, for the cable in the project. Fluor Corp. has been selected as the general contractor.

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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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