On June 10, 2010, the Department of Energy published in the Federal Register a Request for Proposals (RFP) for New or Upgraded Transmission Line Projects Under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005. In response, Clean Line Energy Partners, LLC submitted an application for its Plains & Eastern Clean Line project. DOE has concluded that Clean Line’s proposal was responsive to the RFP, and it is currently under consideration.
The proposed Plains & Eastern Clean Line project (the proposed project) would include an overhead +/- 600 kV direct current electric transmission system and associated facilities with the capacity to deliver approximately 3,500 MW primarily from renewable energy generation facilities in the Oklahoma Panhandle region to load-service entities in the Mid-South and Southeast via an interconnection with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Prior to making a determination whether or not to participate in the proposed project, DOE must evaluate the proposed project for compliance with Section 1222 of EPAct and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in consultation with the Southwestern Power Administration (Southwestern).
NEPA Review: On December 21, 2012, DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Draft an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on behalf of the Department and Southwestern. The Draft EIS is posted on DOE’s Plains & Eastern EIS website and the DOE NEPA website. The Draft EIS assessed the potential environmental effects of participating in the proposed project determination. During the comment period, DOE held 15 public hearings in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Approximately 950 comment documents were received from individuals, interested groups, tribal governments, and federal, state, and local agencies.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS–0486; Final EIS) is now available on DOE’s Plains & Eastern EIS website and on the DOE NEPA website. The Final EIS considers comments submitted on the Draft EIS, including those submitted during the public comment period that began on December 19, 2014, and ended on April 20, 2015. Late comments have been considered to the extent practicable. A Comment Response Document, included as Appendix Q of the Final EIS, contains the comments received on the Draft EIS and DOE's responses to these comments.
The publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the proposed Plains and Eastern Clean Line Project does not represent the Department of Energy's (DOE) final decision on whether to participate in the project. The release of the FEIS merely reflects the conclusion of DOE's environmental analysis of the proposed project in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. DOE is working diligently to evaluate the project. DOE has not decided whether to participate in the proposed Plains and Eastern Clean Line Project. If DOE decides to participate in the project, a Record of Decision will be posted no less than 30 days from the date of the publication of the FEIS.
Non-NEPA Review (1222 Review): In addition to conducting a NEPA review, DOE will also conduct due diligence on non-NEPA factors such as the project’s technical and financial feasibility and whether the project is in the public interest. DOE will conduct a thorough review that includes making all required statutory findings and will consider all criteria listed in Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as well as all factors included in DOE’s 2010 Request for Proposals.
In December 2014, DOE requested additional information from the applicant to supplement and update its original application. The updated Part 2 application and other documentation were available for a public comment period from April 28, 2015, the date the Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register, until July 13, 2015. Although the comment period has ended, the application and documentation are still available on the DOE website.
DOE accepted comments on whether the proposed project meets the statutory criteria listed in Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as well as all factors included in DOE’s 2010 Request for Proposals. All comments submitted during either comment period will be considered in the DOE’s ultimate decision as to whether to participate in the proposed project under the Section 1222 Program. Therefore, comments submitted during the NEPA public comment period did not need to be re-submitted during the 1222 public comment period, regardless of the subject discussed in the comments.
A brief email update on the status of the Section 1222 review process was sent to interested parties on September 3, 2015.