Thursday, May 09, 2013
Opponents of a proposed new SWEPCO high voltage transmission line in Northwest Arkansas have been contacting and advocating others to contact elected officials from the local to the national level to oppose the new power line. So when a letter from U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor surfaced expressing support for a high voltage transmission line to transport wind power from the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma through Arkansas to Kansas, it caused concern.
Contacted for comment, Pryor’s office said it wanted to clarify that two transmission lines are being proposed. One has been proposed by Clean Line Energy Partners, which would run through Arkansas to Tennessee but go nowhere near Eureka Springs. The other has been proposed by SWEPCO. This line could go through/near Eureka Springs, but would have no federal involvement.
“Transmission lines have the potential to create thousands of jobs and ensure our future energy security,” Pryor said. “But the needs of Arkansans are my top priority. I will not allow them to build anything that would harm Arkansans’ property or negatively impact our state.”
A letter from Pryor to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu dated Nov. 15, 2011, states: “In order to harness the United States’ vast renewable energy potential, the construction of new transmission lines is necessary to transport clean power from typical rural resource-rich areas to more heavily populated urban areas with high demand. Construction of these transmission lines will create thousands of temporary and permanent jobs, reduce pollution caused by harmful emissions, and improve the security and diversity of America’s energy supply through a free market approach.”
Pryor said that Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes the DOE and Southwestern Power Administration to enter into partnerships with the private sector to expand the nation’s transmission system and promote renewable energy development.
Pryor urges the Secretary of Energy to complete its review of this project quickly and give appropriate consideration to Clean Line Energy Partner’s 1222 application.
“Clean Line recently partnered with General Cable in Malvern, Ark., to supply the 25 million feet of conductor for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project,” Pryor’s letter states. “Depending on the cost of materials, this order could be worth $100 million or more, with almost half of the conductor being used in Arkansas. In addition, other companies such as Nordex, LM Windpower and Beckman Volmer have spent millions on factories in Arkansas to supply the wind business in the United States.
“Arkansas can continue to be a leader in job development for the wind industry if new transmission lines are built to unlock this domestic resource. I look forward to our continued work together to create jobs, move us toward energy independence and develop energy solutions that improve the environment,” Pryor said.
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