Proposed underground transmission line would cut through Clayton County

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Direct Connect Development Company (DC DevCo) has announced plans to construct the SOO Green Renewable Rail project (SOO Green), a proposed 349-mile, 2,100 mega-watt, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line that will run underground along an existing railroad. 

The majority of the project’s route will be located along rail owned by Canadian Pacific, and a portion of it will cut through northern Clayton County. Once completed, SOO Green will run from Mason City to the Chicago area. 

SOO Green is the first to take its construction underground and to adopt the rail co-location model used in building America’s fiber optic system. DC DevCo said the project’s construction methods will limit impacts to the environment by boring under sensitive habitat, limiting the impact on birds and other endangered species. Building SOO Green underground and utilizing an existing railroad right of way will also limit impacts to neighboring landowners. 

“The successful deployment of this HVDC technology along railroads will create a market segment that doesn’t exist today, and DC DevCo believes that the SOO Green project will set the standard regarding how transmission  lines are developed and constructed in the U.S.,” said Trey Ward, DC DevCo CEO. 

SOO Green will serve as a renewable energy hub by connecting two of the largest electric power markets in the United States, MISO and PJM. This creates a convenient location for a large number of renewable energy buyers and sellers to enter into standard transactions. 

Additionally, DC DevCo announced Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), Jingoli Power and Siemens Financial Services as the main investors of the project. Siemens is also responsible for the overall system design, engineering, manufacture, civil works, installation and commissioning of the HVDC converter stations that will help power the transmission line. 

“CIP is pleased to partner with DC DevCo, Jingoli, and Siemens on this transformative project that will bring clean energy from the resource rich Midwest to satisfy the growing demand in Illinois and other eastern markets. The project will allow CIP and its investors to continue to partner with leading U.S developers, such as DC DevCo, who are utilizing innovative but proven approaches to enable the development, construction and operation of critical energy infrastructure assets while creating sustainable opportunities for the communities in which the project will be located,” said Christian Skakkebaek, senior partner of CIP. 

“The SOO Green project will provide increased reliability and stability for the PJM and MISO grids, benefiting utility and corporate customers from Chicago to the East Coast. It also fits our model of job creation, and will allow us to continue our practice of hiring a significant number of military veterans on each project Jingoli Power takes part,” added Karl Miller, CEO of Jingoli Power. 

According to DC DevCo, the SOO Green project is anticipated to cost $2.5 billion and could be operational by 2024.

For more information about the SOO Green Renewable Rail project, please visit http://www.soogreenrr.com/.

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