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Mason City May Be the Start of an Electric Transmission Line

A developer proposes building an underground, high power transmission line from north-central Iowa to northeastern Illinois. It would run 220 miles along railroad rights-of-way from Mason City to the Mississippi River, then on to Yorkville, Illinois, near Chicago. Soo Green spokesman Steve Frenkel, says it would be the first link in a major project that would send “clean” electricity to the East Coast.

The initial proposal would deliver two-thousand megawatts of power from the wind and solar farms in central Iowa to the East Coast, enough power to light 1.2 million homes.

Neil Jones, Soo Green’s vice president of real estate, says they’re working to pair up companies known as “shippers” that are interested in “transmission capacity rights,” generation companies or utilities that want to sell power on the line, and customers interested in buying that power.

The buyers and sellers may be utilities, data centers, and others who want to buy Renewable Energy Credits. They’d pay for access rights to fund operations while ratepayers in Iowa would not be charged at all. Jones says Soo Green needs a permit from the Iowa Utilities Board to proceed and filed a petition in September.

Soo Green says its underground transmission cables are safe for humans, animals, the environment and railroad operations, while being less vulnerable to extreme weather events. The project is expected to be completed in 2024.


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