Plans for a transmission line project that will bring new ad valorem tax proceeds to Garfield County continue to move forward. Last week, the Clean Line Energy Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project received the final Environmental Impact Statement from Department of Energy, company officials said.

The statement is part of the federal permitting process the project must go through because it is connecting into Tennessee Valley Authority. and Department of Energy is helping with siting, Clean Line Energy Partners President Michael Skelly said. “It’s a multi-year process,” he said. “We are very happy because DOE last week said (in) their study that they recommended that the project move forward. It’s not a decision yet. That will happen in December, we believe. But the fact that the environmental study said the project should move forward is a very good thing.”

If the DOE remains on schedule, it is expected construction of the transmission line will begin in 2017, Skelly said. The approximately 700 mile transmission line from south of Guymon, to Arkansas and on to Memphis, Tenn., will be constructed through southern Garfield County — bringing nearly $1 million a year in property tax payments to the county, he said. Oklahoma currently gets 16 to 17 percent of its power from wind, Skelly said.

“A lot of wind project developers would like to build new projects but they can’t because there’s no electric infrastructure to get to market,” he said. “From an investment perspective, the most interesting thing is that there will be very large investments out in the (Oklahoma) Panhandle. So, if we’re successful building a line, then all these wind developers out here who would like to build but can’t, because they have no way to get to market, if they’re able to build, that investment is around $7 billion.”  The total transmission line project cost will be about $2.5 billion, with about $1 billion in Oklahoma, Skelly said.

Article by: Jessica Miller with Enid News & Eagle