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Developer proposes a 350 mile underground transmission from rural Iowa to Chicago

Power News - Published on Thu, 14 Mar 2019

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Des Moines Register reported that A development company wants to build a 349-mile underground transmission line that would carry renewable energy from wind-rich rural Iowa to high-demand eastern US cities. Direct Connect Development Co said that it wants to build a 2,100-megawatt high-voltage transmission line that would run underground from Mason City to the Chicago area along existing railroad lines, primarily the Canadian Pacific. The project, called SOO Green, is expected to cost about USD 2.5 billion and could be operational by 2024, the company said. It would need permits from several local, state and federal agencies, including the Iowa Utilities Board and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, to go ahead with the project.

Iowa is a national leader in wind energy generation, although utilities are running into more opposition from rural Iowa landowners, who are concerned about noise from the turbines and their impact on farmland, among other issues.

Direct Connect said it can limit the project's environmental impact "by boring under sensitive habitat, limiting the impact on birds and other endangered species."

The company said in a news release that "Building SOO Green underground and utilizing an existing railroad right of way will also limit impacts to neighboring landowners.”

After running into opposition from landowners, Rock Island Clean Line withdrew its plans in 2016 for a USD 2 billion, 500-mile overhead transmission line that would have funneled wind energy across 16 counties from northwest Iowa into Illinois and states farther east.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Thu, 14 Mar 2019
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