The US Department of Energy (DOE) has approved the development of the Clean Line Energy’s $2.5bn Plains & Eastern Line transmission project in an effort to modernize the grid and accelerate the renewable energy deployment.
The Clean Line project is designed to deliver up to 4,000MW of wind power via a 705-mile direct current transmission line to meet the electricity needs of more than 1.5 million homes in the mid-South and Southeast US.
American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan said: "The U.S. Department of Energy’s decision is a critical milestone that opens the door for billions of dollars in private investment.
"The project supports economic opportunity often in rural areas that need it most and potential energy bill savings for Americans."
Besides reducing carbon emissions and enhancing the reliability of the grid, the project is expected to address infrastructure challenges outlined in the 2015 Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focused on energy transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure.
US Energy Secretary 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."
Construction of the Clean Line project, which also includes development of a 500MW converter station in Arkansas, is planned to commence in 2017.
Kiernan added: "Over 99 percent of all installed utility-scale wind capacity is located in rural areas. By building more projects like this, we’ll be putting America’s abundant untapped wind resources to use."
A $300m agreement has also been signed by Clean Line with Pelco to build tubular steel transmission structures as part of the project.
Three other firms have also been selected by Clean Line to build infrastructure such as transmission conductors and glass insulators for the project.
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 US electric grid while bringing forth new investment, job creation, and more low-cost power for American consumers."
Image: The US Department of Energy (DOE) intends to accelerate the renewable energy deployment. Photo: courtesy of dan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.