HOUSTON (press release)—Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC (Plains and Eastern), a subsidiary of Clean Line Energy Partners LLC (Clean Line) of Houston, Texas, received a major regulatory approval in the State of Tennessee. The Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) unanimously voted to approve the application of Plains and Eastern for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and to grant Plains and Eastern the authority to operate as a wholesale transmission-only public utility in Tennessee.
The Plains & Eastern Clean Line is an approximately 700-mile overhead, direct current electric transmission project that will deliver wind energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to utilities and customers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and other markets in the Mid-South and Southeast. The project will provide affordable, renewable energy to more than one million homes annually, create construction jobs in Tennessee, and help reduce air pollution.
Clean Line Energy President, Michael Skelly, said, “We appreciate the TRA’s review of our application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. We are happy to take another step forward in the development of this important infrastructure project and believe there is an essential role that affordable renewable energy can and should play in the energy mix for Tennessee and the greater Southeast.”
There is a need to connect the supply of thousands of megawatts of new wind energy in the Oklahoma Panhandle with the increasing demand of utilities in the Mid-South and Southeast. From May through July of 2014, Clean Line conducted an open solicitation for transmission capacity on the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. Fifteen potential customers submitted more than 17,000 megawatts of requests for transmission service, more than four times the capacity of the line. Clean Line received a Letter of Interest from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) stating that the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project presents a valuable option for TVA to provide affordable clean energy. TVA has completed several key technical studies for interconnection of the project and is continuing detailed engineering work to ensure the safe and reliable interconnection with the TVA transmission system.
“Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and its manufacturing division the Tennessee Manufacturers Association applauds this decision by the TRA on behalf of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line,” said Catherine Glover, President of Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. “We believe this is a strong example of Tennessee moving forward as a clean energy leader, attracting new business investment and spurring job creation.”
In resolutions passed unanimously, both Shelby County (TN) and the City of Memphis expressed support for the development, construction and operation of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. They cited the investment in western Tennessee and the potential to create a renewable energy hub in the Greater Memphis area as part of their reasoning.
“This is great news for the economic climate in Tennessee. Not only will low-cost, renewable energy benefit current business and residential utility customers, it will send another strong message of why potential companies should relocate to our state,” said Al Bright, Jr., EDGE (Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County) Chairman. “It’s going to help bring jobs to Tennessee.”