An environmental impact statement on a transmission line project that will bring new ad valorem tax proceeds to Garfield County is expected in late-October, according to a Clean Line Energy official.
Phillip Teel, Oklahoma manager of the Clean Line Energy Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project, says company officials do not know when construction will begin on the transmission line but are optimistic it will start in late 2016 or in 2017.
“We’ve been told by the Department of Energy to expect a final on the environmental impact statement in October, late-October of this year,” he said. “They issued a draft in December of last year, followed by a comment period.”
The company also will need to acquire rights of way before construction of the line can begin, Teel said.
“We think that it takes a year and a half or two years to construct it, so we’d like to think that we could have it energized by 2019,” he said.
The transmission line will be constructed between Guymon and Memphis, Tenn. The proposed route runs through southern Garfield County.
Enid Regional Development Alliance Executive Director Brent Kisling said it is estimated the yearly ad valorem tax payment for the line will be more than $800,000.
The funds are split among school districts, the county, health department and Autry Technology Center, he said. The largest portion goes to schools.
“It is truly a revolutionary project for northwest Oklahoma,” Kisling said. “Their purpose for doing this project is to take wind energy produced in northwest Oklahoma and export it to the population centers on the East Coast. So, the nice part of that is when we talk about an $800,000 ad valorem payment to taxing entities in Garfield County every year, the money to pay that is coming from utility users on the East Coast. So, it’s new wealth coming to our local economy.”
A lot of the turbines producing wind energy will not be around the Enid area, he said.
“Since it’s a DC transmission line – most electricity is transferred via alternative current, AC – there has to be about a $200 million transformer built out in the Guymon area, and all of the electricity will go through that transformer and then through what is almost like a turnpike transmission line. It’s not like you can just add additional turbines along this line between here and Memphis, Tenn.,” he said. “But what it does for an Enid economy is when we work with wind turbine manufacturers or service companies, they’re really going to be looking at our region because of the work force that we have in Enid and the infrastructure we have in place to support companies like that. And then that service or that product can be sent on west toward the Panhandle.”
ERDA has been working with Clean Line Energy for nearly five years, Kisling said.
“The thing that has taken so long is going through the permitting process,” he said. “There are utility lines running all over the state of Oklahoma but very few times do you see a privately funded utility line. So, there’s extra levels of permits that have to go through the process. And, actually, the Oklahoma permitting process has been much quicker and easier than the Arkansas process.”
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