'Green' power line would cross state, 6 others

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 11, 2009 - 12:44 AM

A massive high-voltage power line that would connect the wind turbine farms along Buffalo Ridge and points west to the Midwest's biggest cities was unveiled Monday.

ITC Holdings Corp. of Novi, Mich., announced Monday that a 765,000-volt line would run 3,000 miles across seven states, including Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa and Wisconsin, carrying power to the Chicago region and points east.

The project, dubbed the "Green Power Express," would cost as much as $12 billion to transmit as much as 12,000 megawatts of power from windy, sparsely populated areas.

Company officials touted the project as being in line with the goals outlined by President Obama in his national energy agenda, specifically mentioning his desire "to get wind power from North Dakota to population centers, like Chicago."

Nonetheless, the project is likely to face a host of hurdles, starting with its cost and size, given the fact that power lines throughout the Upper Midwest have consistently sparked fierce opposition by local residents.

Further stressing its "green energy" credentials, the company estimated that hooking the wind farms into the region's electric grid could lead to a reduction of up to 34 million metric tons of carbon emissions, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of as many as nine 600-megawatt coal-fired power plants.

ITC Holdings began the process of winning approval of its plans Monday by filing an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It is likely to also need to pass regulatory hurdles from individual states that the power line would cross.

BOB VON STERNBERG

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