A new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruling may allow for interstate transmission lines that would deliver wind power generated in Iowa across the Mississippi River and into Chicago and other large markets, the Des Moines Register reports.
According to the news source, some of the proposals, which would cost more than $20 billion, are making slow progress in planning, but are moving forward nonetheless. The power lines would be able to transport up to 765 kilovolts of electricity, twice as much as the current largest power lines in Iowa.
The ruling allows the different authorities using the lines to assign some of the costs to those who receive electricity from power delivered by the lines, rather than just the builders in the Dakotas, Minnesota, or Iowa.
Relative to other trans-state projects, such as rail roads and oil and gas lines, electricity transmission has generally been confined within a state-wide grid. The new propositions would be akin to how important the transcontinental railroad was in the 19th century, the media outlet states.
Iowa currently boasts 3,670 megawatts of installed wind capacity, which could soon be distributed across the region, according to the Iowa Wind Energy Association.