National Grid to invest $40 million in Clean Line Energy

HOUSTON Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:40pm GMT

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HOUSTON Nov 27 (Reuters) - Power and natural gas distributor National Grid will invest $40 million in Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, a Houston-based developer of high-voltage transmission lines designed to move large amounts of renewable power to U.S. markets, the companies said on Tuesday.

A unit of National Grid USA will make the equity investment and will be able to acquire a significant ownership stake in Clean Line's portfolio of long-distance, direct-current transmission projects, according to a press release.

"We strongly support the advancement of tomorrow's network technologies and clean energy resources in the U.S., and our equity investment in Clean Line underscores each of those objectives," said Tom King, president of National Grid's U.S. operation.

UK-based National Grid delivers electricity and gas to 3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It also manages the grid on Long Island for the Long Island Power Authority.

In Great Britain, National Grid operates both gas and electric systems.

The company also built and operates a 2,000 MW high-voltage, direct-current interconnector between New England and Canada and is working to develop several other direct-current projects in the U.S. and England.

Clean Line's four projects include the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, designed to move 3,500 megawatts of power from western Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas to consumers in the U.S. Southeast; the Grain Belt Express Clean Line which will deliver 3,500 MW of renewable power from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana; the Rock Island Clean Line which will connect 3,500 MW of power from northwest Iowa to states to the east; and the Centennial West Clean Line which will move 3,500 MW of power from New Mexico to California.

"We continue to make steady progress on the development of our four" projects, said Michael Skelly, Clean Line president. "National Grid's participation in Clean Line will further enhance our technical, financial and development capabilities."

The cost of the Clean Line projects is expected to range from $1.7 billion to as much as $3.5 billion for the Plains & Eastern line which spans 800 miles.

"Clean Line has a strong and capable development team and a portfolio of compelling projects that will advance the growth of renewable energy and the modernization of America's energy infrastructure," said Steve Holliday, National Grid's chief executive officer.

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