A development company wants to construct a high voltage underground transmission line to transport wind and solar energy from Mason City to the Chicago area. Direct Connect Development Company will construct the majority of the SOO Green Renewable Rail project along rail owned by the Canadian Pacific. Direct Connect Development spokesman Craig Schoenfeld says the 350-mile, 2,100 megawatt underground transmission line would take the renewable energy being produced in Iowa to markets out east.
Schoenfeld says the project’s construction methods will limit impacts to land owners and to the environment by boring under sensitive habitat, limiting the impact on birds and other endangered species.
Schoenfeld says existing infrastructure between Chicago and the east coast will take Iowa’s renewable energy out to those who want to use it.
Schoenfeld says the project will be a boost to renewable energy production in north-central Iowa by opening up a distribution line for current and future renewable energy projects.
Schoenfeld says they hope to start the project in about 18 months, with a completion date of 2024. A similar project stalled three years ago when the Rock Island Clean Line withdrew its plans for a two billion dollar, 500-mile overhead transmission line that would have taken wind energy across 16 counties from northwest Iowa into Illinois.