About 20 wind energy companies have joined the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and The Wind Coalition in sending letters to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz, urging him to approve the Plains and Eastern Clean Line transmission project.
According to developer Clean Line Energy Partners, the 700-mile, high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission project would transmit over 3.5 GW of wind generation coming online in the panhandle region of Oklahoma to Arkansas, Tennessee, the Mid-South and the Southeast.
Although AWEA notes it does not take a position regarding specific wind or transmission projects, the group wrote to Moniz that it is "important for DOE, within the confines of its authority, to facilitate the expansion of transmission service to meet President Obama's and your department's goals for renewable energy."
Fourteen companies, including Invenergy and TradeWind Energy, said in a separate letter, "The wind industry strongly supports this project."
The companies wrote the project would create various benefits, including the following:
– A $2 billion private sector investment in transmission and another $7 billion investment in the wind farms – creating more than 5,000 jobs during construction and another 500 permanent operations jobs on the wind farms alone, with more than a thousand additional jobs for the construction and operation of the transmission line and associated facilities.
– Construction of the country's first new above-ground, interstate HVDC transmission project since 1986. This puts the U.S. back in a competition that China and Europe are currently dominating. China plans to add 33 HVDC projects totaling more than 217 GW of capacity over the next 20 years.
"Most importantly," the companies continued, "the DOE's approval of this project will send a strong signal to the markets that long-distance, HVDC lines can be sited and constructed in the United States. Potential investors in these types of projects are watching DOE's decision-making process in this case very closely."
Other letters include those from APEX Clean Energy, EDF Renewable Energy, RES Americas, Iberdrola Renewables, and Scandia Wind Southwest. All of the letters can be found HERE.