A growing market for clean energy motivates a company to build an underground transmission line.
Direct Connect Development Company wants to construct a high voltage underground transmission line to transport wind and solar energy from Mason City to the Chicago area. The SOO Green Renewable Rail Project will be built along an already existing rail owned by Canadian Pacific.
According to Craig Schoenfeld, spokesman for Direct Development Company, the project will enable the exportation of renewable energy from Iowa to markets out east. The project spans 350 miles consisting of the 2,100-megawatt underground transmission line.
“It will start at about Cerro Gordo County, and pass through eight counties in northeast Iowa and across Illinois,” says Craig Schoenfeld. “That will eventually wind up in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey grid for companies and consumers wanting to utilize Iowa’s wind energy.”
The project will utilize environmentally friendly construction methods to avoid negatively impacting landowners and habitat. Craig Schoenfeld explains that the project would use a natural infrastructure that already exists, with the corridor for transmission safely underground.
Chicago Infrastructure With Craig Schoenfeld
The existing infrastructure between Chicago and the east coast is a perfect path to be utilized, allowing Iowa to provide renewable energy to other U.S. regions. The initiative to become more environmentally conscious is growing, and commercial companies are now striving to implement the best environmental practice. Business giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and others are pursuing renewable energy sources such as wind and solar more than ever before. Craig Schoenfeld hopes to tap into the current, rising market demands.
The project will be a boost to renewable energy production in north-central Iowa by opening up a distribution line for current and future renewable energy projects. While the market for clean energy exists, Craig Schoenfeld explains that it’s not necessarily in the Midwest where it’s created.
“We have the abundance to have the ability to produce it,” says Craig Schoenfeld. “Now by creating the infrastructure to move that product where that higher demand is, we think that’s going to be good for both the producers as well as the consumers”.
Direct Connect Development Company hopes to begin the project in about 18 months, with a completion date of 2024. Three years ago, a similar project stalled when Rock Island Clean Line withdrew its plans. Their project would have cost $2 billion, stretching a 500-mile overhead transmission line that would have transported wind energy across 16 counties from northwest Iowa into Illinois.