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Second company plans power lines near Alva

There may be an opportunity for wind energy transmission lines to go through Woods County after last week’s Corporation Commission (OCC) approval of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project.

Routes for OG&E’s transmission line, unrelated to the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, were announced last month running from wind farms southwest of Mooreland to near Avard then due north curving around Alva and joining a Kansas system near Hardtner.

The route for Clean Line’s project has not been identified, according to information from Max Shilstone, director of development of Clean Line on Thursday.

“We will be announcing the routes in public presentations sometime next year,” Shilstone said. “This project will allow farmers in distress from the drought to benefit from another source of income and will allow people in urban areas to have access to clean power from the wind farms. Although two transmission lines will ultimately be built from near Guymon to connect near Memphis, Tennessee, the second line isn’t part of their current planning, Shilstone said. Plans are to run the first line due east from Guymon. Shilstone noted all funding for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line project is from private capital.

Using early access to OCC information last June, a Woodward- based group called Southern Great Plains Property Rights Coalition (SGPPRC) created a map speculating the first line would go through the northern portion of Woods County on a straight line with Capron, although a straight line from Guymon would place it south of Alva.

That, however, leaves more room for speculation because 15 miles east of Guymon is the Optima Wildlife Refuge and power lines traditionally avoid such facilities. That would also apply to the Great Salt Plains … and other state parks are in the eastern half of the state.

The SGPPRC is seeking ongoing royalty-type monthly or annual payments to landowners whose property is chosen for the route. Persons having questions about the Plains & Eastern Clean Line may call 1-877-573-2851 or for questions regarding SGPPRC or membership may contact SGPPRC’s Sue Selman at 580 256-2006.

Last week’s Associated Press story noted the Corporation Commission granted the project utility status but did not give organizers the power of eminent domain. That gives property owners more ability to negotiate favorable settlements with Clean Lines, according to another SGPPRC spokesperson.