On November 6, Rock Island Clean Line LLC, a subsidiary of Clean Line Energy Partners LLC of Houston, Texas, filed petitions with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) for issuance of electric transmission line franchises. The petitions request approval to construct, maintain and operate an electric transmission line in 16 Iowa counties.
The Rock Island Clean Line project is an approximately 500-mile overhead, direct current transmission line that, if built, will deliver 3,500 megawatts of low-cost wind generated energy from northwest Iowa to communities in Illinois and other states to the east. These states have a strong demand for clean, reliable energy, say company officials. They also say the project will encourage the manufacturing of transmission and wind turbine components, support thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars in state and local tax revenues in Iowa.
Line would carry wind-generated electricity to eastern states
In its petition to the IUB, Rock Island Clean Line formally requested approval of a route for the Rock Island transmission line. The company's proposed route resulted from more than three years of routing work, during which project representatives met with landowners, environmental agencies, government officials and other stakeholders to gather feedback. The company collected thousands of routing comments and considered hundreds of different potential routing alternatives.
The $2 billion transmission line has attracted significant opposition in Iowa, with a number of landowners and lawmakers concerned about the Texas company's access to eminent domain powers that can be used to force the sale of property, among other issues. However, company officials say they are committed to working closely with landowners and are offering fair compensation for easements and for any remediation work that may be required as a result of the construction process.
Sarah Bray, director of communications for Clean Line Energy Partners, says a landowner in Grundy County with an easement on his or her property that is half a mile long by 145 feet wide with two structures can expect total compensation of around $115,000 in addition to payment for crop damages.
Company officials say they are committed to transparency
Since its inception in 2010, Rock Island Clean Line has held hundreds of meetings in Iowa and Illinois to introduce the transmission project, answer questions, and gather feedback on routing options. These meetings have included dozens of community roundtables, public open houses, formal IUB informational meetings, and other meetings with local, state and federal agencies. Rock Island Clean Line officials say the company is committed to an open, transparent process that keeps landowners, the public, elected officials, community leaders and the media informed about all facets of the project's planning and construction process.
Company officials say Rock Island Clean line is also committed to creating local and Iowa-based beneficiaries of the project. The company previously announced an agreement designating Sabre Tubular Structures, a division of Sabre Industries, Inc., as a preferred supplier for the transmission structures for the line, which would be produced at Sabre's Sioux City, Iowa, manufacturing facilities.
Other ways $2 billion investment will enhance economic development
Sabre will establish a supplier base within the project area (primarily Iowa and Illinois) and will seek to supply raw material from local companies. Sabre's Sioux City facilities employ approximately 450 people in a variety of positions, including fabricating, welding, shipping and administration. "Rock Island Clean Line company and Sabre will create new opportunities for manufacturing jobs and help Iowa maintain its leadership in the wind energy industry," says Bray. "The $2 billion transmission investment will boost the wind industry in Iowa, create jobs, enhance economic development and strengthen the electricity delivery grid."
In May 2012, Rock Island obtained a key regulatory approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin negotiating transmission service agreements with potential customers for the Rock Island project. The project has also received required licenses from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
For more information about the Rock Island Clean Line, including key documents such as the IUB franchise petitions, maps of the proposed route, landowner compensation fact sheet, and other such materials visit www.RockIslandCleanLine.com.
About Clean Line Energy Partners: A statement released by the company says Clean Line's mission is to connect abundant, renewable energy resources to areas that have a high demand for clean, reliable energy. Clean Line is developing a series of transmission projects in the U.S. to move renewable energy to market. For more information, visit www.CleanLineEnergy.com.