PPL Makes ‘Small’ Investment to Better Understand $ 2.5 Billion ‘Innovative’ SOO Green Transmission Project

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Dive brief:

  • PPL Corp. took a stake in a proposed 350-mile transmission project meant to bind the Middle of the continent Independent system operator and PJM The interconnection markets, the utility and project developers announced on Monday.
  • Donors of the $ 2.5 billion privately funded SOO Green transmission project hope to start construction in 2023 and put the system into service three years later. Financial details of PPL the stake was not released, but company officials said it was “small.”
  • The project would mainly be located along the tracks belonging to the Canadian Pacific Railway in order to avoid eminent domain problems and alleviate other siting difficulties. PPL officials say they want to explore ways to expand transmission that “might avoid some of the traditional barriers to settlement, permits and construction.”

Dive overview:

The new transmission is widely seen as a key to bringing more renewables to major electricity markets and accelerating the energy transition, but large projects can take years to gain regulatory and site approvals. SOO Green’s co-location approach aims to accelerate this process by burying high voltage lines along existing rail corridors.

PPL’s ​​investment “will allow us to better understand an innovative approach to building large transmission projects that can avoid some of the traditional barriers to siting, permitting and construction as we work to advance the transition to clean energy, ”utility spokesman Ryan Hill said in an email.

Together with PPL, the project is owned by Siemens Energy, Jingoli Power and investment funds managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

Hill said the company’s position is “small” and that “the investment is not considered large.” PPL’s ​​Pennsylvania and Kentucky utilities are not involved in the SOO Green project, he said, which means taxpayers will not foot the bill for the company’s involvement. “Our investment in SOO Green is made through a separate subsidiary,” he said.

The SOO Green project aims to deliver 2,100 MW of renewable energy from the upper Midwest to eastern markets. The project will use a 525 kV underground cable and modern Siemens voltage source converter technology.

“As PPL seeks to advance a transition to clean energy, we are eager to get a glimpse of SOO Green’s innovative approach, and we are delighted to put our capabilities to work to support the success of the project.” PPL Executive vice president and chief operating officer Gregory Dudkin said in a statement.

However, the project encountered obstacles. In June, SOO Green filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, arguing that PJM Interconnection’s current tariffs create unnecessary barriers for merchants’ transportation plans.


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