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Transmission Line Efforts Placed On Hold

By Staff | Jan 5, 2017

A controversial power transmission line project has been placed on hold in Iowa by the developer.

In a move just before Christmas, officials of Clean Line Energy Partners of Houston, Texas announced they were withdrawing an application before the Iowa Utilities Board to build a 500-mile direct current transmission line across the state.

The proposed Rock Island Clean Line project would have crossed the southern half of Palo Alto County in its proposed path across the state of Iowa.

The withdrawl of the Iowa application was attributed to ongoing legal challenges in neighboring Illinois, where opposition to the project has been strong since it was first announced.

In Iowa, public dissatisfaction with Clean Line’s plans to obtain right-of-way through the use of Eminent Domain also prompted numerous objections to the Iowa Utilities Board since the project’s first filing was approved in 2014.

Clean Line has been working for years to get approval for the Rock Island Clean Line project, which would deliver 3,500 megawatts of wind-generated power from northwest Iowa wind farms located in O’Brien County to Illinois and Eastern states.

In announcing the withdrawl of the Iowa application, Clean Line Energy Vice President Hans Detweiler cited some of the difficulties being experienced by the developers, including a timeline set by the Iowa Utilities Board.

“Under the IUB’s timeline, we would have been required in January to identify specific parcels for eminent domain application in several counties, and we did not wish to do that at this point,” Detweiler said. “We prefer to get resolution of the Illinois approval first, and then revisit the Iowa process.”

In their filing with the IUB, Clean Line officials indicated they do not expect a decision in Illinois before next May, and noted it would not be an “efficient utilization of resources” to continue in Iowa until the Illinois case is decided.