The Plains and Eastern Clean Line wind power transmission line in Oklahoma was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Wednesday to start acquiring customers for its potential 7,000 MW of clean energy.
This line will be approximately 800 miles in length and is a high-voltage direct current transmission project. The new line is being developed in order to send clean energy generated by wind farms in western Oklahoma, southwest Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle to customers in the Mid-South and Southeast.
The project will be managed in two 3,500-megawatt phases. The first phase is under development. Such a transmission line is necessary to uncork the renewable energy potential of the region, because the existing electrical grid is not equipped to efficiently transmit new power sources.
It has been estimated about 10,000 jobs will be created as a result of the project being constructed. Additionally, 1,000 jobs will be generated for maintenance and operation of both the new power line and the wind farms connected to it.
The line could be finished by late 2017, and associated wind farms built from start to finish in just two years. The 7,000-MW project, if completed, could reduce CO2 levels by the same amount as removing two million cars from operation would, it has been estimated. Another estimate pegs the potential number of homes powered by the huge project at about two million. Another estimated huge benefit is the savings of 400 billion gallons of water annually that would have been used for the cooling of thermal power plants had they been used instead of the new wind farms and power line.
Oklahoma will have 3 GW of wind power installed by 2012, which will put the state three years ahead of its goal of generating 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015. Somehow, it doesn’t seem this very important story will make the national evening news, but it should.
Image Credit: James Fleeting from Wichita Falls, USA, Wiki Commons