The US Department of Energy (DOE) has approved the $2.5bn Plains & Eastern Clean Line energy transmission project.
The 705-mile high voltage transmission line will deliver 4,000MW of wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to utilities and customers in Arkansas, Tennessee and other markets in the Mid-South and Southeast areas.
It will carry renewable energy from the Plains of the Southwest, east to communities and cities that have an appetite for low-cost clean power.
After completion, the project will deliver enough energy to power over 1.5 million homes in the mid-South and Southeast US.
Clean Line Energy president Michael Skelly said: "The Plains & Eastern Clean Line is the largest clean-energy infrastructure project in the nation and will modernize the U.S. electric grid while bringing forth new investment, job creation, and more low-cost power for American consumers."
The DOE said it will partner with Clean Line on the project under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but it will be funded by private investment.
If constructed, the project will address infrastructure challenges outlined in the 2015 Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focused on energy transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure.
The QER identified that new long-distance transmission capacity such as Clean Line has the potential to allow lower-carbon electricity, improve system reliability and operate at a reasonable cost to consumers.
The project is anticipated to create supply chain jobs in Arkansas and Oklahoma to construct the new infrastructure that will be built operated and maintained in both states.
Clean Line announced a $300m agreement with Oklahoma-based Pelco to construct the project’s tubular steel transmission structures.
The company has also identified three Arkansas firms to build infrastructure that supports the project, such as transmission conductors and glass insulators.
US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said: "Moving remote and plentiful power to areas where electricity is in high demand is essential for building the grid of the future."
"Building modern transmission that delivers renewable energy to more homes and businesses will create jobs, cut carbon emissions, and enhance the reliability of our grid."
The Clean Line project will also feature a 500MW converter station in Arkansas, which will allow the state consumers to benefit from renewable energy delivered through the project.
Image: US DOE approves transmission project. Photo: courtesy of Suriya Kankliang/FreeDigitalPhotos.net