The U.S. Department of Energy released its final environmental impact statement for the proposed Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project, marking an important step towards the construction of America’s largest clean energy project.
The multi-billion dollar infrastructure project is a nearly 700-mile overhead direct current (DC) transmission line that will create thousands of construction jobs in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee, support hundreds of manufacturing jobs in those states, and deliver 4,000 MW of low-cost clean power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to customers in Arkansas, Tennessee and other states in the Mid-South and Southeast.
DOE’s release of the Final EIS marks a key milestone for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. The Final EIS presents a thorough analysis and comparison of the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project, responds to public comments DOE received regarding the Draft EIS, and identifies DOE’s participation in the project through Southwestern Power Administration (Southwestern) as its preferred alternative.
Based on the analysis presented in the Final EIS, DOE identified a preferred route for the direct current transmission line. DOE also identified its preferred locations for a delivery converter station in Arkansas as well as a converter station and associated project facilities in Oklahoma. DOE’s participation in the project would be limited to states in which Southwestern operates.
Southwestern does not operate in the state of Tennessee, therefore, in the Final EIS DOE does not indicate a preference for the location of the DC transmission line or the converter station in Tennessee.
The Final EIS “did not identify widespread significant impacts as a result of construction or operations and maintenance of the Project.” DOE also concluded that implementation of the environmental protection measures that Clean Line included as an integral part of the project would avoid or minimize the potential for significant environmental effects.
“The release of the Final EIS marks the culmination of more than five years of work and the consideration of thousands of stakeholder comments,” said Michael Skelly, President of Clean Line Energy. “We are pleased to have reached this important project milestone and appreciate DOE’s careful environmental review and analysis of the Plains & Eastern project. We look forward to DOE’s Record of Decision.”
The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will provide around one billion dollars of private investment in Oklahoma and will grow Oklahoma’s clean energy economy by enabling several billions of dollars of investment in new renewable energy facilities in the Oklahoma Panhandle region.
“We are very encouraged by the release of today’s Final EIS because it brings us one step closer to expanding our nation’s interstate electric transmission backbone and meeting the growing demand for wind energy in the United States,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.
“The Plains & Eastern Clean Line is a critical component of this needed transmission expansion and will deliver low-cost, reliable wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle, where an enormous amount of potential wind farm capacity is waiting to be developed, to Americans in the Mid-South and Southeast United States. The line by itself will carry four times more electricity than the Hoover Dam generates, so this is a very big development indeed in American clean energy.”
In addition to identifying a preferred location for the transmission line and other project facilities, DOE confirmed inclusion of a delivery converter station in Pope County, Arkansas as part of the project. This facility will deliver 500 MW of low-cost, clean power to more than 160,000 Arkansas homes each year.
The converter station represents a direct investment of over $100 million dollars in Arkansas. David Holt, President of the Consumer Energy Alliance said, “Modern infrastructure projects like the Plains & Eastern Clean Line are critical to ensuring an affordable, reliable power supply for energy consumers here in Arkansas and across the Southeast United States. This project will not only deliver low-cost clean energy to Arkansans, but will create jobs and manufacturing opportunities here, as well. We are pleased to see this critical infrastructure project come closer to fruition.”
The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will also deliver 3,500 MW of low-cost renewable power to a delivery converter station located near Memphis, Tennessee and interconnect to the Tennessee Valley Authority. This interconnection will allow delivered energy to reach millions of TVA customers and other consumers throughout the Southeast.