Direct Connect Development (DC DevCo) announced that it wants to build a new 2,100-MW, high-voltage transmission line, called SOO Green, which would transport wind and solar energy. The 349-mile line would run underground from Mason City to the Chicago area along existing railroad lines, primarily the Canadian Pacific, and is expected to cost about $2.5 billion.
“The successful deployment of this HVDC technology along railroads will create a market segment that doesn’t exist today, and DC DevCo believes that the SOO Green project will set the standard regarding how transmission lines are developed and constructed in the U.S.,” said Trey Ward, DC DevCo’s CEO.
Construction of the project would create more than 600 temporary jobs in Iowa and Illinois, and indirectly create more than 200 permanent jobs to maintain and operate the wind farms and the transmission line post-construction, according to DC DevCo. In addition, the transmission lines would be buried underground in the existing rail corridor to limit impacts to the environment,
However, SOO Green first requires several local, state, and federal permit approvals, including the the Iowa Utilities Board and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. But DC DevCo suggests that it could be operational by 2024.
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), Jingoli Power and Siemens Financial Services are serving as the main investors of the project. Siemens is also responsible for the overall system design, engineering, manufacturing, civil works, installation, and commissioning of the HVDC converter stations.
“CIP is pleased to partner with DC DevCo, Jingoli, and Siemens on this transformative project that will bring clean energy from the resource-rich Midwest to satisfy the growing demand in Illinois and other eastern markets,” said Christian Skakkebaek, senior partner of CIP.
The Clean Grid Alliance, a nonprofit that works to advance renewable energy in the Midwest, is applauding the project proposal: “The SOO Green Renewable Rail project represents an exciting new project and technology to deliver sought-after renewable energy,” said Beth Soholt, the group’s executive director. “The project is evidence that the growth of renewables is driving innovation and companies are rising up to meet the demands of the energy marketplace.
“Clean Grid Alliance has worked for over a decade to reform MISO market rules to allow new players and emerging technologies the opportunity to provide value to electric customers,” she added. “The SOO Green Renewable Rail transmission project is uniquely situated geographically to deliver our Midwest renewable energy to customers in the Eastern Interconnect, fulfilling important grid needs and providing clean, renewable energy that continues to be in high demand.”