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Industry News

FERC Issues Approval for Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Rate Proposal

LCG, August 20, 2014-The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order late last week that conditionally authorized the Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC and Plains and Eastern Clean Line Oklahoma LLC (jointly, Plains and Eastern) to charge negotiated rates for transmission rights on the proposed high-voltage direct current (HVDC) merchant transmission project. The order also grants Plains and Eastern?s request for waiver of certain FERC requirements.

The Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project is designed to support the development of wind farms and export of wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to load-serving entities in Tennessee, Arkansas, the Mid-South, and the Southeast, which have minimal wind resource development potential. The project will provide capacity to deliver up to 3,500 MW of wind power, including an intermediate delivery converter station in central Arkansas that would have the capacity to deliver up to 500 MW of power.

With the FERC order, Clean Line can sell transmission capacity to potential customers of the project, including utilities and other load serving entities or clean energy generators. Generator interconnection to the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project will be subject to the requirements of the project's open access transmission tariff. From May through July of 2014, Clean Line conducted an open solicitation for transmission capacity on the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, and 15 potential customers submitted more than 17,000 MW of requests for transmission service.

The President of Clean Line Energy stated, "The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will provide Arkansans access to low-cost renewable energy with its proposed delivery converter station and will substantially increase the amount of clean energy in Tennessee and the greater Southeast. At Clean Line, we are encouraged to see processes moving forward such as the recent Entergy Request for Proposals for renewable resources. The seven potential customers that requested transmission service to Arkansas in our initial open solicitation process provide ample evidence to indicate that the Plains & Eastern Clean Line project will be a key player for transmission service in Arkansas."

Plains & Eastern Clean Line has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in place to identify the full range of benefits that HVDC transmission projects may provide to TVA's stakeholders and to explore non-discriminatory methods for TVA to utilize independent transmission as a means to improve system reliability, increase resource flexibility, and enhance the potential for the integration of renewables. TVA recently completed the System Impact Studies for Plains & Eastern Clean Line, which identified a means for the reliable interconnection of the project to the TVA transmission system.

The Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project is undergoing a federal environmental review under the National Environmental Review Policy Act (NEPA) and anticipates that an applicant proposed route and alternative routes will be published in the fourth quarter of 2014, concurrent with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Plains & Eastern Clean Line expects the DOE to identify a preferred route for the project in 2015 with the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

As summarized in the order, the project will traverse parts of the service territories of Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP), TVA, and MISO; however, Plains and Eastern states that they are still in the process of determining the specific route. The estimated cost of the project is approximately $2 billion. Plains and Eastern state that they expect to commence construction on the Project as early as 2016 and place the Project into service as early as 2018. Plains and Eastern note that they are currently conducting studies with SPP, MISO, and TVA to ensure that the Project will safely and reliably interconnect to the existing transmission grid. When the project is completed, Plains and Eastern plans to turn over operational control to a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) or other existing third-party transmission provider, which will operate the line pursuant to a FERC-approved non-discriminatory rate schedule filed under the RTO's Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) or pursuant to another FERC-approved OATT.

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