$100M Station in Central Arkansas Proposed Along Planned Wind Highway

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Apr. 28, 2014 12:00 am  

“Because this is an interstate project, it has to go through the federal permitting process,” Skelly said. “We’re in the middle of that [process]. What it basically does is look at a series of routes, and we take all that information which our different stakeholders use to come up with a route.”

Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy is working with states and local agencies to gather input on the line’s proposed route.

The permitting process overall, Skelly said, is expected to conclude in spring 2015.

“We hope to break ground in a year after that — at some point in 2016,” he said. “This is like any large infrastructure project. It takes a long time to work through the issues and come up with a proper design and take into account the stakeholders’ interests. These things take a long time. As things go, we’re moving at a reasonable pace.”

When construction actually starts, the project is expected to generate some local economic activity in the state.

He said it would also indirectly create more work for wind industry companies in Arkansas — LM Wind Power, for example, which has a turbine blade manufacturing plant in Little Rock, could have more customers as more wind farms are built following the line’s completion.

“The wind energy associated with it … will facilitate the construction of another roughly $6 billion to $7 billion of new wind projects that cannot be built today,” Skelly said.

It will also create some construction jobs. About a year ago, Clean Line surveyed some of the proposed line areas and identified about 44 companies in the state that could be suppliers for the project. In particular, General Cable will supply all of the cable for the line.

General Cable, a publicly traded company based in Highland Heights, Ky., has a 330,000-SF factory in Malvern, where the 20 million linear feet of cable will be manufactured. According to General Cable, the job could be worth $100 million, depending on commodity prices.

“I think it’ll keep their factory humming for a year and a half,” Skelly said.

“We are keen for this project to create as many jobs as possible in Arkansas,” he said. “We’re fortunate that there are companies like General Cable who will make the wire right there in Arkansas.”

The job overall will be “pretty labor intensive,” Skelly said. “We’ll have hundreds of jobs building the line. In Arkansas, those are the direct impacts.”



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