Major U.S. Transmission Projects Keep On Pushing to Bring Renewable Power to Market
After a tough decade of regulatory and public hurdles for new electricity transmission projects in the United States, Greentech Media is out with a profile of nine major lines that are at various stages of review and approval.
“Major infrastructure projects are notoriously tough to build in 21st-century America, and that seems especially true for transmission lines, however critical they are in transforming the energy system,” Greentech reports. But with more and more states and utilities adopting 100% clean energy targets, there is a growing need “to carry wind and solar power from where it’s most cost-effectively generated to where it’s needed the most.”
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Transmission lines from major wind or solar farms or hydroelectric resources in Canada “can be derailed at many points in their decade-long time frames from conception to completion,” adds reporter Jeff St. John. “Failure to gain regulatory approval from every state they cross, public opposition from environmental groups and communities worried about their negative impacts, or the refusal of any landowner along their path to cooperate are ever-present risks and have led to several high-profile project failures.”
But “a surprisingly large number of major projects are still moving ahead, each with the opportunity to unlock big amounts of renewable energy and bring it to where it’s most acutely needed.” And “transmission developers have long said that if only a few big renewable-linked projects could get built, the path would open to others once the benefits were made manifest.”
Greentech’s profile includes:
- The 1,150-mile, US$2.6-billion Gateway West project from Wyoming to the U.S. west coast;
- The 730-mile, $3-billion TransWest Express Transmission Project from southwestern Wyoming through Colorado and Utah to the Hoover Dam in Nevada, first proposed “way back when Gwen Stefani and 50 Cent were at the top of the pop charts”;
- The 514-mile, $2-billion SunZia Transmission Project between Arizona and New Mexico;
- The 800-megawatt Western Spirit line in New Mexico;
- The 780-mile, $2.3-billion Grain Belt Express line from western Kansas to Indiana;
- The 349-mile, $2.5-billion SOO Green HVDC Link, which would carry wind-generated electricity across Iowa to northern Illinois via underground high-voltage direct current cable;
- The 145-mile, $1-billion New England Clean Energy Connect project, which is now in competition with the 150-mile New England Clean Power Link HVDC project to carry electricity south from Quebec;
- The 330-mile, $2.2-billion Champlain Hudson Power Express HVDC line from the Quebec border to New York City.