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.