The US Department of Energy (DoE) has withdrawn from a 2016 agreement to partner in the development of Plains & Eastern Clean Energy (PECL) Project proposed by Clean Line Energy (CLE), owing to the substantial opposition being faced by the project from landowners in Arkansas. Further, the project had also failed to secure a contract from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to buy the wind energy it would transmit. TVA stated that since its commercial customers are more interested in solar power generated locally, it does not see a need for wind energy from the project.
The USD2 billion project aims to provide 3,500 MW of wind power to Tennessee and 500 MW of wind power to Arkansas, from Oklahoma. It comprises a 720-mile (1,160-km), ±600 kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line, three alternating current (AC)/direct current (DC) converter stations (Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas), and AC interconnections to connect converter stations to the existing grid. These interconnections will include a double-circuit, 3-mile (4.8-km), 345 kV AC transmission line connecting to the future Optima substation of Xcel Energy or its subsidiary Southwestern Public Service Company in Oklahoma; a 500 kV AC tie connecting to TVA’s 500 kV Shelby substation in Tennessee; and a 5-mile (8-km), 500 kV line connecting to the existing 500 kV Arkansas Nuclear One−Pleasant Hill AC transmission line in Arkansas. In addition, a new substation for the existing 500 kV Arkansas Nuclear One−Pleasant Hill AC transmission line will be constructed under the project.
DoE had earlier agreed to participate in the development of the project through Southwestern Power Administration, which does not operate in Tennessee, under its March 2016 record of decision (RoD).