The Sooner Wind Energy Comes to the Southeast

Guest Blog | January 31, 2012 | Energy Policy, Wind

A company has proposed linking wind farms in Oklahoma to the Southeast via a high voltage superhighway for clean energy. Clean Line Energy (a Houston-based company) has been announcing contracts, partnerships and approved permits at a pace perhaps only Sooners from Oklahoma could have once appreciated.

Clean Line has four high-voltage direct current transmission projects and the one we’re most closely tracking (and excited about) is the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. This 800-mile transmission line will be able to connect some 7,000 megawatts of wind energy from Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas to the Southeast. That’s enough to power about 2 million homes.

Clean Line Energy has the potential to provide significant quantities of low-cost renewable energy. The estimated capacity factors for the wind farms Clean Line will connect to the Southeast is near 50% – substantially higher than the nationwide average of 35%. Those high capacity factors result in electricity in the 5.5 – 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour range according to Clean Line.

And here’s the best part about those prices – they’re fixed, for up to 20 or 25 years. Since the wind is free, the largest costs associated with wind energy are the capital costs – no mid-month price rate hike because a hurricane has cut natural gas production in the Gulf, or flooding has derailed a coal train.

Yes, the sooner the Plains & Eastern Clean Line gets built, the sooner we can start charging our electric cars with completely clean energy.

For more information about Clean Line, please watch an archived SACE webinar that hosted Clean Line here and read SACE’s letter of support.

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