Houston-based Clean Lines Energy Partners plans to give the Midwest region a sorely needed jolt by undertaking construction of a 500-mile, high-voltage, direct-current electric power line extending from O'Brien County, Iowa, to Rock Island, Ill.
Clean Lines has indicated the $1.7-billion, 3,500MW project, to be constructed by Kiewit Corp. of Omaha, Neb., will create an estimated 5,000 construction jobs once the project breaks ground in 2014.
Earlier this week, Beth Conley, regional outreach manager for Clean Lines, told reporters in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the project will draw on trades for services ranging from surveying to road restoration.
She also indicated the company currently is mapping out the line's route while procuring construction permits and utility authorizations.
This past spring, Clean Lines received the federal regulatory approval required to open rate negotiations. Conley indicated the company will seek regulatory approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission later this year, and from the Iowa Utility Board in 2013.
Plans call for deriving electricity from wind turbines scattered in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, and for locating converter stations in O'Brien County and Morris, Ill., for purposes of converting the alternate currents generated by turbines to direct currents.
According to Clean Lines, the project will generate energy sufficient to power 1.4 million homes while spurring construction of up to 2,000 regional turbines to serve the transmission lines.
If all goes as planned, the line will be operational in 2017.