More people and companies are coming forward backing TAEBC member Clean Line Energy’s Plains & Eastern Clean Line.

In November, the company announced their collaboration with GE Energy Connections 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.

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. The project will deliver enough low-cost, clean energy for more than 1 million homes throughout the Tennessee Valley.

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.

Clean Line’s Plains & Eastern project highlights the importance of building the AC/DC converter station in Tennessee to connect clean energy to the communities that need it.

The Plains & Eastern Clean Line is estimated to create hundreds of construction jobs in western Tennessee.  In addition, Tennessee communities and businesses will benefit by receiving the cost-effective renewable energy delivered by the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. The project will allow for lower wholesale electricity prices and lower emissions, creating significant environmental benefits for the state.

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Following the announcement, several companies wrote to the Governor Asa Hutchison of Arkansas to express their support for an increased and diversified renewable energy supply in the state.

The companies included: Ingersoll Rand, LM Wind Power, Maverick Transportation, McGeorge Contracting, Sediver USA, Unilever, and W&W/AFCO Steel.

Writing in part “Many of us have adopted specific goals to obtain increasing amounts of renewable energy over time. Some of us even aim to meet up to 100% of our electricity needs from renewable sources. Our ability to access low-cost power from renewable sources is therefore essential to our corporate energy strategies and an increasingly important factor in our decisions to locate our facilities. Yet, access to a variety of renewable supplies is relatively limited in Arkansas, and we ask you to support efforts to make these potential sources available.”

In February, Oklahoma City University professors also assessed the economic impact of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project in that state.

Russell Evans, Ph.D., and Kyle Dean, Ph.D., estimated the project’s capital expenditures would have a $1.9 billion impact on the state’s economy, and support an average of 4,961 jobs annually over the two-and-a-half year construction timeline of the project.

The study encompassed three phases of economic impacts: wind farm development, construction of a collection system and converter station, and installation of the transmission line. While all three phases would require annual operations and maintenance support, the authors were able to estimate the economic impact from operations and maintenance for the collector system, converter station and transmission line only. These two phases of the project estimated to exert a recurring $34 million impact annually on the state’s economy supporting an additional 108 Oklahoma jobs.

While the annual operations and maintenance support for the new wind farms was not reported in the study, it is expected that this will also have significant ongoing positive employment and income benefits for Oklahoma.