- The U.S. Department of Energy has ended its partnership with Clean Line Energy Partners' efforts to construct a 700-mile $2.2 billion transmission line to ship wind generation in Oklahoma to markets in Tennessee and other southeastern states.
- The Arkansas Congressional delegation hailed the decision as a "victory for states' rights." Developers recently scrapped the Arkansas segment under pressure from lawmakers who decried the potential use of federal eminent domain authority.
- Clean Line officials say the project is still viable but is moving at a slower pace now, Reuters reports. In December, the company sold the project's Oklahoma assets to NextEra Energy Resources.
Is Clean Line Energy still developing the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project? The company says yes, despite the fact that selling the Oklahoma assets and ending its plan to build in Arkansas means the Tennessee portion of the line appears to be all that remains on the drawing board.
Developers say the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project could enable over $7 billion of investment in new renewable energy facilities in the Oklahoma Panhandle region and deliver 3.5 GW of low-cost wind. But the project has faced opposition, particularly from landowners in Arkansas. According to Clean Line, the energy delivered by the Plains & Eastern project would cost between $0.04/kWh and $0.06/kWh.
The Plains & Eastern Clean Line had been under development in Oklahoma for eight years when Clean Line sold it to NextEra. The company said the project has gone through an environmental review with "substantial stakeholder input" and received the regulatory approvals and major environmental permits necessary for construction, but it's unclear how it will move forward without the DOE support.
“The project is not dead, but is on a much slower track,” Clean Line Energy spokeswoman Sarah Bray told Reuters.