Clean Line, a power transmission company based in Oklahoma, announced on September 11 that it had cleared a substantial hurdle on its path to build interstate high-tension electricity lines. These networks would deliver electricity from renewable energy-producing midwestern states to providers in the southernmost U.S. states like Tennessee and Alabama.
The goal of the project, known currently as the Plains and Eastern Clean Line initiative, is to transit energy from wind and solar power sources to consumers that do not possess the renewable energy resources available in the Midwest. This process would involve a 750 mile-long system of high-voltage direct current wires, capable of delivering 3,500 megawatts (MW) of energy at a given time, or enough electricity to light nearly 1 million residences.
Michael Ming, Oklahoma's Energy Secretary, lauded the decision as one that will lead to more jobs in the state and elsewhere.
"This approval from FERC is a great step towards developing Oklahoma's low-cost clean energy
resources," Ming said, according to the release. "The Plains and Eastern Clean Line will create
jobs, while enabling billions of dollars of investments in Oklahoma’s clean energy industry."
To qualify for the regulatory clearance, Clean Line had to pass a series of tests, including commitments to deliver affordable electricity that does not discriminate based on location. Additionally, the energy company had to prove that it was acting in the public good in order to receive permission to start building the interstate power transfer network.
While Clean Line's project remains in the planning phase, it could bring much-needed jobs to areas hardest hit by the ongoing national economic malaise. Not only will this provide a boost to unemployment numbers, the initiative further cements the place of renewable energy in the wider context of U.S. energy policy.