What We're Thinking

Leaders Discuss the Future of Clean Energy and Transmission in the Southeast

Posted on 11/14/2012 by Louisa Kinoshi

Businesses and consumers in the Southeast have a growing appetite for low-cost clean energy. The Southeast’s largest energy provider, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which provides power to nearly all of Tennessee and other Southeastern states, is now importing wind from eight wind farms in the Midwest. Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company, last year made one of the largest wind purchases ever from producers in Oklahoma. Clean Line Energy is currently developing the Plains and Eastern Clean Line, a 750-mile  transmission line that will connect 3,500 megawatts of clean energy generation from western Oklahoma, southwest Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle with utilities and customers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and other markets in the Mid-South and Southeast. In an AOL Energy blog post, Bill White, a Senior Vice President at David Gardiner & Associates writes, “A robust and modern electric grid is also essential for taking advantage of America's unmatched renewable energy resources…. In the Southeast, where wind and solar are relatively scarce, transmission lines are critical for bringing cheap and abundant renewable resources from other regions.”

Leaders in government and the private sector will come together today to discuss the energy future of the Southeast; the current status of transmission planning in the region; and the potential for renewable energy in Tennessee. In a recent article in The Tennessean, Vanderbilt Law professor Jim Rossi said, “One barrier to economic growth from clean energy is our region’s aging transmission grid. Even if TVA expands its investment in renewable energy generation, an obsolete transmission grid keeps the benefits of those resources from reaching all of TVA’s customers.” We at Clean Line are pleased to co-sponsor the Southeast Clean Energy Transmission Summit with Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, Vanderbilt University, WIRES and ITC.

At the Southeast Clean Energy Transmission Summit, speakers will address high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology as a solution to efficiently deliver low-cost renewable energy in order to meet TVA’s goal for 25% clean energy by 2020. Other issues to be discussed includes the economic benefits from new transmission projects, including construction jobs and manufacturing opportunities; the newest developments in transmission planning and technology and post election perspectives on clean energy, transmission, federal policy, and their impacts on the Southeast. We hope you will check back here for a recap.