Boosters promote wind energy power lines

Source: McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - John Molseed Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa • Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sep 4 -¬†Clean Line Energy, a Texas-based company, is planning to build 500 miles of power lines across Iowa and Illinois dubbed the “Rock Island Clean Line.”

Officials from Clean Line were in Waterloo last week to meet with interested contractors to talk about the project’s needs.

About two dozen people attended a meeting at the Waterloo Center for the Arts including representatives from area construction contractors.

The stop in Waterloo this past week was one of several throughout Iowa that began in Sioux City Monday and concluded in Davenport.

Clean Line’s general contractor for the project is Omaha, Neb.- based Kiewit Corp. A route for the transmission lines that would carry the power more than 500 miles into Illinois has not yet been selected, said Cary Kottler, Clean Line project development manager.

“We want to do as much of our leg work now so when we have our permits we can get started,” Kottler said.

Before a route is approved, Clean Line must file a route proposal with the Iowa Utilities Board and present the plan publicly.

The plan would move wind generated energy from western Iowa into Illinois where it will plug into a grid to provide power to 1.4 million people across the eastern Midwest and to the East Coast. Kottler described the project as a super highway for energy.

Although the wind farms would be in Iowa, Nebraska and parts of South Dakota, the energy won’t be used in the states but sent to the far eastern end of the transmission lines, in Illinois.

Kottler said Iowa could see up to a $7 billion wind energy investment in future wind turbine construction. Construction would create an estimated 5,000 jobs, and the project, once complete, would employ about 500 people.