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Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power (AEP) is evaluating the feasibility of building a multi-state, extra-high-voltage transmission project across the Upper Midwest to support the development of renewable energy.

AEP proposes building the first 765 kV extra-high-voltage transmission lines to connect major wind developments in the Dakotas and surrounding states to the existing 765 kV network that ends near Chicago. The western terminus of the project would be near a 2,000 MW wind generation project in North Dakota being developed by Hartland Wind Farm LLC.

The proposal is part of AEP's vision of an expanded national transmission grid to support the development of large-scale renewable generation and more efficient use of existing electricity production and delivery infrastructure.

"Extending extra-high-voltage 765 kV transmission lines into the Upper Midwest will provide significant economic, environmental and reliability benefits, including fostering development by ensuring access to new generation sources," says Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman, president and CEO. "A 765 kV transmission line requires less land to carry more power than lower voltage lines, and the 765 kV line would cost less than half as much to build on a dollar-per-megawatt basis."

The transmission proposal is in the conceptual stage, but it is anticipated that linking Upper Midwest wind resources with the existing extra-high-voltage transmission infrastructure in the Chicago region likely will require more than 1,000 miles of new extra-high-voltage transmission lines at a cost of between $5 billion and $10 billion.

Hartland Wind Farm LLC is a partnership between Montgomery Power Partners LP and Denali Energy Inc. that is building a 2,000 MW wind generation project in North Dakota.

SOURCE: American Electric Power

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