PPL acquires ownership stake in SOO Green high-voltage transmission project

The SOO Green transmission route from Iowa to Illinois. IMAGE VIA SOO GREEN WEBSITE

SOO Green HVDC Link (SOO Green) has announced that PPL Corporation has acquired an ownership interest in the SOO Green project.

SOO Green is a first of its kind underground HVDC transmission line located primarily along Canadian Pacific rail that will connect the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland (PJM) regional energy markets, enabling the delivery of 2,100 MW of renewable energy from the upper Midwest to eastern markets.

The innovative 350-mile project will extend from Mason City, east to the Mississippi River, then south along the river before turning southeast and ending near Plano, Ill. It will use state-of-the-art 525KV class underground cable and Siemens’ modern Voltage Sourced Converter technology. Construction is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed in three years.

“SOO Green is very pleased to welcome PPL to the SOO Green team,” said Trey Ward, founder of the SOO Green project. “As a diversified utility with deep transmission development expertise, PPL will bring unique capabilities to help advance this landmark project.”

As the first link in a national clean energy grid, SOO Green’s underground rail co-location development model can be replicated to accelerate decarbonization and enhance grid reliability and resilience.

Installing transmission cables safely underground within railroad rights-of-way protects landowners by avoiding using eminent domain to secure the project route. In addition, installing cables underground enables faster permitting by avoiding environmental and visual impacts associated with traditional overhead transmission lines. The privately financed, $2.5 billion SOO Green project imposes no costs on ratepayers, avoiding lengthy and complex cost allocation processes.

“PPL is pleased to support a project focused on transforming how major transmission line projects are built in the U.S.,” said Gregory N. Dudkin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for PPL Corporation. “SOO Green’s innovative approach aims to remove key barriers to interregional transmission line construction that will be essential to connecting more large-scale renewable energy to the grid. As PPL seeks to advance a clean energy transition, we look forward to gaining insight from SOO Green’s innovative approach, and we are excited to lend our capabilities to support the project’s success.”

“SOO Green is a critical link in building the clean energy grid of the future,” said Karl Miller, CEO of Jingoli Power, a co-sponsor and the project’s general contractor. “We’re thrilled PPL has recognized the project’s revolutionary model to ease constraints for other regional wind and solar developments that will help make the U.S.’ ambitious clean energy goals possible. We’re eager to get to work with our new partners.”