After years of delay before finally rejecting the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, the Obama administration will sweep aside state objections to ensure that a transmission line connects wind-rich Texas and Oklahoma to Tennessee.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) announced Friday that it will ensure Clean Line Energy Partners is able to complete its proposed Plains & Eastern transmission project to bring four gigawatts of wind energy out of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles to markets in the U.S. southeast, the New York Times reports.
Last year’s Quadrennial Energy Review was the latest in a series of analyses that have urged the United States to upgrade its electrical distribution system to better accommodate renewable energy, but the new line has been resisted by some state lawmakers. DoE said it would deploy previously unused powers of eminent domain contained in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, if necessary, to ensure the line is built.
“Moving remote and plentiful power to areas where electricity is in high demand is essential for building the grid of the future,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement accompanying the decisions. “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 Plains & Eastern Project will construct a 1,135-kilometre direct current connection “to transmit enough power for over 1.5 million households in the mid-South and Southeast U.S.,” the Times said. Several other companies are also hoping to build high-voltage transmission lines to carry renewable energy from western wind farms and hydro plants to eastern power markets.