What’s the #1 reason utilities should purchase wind from Clean Line?

Even this Staples employee is excited about Clean Line's low-cost energy!

Across the nation wind power prices have plummeted over the past five years, and now are at all-time historic lows. A recent forecast from the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory demonstrates that it’s cheaper to contract for wind power today than to generate electricity using natural gas. 

The Plains and Eastern Clean Line transmission project will deliver 4,000 megawatts of wind energy from the midwest to our southern region. SACE supports this project because it will diversify our energy mix, create tens of thousands of jobs, and provide health benefits by decreasing pollution from fossil-fuel generation in our region.

But one of the most convincing reasons that southern utilities – like Tennessee Valley Authority – should hop on the Clean Line train? It’s simple: Cost.

The project is estimated to cost a mere 3 cents per kilowatt-hourThat’s comparable to the price of operating a modern natural gas power plant, making wind not only cost-effective but a guaranteed low-cost electricity source for decades in the future. Because there is no fuel cost associated with wind energy, utilities can secure long-term contracts (approximately 20-25 years) and lock in prices that protect their customers from price spikes due to volatility in fossil fuel costs.

If you had a choice between a fixed-rate mortgage at 3% or an adjustable rate mortgage at 3%, which would you pick? Nearly everyone chooses the fixed-rate mortgage at today’s low mortgage rates, because there’s not much lower for rates to go. But an adjustable rate mortgage could go up … a lot. But Southeastern utilities are hesitating to grab a deal for 3 cent power for 25 year terms, which leaves their utility customers at the mercy of natural gas prices that could go up … and up!

What’s more, for TVA, there are additional savings since it would distribute the power from Clean Line south and north to other utilities. As a pass-through transmission provider to other utilities purchasing wind energy, TVA would earn additional revenue. Based on this additional revenue and the low cost of wind power, Clean Line could help TVA actually reduce overall costs by about $1.44 per megawatt hour.

The Plains and Eastern project presents an opportunity to for utilities to partner with private industry to increase the amount of low-cost wind energy in the southern electric market, and save money for households and businesses on their electric bill. As TVA phases out 18 coal-fired units, Clean Line’s project provides a perfect solution to help fill in the gaps for electricity needs. This investment would make our region more attractive to new companies wanting large quantities of clean energy.

Plains and Eastern Clean Line is a direct current link to the lowest-cost wind energy in the country. Credit: Clean Line Energy Partners


But the clock is ticking if utilities want to contract for the cheapest prices Clean Line can provide. Critical deadlines regarding the federal production tax credit for wind power are fast approaching. According to Clean Line, contracts for wind power can be signed today, but can take delivery as late as December 2020 or perhaps 2021, and still qualify for the important tax incentive. We strongly encourage TVA’s board of directors to immediately contract for at least 1,000 megawatts of wind power on the Plains and Eastern Clean Line.

We need your help to urge TVA to buy wind power from Clean Line today: Sign our petition today to urge TVA to take advantage of this low-cost, abundant, clean energy resource that would benefit our region.

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Please take a moment and pull you head out of the clean energy ars. 3 cents per kilowatt or $30/megawatt is not cheap. It is highway robbery. You still have to pay for the cost of generation on top of the $30/megawatt. All in, you’d be lucky to be under $75 per megawatt. If Plain & Eastern was such a good deal and their was actual demand, this project would have been built 4 years ago. As it stands now, there is no buyers for wind, coal or nuclear energy wheeled across P&ECL. It’s too expensive and out of the money. The Tennessee Valley Authority has shown no signs of buying wind energy across P&ECL. They’ve shown no interest in paying for blanket capacity changes (paying for P&ECL when the wind isn’t blowing). This project was a lame attempt by the previous Administration to pick winners and losers when Washington has absolutely no understanding of the energy market. This proposed 750 mile extention cord is most likely a dead issue with the new Administration. Out with the old and in with the new!

Comment by Scott Thorsen on January 27, 2017 1:41 pm

How stupid are you? You know that Clean Line is just a transmission line right? You know that Clean Line does not and cannot sell power, right?

The TVA cannot buy power from Clean Line.

And that whole wheeling revenue thing? Yeah, check your math there, too.

You are the epitome of why the industry laughs at environmentalists.

Comment by Polly on January 27, 2017 10:01 pm

Hi Polly,

Thank you for engaging on this issue. Ignoring your initial insult, I would like to address issues raised in your comment. You are correct that the Plains and Eastern project by Clean Line Energy Partners is a transmission line. It’s a high voltage direct current transmission line, to be exact, which uses direct current for the bulk, long-distance transmission of electrical power, in contrast with the more common alternating current systems, which are often more expense and less effective. HVDC systems suffer lower electrical losses during transmission, making them more efficient and financially viable.

You are wrong, however, when you assert that TVA cannot buy power from Clean Line. TVA regularly signs power purchase agreements with private companies that both generate and transmit power. The Plains and Eastern line will transmit power generated from wind turbines in Oklahoma into TVA’s service territory and if TVA would like to use any of the power generated and transmitted by this project, TVA would have to sign a contract with Clean Line Energy Partners.

Given you did not offer any specific problems with the math associated with the wheeling revenue, I am not able to appropriately respond to that concern in your comment.

We are always striving to make our communication materials, like blogs, more engaging, and I appreciate your engagement here. I hope my response to your comment was helpful and that it may foster more constructive dialogue, rather than laughter.

Comment by Angela Garrone, Esq. on January 30, 2017 12:10 pm

Hi Scott,

Thank you for engaging on this issue. Ignoring your initial insult, I would like to address issues raised in your comment.

I want to make sure it’s clear from our blog that $30/MWh is the estimated “all in” price delivered to TVA. Feel free to click on the hyperlinks to the blog to explore the topic and confirmed prices further. Clean Line was not an attempt by the previous administration to pick winners and losers, if it was, then Clean Line would have been contracted a long time ago. Instead, TVA was waiting for every possible detail to be clarified. Now it happens to be specified in the new administration’s infrastructure priority list. Clean Line is one of Trump’s top infrastructure priorities, as laid out in his infrastructure executive order last week: http://newsok.com/plains-and-eastern-clean-line-transmission-project-in-oklahoma-on-trump-infrastructure-list/article/5535682

We are always striving to make our communication materials, like blogs, more engaging, and I appreciate your engagement here. I hope my response to your comment was helpful and that it may foster more constructive dialogue.

Comment by Allie Brown on January 30, 2017 2:42 pm

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