US companies plan to build 2.1GW underground high-voltage transmission lines to absorb wind power

A cable development company, Direct Connect Development Co., said it hopes to build a 349-mile underground transmission line to bring renewable energy from the wind-scarred Iowa countryside to the high-demand eastern US city.

Direct Connect Development Co. said on Monday that it hopes to build a 2,100 megawatt high-voltage transmission line that will run underground from Mason City to the Chicago area along existing rail lines.

The company said the project, called SOO Green, is expected to cost about $2.5 billion and will be operational in 2024. Licensing in many places, state and federal agencies, including the Iowa Public Utilities Commission and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is required to continue the project.

Iowa is a national leader in wind power generation, and although utilities are more opposed by Iowa's rural landowners, they are concerned about turbine noise and its impact on farmland.

Direct Connect says it can “limit the impact of the project on the environment” because it extends underground in sensitive habitats, limiting the impact on birds and other endangered species.

The company said at a news conference that "building SOO Green underground and utilizing existing rail privileges will also reduce the impact on neighboring landowners."

(Source: cable network)