New transmission line would ease Iowa wind bottleneck

(Midwest Energy News, December 5, 2011)—Wind data is collected, turbine positions are mapped, and landowner agreements are signed. Even the financing is lined up.

And yet plans for the NorthStar Wind Farms in north central Iowa sit on the shelf six years after they were proposed because the area’s electricity grid can’t carry any additional power sources.

“Transmission has been the bottleneck,” said Jack Levi, co-chair of the project’s developer, National Wind. “If we had transmission tomorrow, we could start construction within six months.”

Wind developers like Levi finally see help on the horizon.

The proposed Rock Island Clean Line would be a 500-mile transmission expressway between northwestern Iowa and the Chicago area, where it could feed into a regional electricity grid that extends from Illinois to the Jersey Shore.

The Houston, Texas, company that’s seeking to build the project has already started submitting applications to state and federal regulators. It’s holding a series of landowner open house meetings this week as it works to narrow down its final route. Continue reading “New transmission line would ease Iowa wind bottleneck”