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Plains & Eastern Clean Line Gets Regulatory Approval in Tennessee

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The Tennessee Regulatory Authority unanimously approved Plains & Eastern Clean Line LLC, a subsidiary of Clean Line Energy Partners LLC of Houston, Texas, the authority to operate as a wholesale transmission-only public utility in the state.

The $2 billion, 720-mile transmission line would deliver more than 4,000 megawatts of wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle to customers in Tennessee and Arkansas. The project would provide renewable energy to more than one million homes annually.

“We appreciate the TRA’s review of our application for a Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity,” Michael Skelly, president, said in a news release. “We are happy to take another step forward in the development of this important infrastructure project and believe there is an essential role that affordable renewable energy can and should play in the energy mix for Tennessee and the greater Southeast.”

Clean Line has previously applied for utility status in Arkansas, but was rejected by the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Since, Clean Line has revealed plans to build a $100 million converter station in central Arkansas. Based on the company’s feasibility evaluation, the station could be sited in either Pope County or Conway County.

“Based on preliminary design and studies, it would be capable of interconnecting 500-megawatts,” a Draft Environmental Impact Statement from the U.S. Department of Energy read. 

A single one-megawatt wind turbine can power, on average, 240 to 400 homes in the country. Clean Line says the central Arkansas converter station would power 160,000 homes annually in the state.

Since its initial denial from the commission, Clean Line has not said whether it will apply again for utility status in Arkansas.

“Right now, we’re just focusing on getting through the federal process,” Skelly told Arkansas Business in December

DOE Environmental Review

A final decision from the DOE is expected after its environmental review process is complete. It will hold 15 public meetings in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas this month and in February. The following public meetings are to be held in Arkansas:

  • 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9 — Arkansas State University-Newport at Student Community Center, 7648 Victory Blvd.
  • 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10 — Carmichael Community Center Auditorium in Searcy, 801 S. Elm St.
  • 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11 — Arkansas State University-Marked Tree at Student Center, 33500 Arkansas 63 E.

The DOE released a 3,700-page impact statement on the transmission line in December. To view it, or view ways to submit written comments for consideration, click here.

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