Representatives discuss transmission line that will cut through county

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

The SOO Green HVDC Link will be approximately 350 miles long, stretching from Mason City to Plano, Ill. Fifty-six of those miles will cut through a large portion of Clayton County, from the Allamakee County line to Luana, then on to Monona, Marquette and McGregor, and down to Clayton, Guttenberg and North Buena Vista. In Clayton County, developers have proposed a route that would deviate a portion of the transmission line from railroad right of way to run along Highway 18 instead.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

Clayton County residents who may be impacted by the multi-billion-dollar SOO Green HVDC Link project, a proposed high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line from Iowa to Illinois, had an opportunity to hear from project representatives during an online public informational meeting May 8. 

Financially backed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Jingoli Power and Siemens, SOO Green will be the first major transmission project to cross the seam between two of the country’s regional electricity grids, providing renewable energy from wind- and solar-rich Iowa to eastern states.

“Iowa feeds other parts of the country,” said Neil Jones, vice president of real estate for Direct Connect, one of the project partners. “Now, it can generate power for other parts of the country too.”

Renewable energy is in high demand, added Raj Rajan, vice president of project development. But Iowa is not fully capitalizing on it.

“Less than 2 percent of wind potential is currently being realized,” Rajan noted. “There’s a lot more to be tapped into.”

The SOO Green project will utilize an innovative rail co-location model, installing modern HVDC transmission lines underground along Canadian Pacific Railway right of way, a move representatives said will reduce environmental impact and enhance the system’s reliability.

Similar to the installation of fiber optic networks, Jones said boring underground within an already-existing transportation corridor will create a smaller footprint and protect natural and agricultural areas and existing infrastructure along the SOO Green route.

Unlike overhead alternating current (AC) lines, there’s no potential for stray voltage harming humans or animals, Jones added.

“[The line] is three feet down and enclosed within conduits. There’s no electric signal with fluctuating voltage,” he explained. “It’s basically undetectable at ground level and the magnetic field is less than many common appliances.”

The SOO Green HVDC Link will be approximately 350 miles long, stretching from Mason City to Plano, Ill. Fifty-six of those miles will cut through a large portion of Clayton County, from the Allamakee County line to Luana, then on to Monona, Marquette and McGregor, and down to Clayton, Guttenberg and North Buena Vista.

However, developers have proposed an alternate route that would deviate a portion of the transmission line from railroad right of way to run along Highway 18 instead. This portion would start west of Luana and follow the highway east to Marquette, where it would meet back up with the railroad.

This southerly option is preferred, Jones said, because it’s more straight and direct. The area to the north presents more complex terrain and environmentally-sensitive areas. 

“We don’t know which side of Highway 18, if that’s approved,” Jones added. “It may transition from one side to another depending on existing utilities and problem areas.”

Jones said the alternate route is being surveyed now for plan submittal to the Iowa Department of Transportation. A decision should be reached by July.

Construction of the SOO Green project won’t begin until the start of 2022, with estimated completion at the end of 2024. The public information meeting, which was one of several held in northern Iowa two weeks ago, is part of developers’ steps to obtain a franchise agreement from the Iowa Utility Board.

Jones said landowners who will be affected by the project will be approached in the coming months. SOO Green representatives will work with residents directly to provide project updates.

Once completed, the transmission line has an anticipated lifespan of 50 years.

“This is the first of its kind in this country, but this is proven technology that’s used around the world, particularly in Europe,” Jones said. “We’re on the cutting edge, but not the bleeding edge.”

Rate this article: 
No votes yet