Clean Down The Line

on June 14, 2011 at 8:15 AM

With all the recent talk in Washington of smart meters, transmission may be getting the short end of the stick.

But Clean Line Energy Partners, a Houston-based transmission company that specializes in high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, which can be effective in transmitting intermittent power generated by renewable fuels, is trying to balance the equation. On Monday it announced that it would partner with Siemens on HVDC technology for the Iowa wind to Illinois Rock Island Clean Line transmission project.

The agreement is the first for the relatively new Clean Line. Following a separate Siemens announcement of an investment of over 30 million euros in Tendril, a smart grid data management technology operator, on Monday, Clean Line may find itself having to explain how it too is part of the electricity revolution.

Getting HVDC Religion

“We and Siemens are big believers in HVDC equipment being an important part of the solution to integrating renewable energy because it’s the most efficient way to move electricity a long distance,” Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy Partners told Breaking Energy.

“Illinois is an energy hub and we know that no matter what our electricity solutions will look like in the future, they will need to be transported on a grid, said Doug Whitley, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. “This is an important step in getting more alternative energy to our state.”

The Rock Island Clean Line consists of approximately 500 miles of overhead HVDC transmission lines that would deliver 3,500 MW of wind power, enough to power 1.4 million homes, from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota to Chicago and other energy consumers in in Illinois. It is one of four such HDVC transmission projects currently in the works by Clean Line.

In its statement announcing the partnership with Siemens, Clean Line said that the Rock Island transmission project would allow for an additional $7 billion of investments in wind power that would not have otherwise been constructed.

“Projects like the Rock Island Clean Line will provide the upgrades needed to the US transmission grid while providing lasting economic and environmental benefits to the region,” said David Pacyna, President of Siemens’ North American Transmission Business.