The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has unanimously approved an order granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct and operate the Illinois portion of the Rock Island Clean Line, a 500-mile HVDC transmission project designed to deliver 3.5 GW of wind power from northwest Iowa to Illinois and states farther east.
‘The ICC approval is a great step forward for the Rock Island Clean Line project and brings Illinois one step closer to creating a cleaner energy future,’ says Michael Skelly, president of project developer Clean Line Energy. "We are grateful to the commission for their careful consideration of our application and proposed route."
Clean Line claims the Rock Island project will decrease the annual cost of wholesale electricity used to serve Illinois customers by an estimated $320 million in its first year of operation alone. Additional economic benefits in Illinois would include a direct investment of approximately $600 million in the state, creation of hundreds of jobs to construct the transmission line, and job support in the manufacturing sector for the wind turbines that will provide power for the line, the company adds.
The Rock Island Clean Line project continues to make progress on other required approvals as well. In May 2012, the project obtained a key regulatory approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin negotiating transmission service agreements with potential customers. The project has also received required licenses from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.