What We're Thinking

National Grid and Clean Line Energy

Posted on 11/27/2012 by Michael Skelly

We are delighted to announce that National Grid, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world, will be making a $40 million equity investment in Clean Line Energy. Clean Line is working hard to prove out the thesis that the development of long distance direct current (DC) transmission projects are a much needed addition to the U.S. electric grid, and having an investor of National Grid’s caliber will help us take another step forward in building the right infrastructure for the 21st century. 

Over the past several years, the Clean Line team has been working day in and day out to develop a portfolio of projects that will advance the growth of renewable energy and modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure. Developing transmission lines is an endeavor that calls for patience with drawn out processes, empathy with the many stakeholders involved, perseverance in the face of skeptics, and optimism about the possibilities of a cleaner energy mix.  We are thrilled to have a partner that has extensive experience building, owning and operating large DC electricity transmission systems both in Europe and in the U.S.  National Grid’s experience will provide us with deep technical expertise and long-term investment capabilities to build our four major transmission line projects. National Grid’s investment in Clean Line is consistent with their long-term strategy of developing and operating large energy infrastructure projects.  

This is an exciting time to be developing infrastructure projects and Clean Line has achieved significant milestones over the past year. Clean Line’s Plains & Eastern project was approved as a utility in Oklahoma late last year and was also recently granted approval by FERC to begin negotiating rates with potential customers of the project. In October, Plains & Eastern Clean Line signed an Advanced Funding and Development Agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Southwestern Power Administration. This development agreement initiates DOE’s environmental review of the Plains & Eastern project under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Grain Belt Express Clean Line received unanimous approval from the Kansas Corporation Commission to conduct business as a public utility in Kansas. In May 2012, Rock Island Clean Line obtained regulatory approval from FERC to negotiate transmission service agreements with potential customers and recently filed its proposed route in Illinois with an updated public utility application to the Illinois Commerce Commission. In June 2012, Centennial West Clean Line and the Western Area Power Administration entered into an agreement that outlines a working relationship to advance the development of the Centennial West Clean Line transmission project.

The Clean Line team is excited to have National Grid as an investment partner, and we plan on working closely together with National Grid, our current investors, regulatory agencies, landowners, environmental groups, elected officials, suppliers and other stakeholders to continue to develop our projects in a responsible manner. These types of partnerships are exactly what we need to move renewable energy across several states, from the windiest areas of the country to major centers of consumption.  Putting together these complex projects will bring about economic development, create construction jobs, enhance property taxes, and bring to market large supplies of low-cost clean energy.