Developer Clean Line Energy has designated Iowa-based manufacturer Sabre Tubular Structures as a preferred supplier for a proposed transmission line that will deliver up to 3.5GW of wind power from the US Midwest to Illinois.
Sabre will provide transmission structures for the 500-mile (804.6km) overhead, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) Rock island Clean Line. They will be produced in the company’s Iowa facilities.
Sabre will establish a supplier base within the project area (primarily Iowa and Illinois) to supply as much raw material as possible from local companies.
The $1.7bn project will start in northwest Iowa but also provide access for wind farms that could be built in neighboring Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Clean Line anticipates that the project will make possible billions of dollars of investments in new wind energy projects that could not otherwise be built due to the limitations of the existing electric transmission grid.
Clean Line estimates that property taxes on the Rock Island Clean Line transmission line will generate millions of dollars annually in Iowa and will be distributed to counties where the line and converter station are located.
The Rock Island Clean Line submitted preferred and alternative routes and applied to operate as a public utility before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). A similar application and filing will occur before the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), as well.
The IUB and the ICC are the primary regulatory and siting authorities in the respective states.
In Iowa, it will seek an Electric Transmission Franchise from the IUB; in Illinois, it has applied for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and for the authority to construct from the ICC.
Approvals from these state regulatory bodies will allow the Rock Island Clean Line to construct, operate, and maintain a transmission line in each state.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates interstate electricity transmission, approved Clean Line’s application for authority to negotiate rates and enter into contracts with customers for the Rock Island project.