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Transmission Lines to Aid Business Adoption of Renewables

tallgrassareamapBusinesses wanting to use renewable energy in their operations will benefit from giant electric transmission lines being installed or awaiting approval all across the U.S.

These lines, some designed to carry up to 765 kilovolts, are being constructed from areas where renewable energy, including wind and solar, is most prevalent, to cities and industrial centers.

Among the largest is the “Green Power Express,” which would carry nearly 12,000 megawatts of wind power from the Upper Great Plains to various cities in the Midwest. The project, which is being handled by ITC Holdings Corp., would add 3,000 miles of transmission lines, with a price tag of nearly $12 billion, according to the Department of Energy. The project, however, would not be operational until 2020 at the earliest.

Here’s a look at a conceptual map of the Green Power Express.

green-power-express

Of more immediate concern, construction has already begun on the McNary-John Day transmission project. Designed to move more than 575 MW of wind power in the Pacific Northwest, the 79-mile line will run from from the McNary Substation in Oregon, across the Columbia River into Washington, and back into Oregon, ending at the John Day Substation, according to a press release. The line is just one of four total proposed lines in the Northwest that eventually could deliver 2,800 MW of renewable energy. For a list of the projects, refer here.

Additionally, two more windy states – Kansas and Oklahoma – are working on projects to add 400 miles of lines across the region by 2013. The Tallgrass and Prairie Wind projects will deliver electricity to cities throughout the states.

The Southwest Intertie Project (SWIP) is a 500-kilovolt transmission line that would stretch 500 miles between Idaho and southern Nevada. The southern portion of the line may be in place by 2010, and the northern stretch completed in 2011, according to the Department of Energy. Connecting to this line would be the Overland Intertie, a 560-mile transmission link planned to run between southern Idaho and eastern Wyoming.

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