Energy Department Supports $2.5 billion Wind Power Project in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee

Even as Oklahoma City billboards attack the wind industry and its tax credits in Oklahoma, the U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz says the Department of Energy will take part in the development of a $2.5 billion project to deliver wind-powered electricity from Oklahoma’s Panhandle to Tennessee. The 700-mile Plains and Eastern Clean Line project will be privately funded and deliver nearly 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy.

“Moving remote and plentiful power to areas where electricity is in high demand is essential for building the grid of the future,” said Moniz. “Building modern transmission that delivers renewable energy to more homes and businesses will create jobs, cut carbon emissions and enhance the reliability of our grid.”‘

The project will cross 14 counties in Oklahoma and makes its way across northern Arkansas and end just north of Memphis, Tennessee.

More than 1 million homes will be powered through the project.

Environmentalists are calling it a landmark decision by the Energy Department.

“The Sierra Club is celebrating today’s decision, which will help to continue the growth of the wind industry in Oklahoma,” said Johnson Bridgewater, Director of the Club’s Oklahoma chapter. “Exporting Oklahoma wind power to neighboring states brings jobs and local economic development to rural Oklahoma while adding more clean energy for the entire U.S. We are on our way to cleaner air, healthier citizens, and a booming clean energy economy thanks to Governor Fallin’s long time support of the Clean Line Project and the rest of the wind industry development in our state.”

The decision by the Energy Department came after five years of review by the agency. It also means the federal government will become involved to secure the transmission route if the developer cannot reach agreement with Arkansas. Oklahoma and Tennessee have already endorsed the project.

Michael Skelly, President of Clean Line Energy Partners said the project will be financed without taxpayer funds and construction is expected to begin in late 2017 with completion by mid-2020.







   

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