Clean Line Energy and GE Energy Connections have announced their collaboration in the development of America’s largest clean energy infrastructure project, the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. The transmission project will be the first overhead high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) project in the U.S. in more than 20 years. GE has been selected as the exclusive provider of the HVDC converter stations, paving the way for the company’s first HVDC project in the U.S. since acquiring Alstom’s energy businesses in 2015.
The Plains & Eastern Clean Line is a 720-mile electric transmission infrastructure project that will enable the delivery of enough low-cost, clean energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to power more than one million homes in Arkansas, Tennessee, and other states in the Mid-South and Southeast. HVDC transmission systems provide the most efficient means of connecting wind generation to distant end-use customers.
“We are pleased to partner with Clean Line Energy on this transformational clean energy project,” said Russell Stokes, president and CEO of GE Energy Connections. “Our exclusive agreement to provide HVDC technology for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project will pave the way for substantial growth in the U.S. renewable energy industry.“
Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy, added, “This project will benefit from the experience and leadership that GE brings to bear in modernizing the U.S. electric grid. They have been at the forefront of many of our nation’s largest infrastructure projects and will ensure that leading technology will be used to provide affordable, clean energy to the Mid-South and Southeast.”
In March 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy agreed to participate in the development of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line and to help move it forward. Construction of the project is expected to begin in the second half of 2017.
The contribution of wind energy to the U.S. electricity mix has grown from 0.4% to 4.7% over the past decade. Today, more homes and businesses are powered by renewable energy than ever before. Growing demand in the U.S. for renewable energy depends upon the ability to access remote wind energy resources. New HVDC transmission lines are necessary to connect these homes and businesses to less expensive electricity generated hundreds of miles away.
With its purchase of Alstom’s energy portfolio last year, GE acquired one of the top three HVDC solutions providers. The agreement with Clean Line Energy to provide converter stations for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line will further strengthen GE’s position as a global leader in HVDC systems.