Clean Line Energy and GE Energy Connections have announced their collaboration in developing the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. It will be the United States’ largest clean energy infrastructure project and create thousands of manufacturing and construction jobs.
The transmission project will be the first overhead high voltage direct current (HVDC) project in America in more than 20 years, and General Electric, American’s premier digital industrial company, has been chosen as the exclusive provider of the project’s specialized substations.
Clean Line Energy is a TAEBC member. The company is privately-funding the development of several next-generation electric infrastructure that will connect the lowest-cost wind energy resources to distant markets.
Clean Line’s Plains & Eastern project is a 720-mile electric transmission line that will move low-cost wind energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) utilities and other electric utilities in the region. The project will deliver enough low-cost, clean energy for more than 1 million homes.
A converter station in Oklahoma’s Panhandle will convert the incoming alternating current (AC) power generated by wind farms into direct current (DC) power. The converter stations in Arkansas and in Shelby County, Tennessee will convert DC power back into AC power to be delivered to customers through the existing AC grid. HVDC transmission systems provide the most efficient means of connecting wind generation to distant end-use customers.
“The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will benefit from the experience and leadership that GE brings to bear in modernizing the U.S. electric grid. They have been at the forefront of many of our nation’s largest infrastructure projects and will ensure that leading technology will be used to provide affordable, clean energy to the Mid-South and Southeast,” said Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy.
Over the past decade wind power prices have fallen dramatically and wind energy is now cheaper in many cases than any other new sources of energy. Large corporate and industrial energy consumers are also driving demand for low-cost, clean power. Last year, more than half of wind power capacity in the United States was contracted by big brands and other emerging, non-utility customers.
New electric infrastructure is needed now more than ever to connect homes and businesses to the lowest-cost energy resources. General Electric has commenced engineering work on the project’s specialized substations, and construction of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line is slated for the second half of 2017.