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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has announced an agreement between Rock Island Clean Line LLC and Flora, Ill.-based Southwire Co. that is intended to support wind turbine and transmission manufacturing in the state.
Under the agreement, Southwire will supply the overhead transmission cable for the Rock Island Clean Line project, a 500-mile overhead, high-voltage direct-current transmission line that will deliver 3.5 GW of renewable energy – mostly wind power – from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota to communities and businesses in Illinois and other states to the east.
The Rock Island Clean Line will enable approximately $7 billion worth of investments in new wind energy projects to move forward that, as of now, cannot be constructed due to the lack of transmission. The project will also allow Illinois greater access to low-cost wind energy and will deliver enough energy to power more than 1.4 million Midwest homes, according to the governor.
“Such projects help to address the infrastructure needs that are critical to delivering renewable power to the population centers in the Midwest,” notes Charlie Murrah, president of Southwire’s energy division.
Construction of the Rock Island Clean Line could begin as early as 2014 and continue over the next few years. According to Quinn, the project will result in 1,450 union construction jobs in Illinois over a three-year construction period.
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