FAQs

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General

About Clean Line Energy

Who is Clean Line Energy?
  • Clean Line Energy’s mission is to connect abundant, renewable energy resources to areas that have a high demand for low-cost, clean energy. Clean Line Energy is developing a series of transmission projects to move renewable energy to market. 

Who owns Clean Line Energy?
  • Clean Line’s investors include the Houston-based Zilkha family, funds associated with ZBI Ventures, National Grid and Bluescape Resources Company. ZBI Ventures is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ziff Brothers Investments, the private investment firm of the New York-based Ziff family.  ZBI Ventures focuses primarily on private equity investments in the energy and energy-related sectors.  
  • National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world, with extensive experience building, owning and operating large HVDC electricity transmission interconnectors and transmission networks in the US and the UK.  National Grid shares Clean Line’s vision of enabling a cleaner energy future by investing in transmission projects that facilitate the development of renewable energy resources. 
  • Bluescape is an energy investment and operating company. The investment in Clean Line is consistent with Bluescape’s long-term strategy of developing, acquiring, and exploring energy resources vital to the world’s economy, health and welfare. Bluescape’s investors include universities, foundations, and public pension funds. 
What is the Clean Line team’s experience with developing and constructing electric transmission infrastructure?
  • Clean Line’s team has extensive experience with developing, designing, and permitting transmission projects, wind farms, and other energy projects that have been built around the country.
  • Clean Line is developing four other transmission line projects – each line has a similar rationale – to connect the country’s best renewable resources to larger markets with a demand for low-cost clean energy.
  • Two of our investors, National Grid and Bluescape have extensive experience building, owning, and operating large HVDC transmission facilities in the US and the UK. 

About the Western Spirit Clean Line

What is the Western Spirit Clean Line?
  • The Western Spirit Clean Line is a New Mexico energy infrastructure project that will enable substantial wind energy development, create hundreds of jobs and provide revenue for local communities. The 140-mile electric transmission line will gather wind energy from the wind-rich central region of New Mexico and deliver it to the existing electric grid in northwestern New Mexico. The Western Spirit Clean Line will facilitate new, low-cost wind generation that could not otherwise be built due to lack of transmission capacity.  
Who is developing the Western Spirit Clean Line?
  • Clean Line and the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) are jointly developing the Western Spirit Clean Line. The New Mexico legislature created RETA by statute in 2007 as a governmental instrumentality to finance, plan, acquire, maintain and operate certain renewable transmission and energy storage facilities in concert with the private sector. Once operational, RETA will own the Western Spirit Clean Line transmission facilities.
  • Under its lease agreement with Clean Line, RETA will:
    • Coordinate with Clean Line regarding project development of the Western Spirit Clean Line
    • Coordinate and assist in obtaining all material permits
    • Jointly develop the route with Clean Line and advise on any suggested adjustments or refinements
    • Assist in the negotiation of all right-of-ways and easements
    • Execute all easements and other real estate agreements required for the Western Spirit Clean Line
What is the overall project timeline?
  • The project is currently under development and Clean Line will continue obtaining all necessary authorizations from federal, state, and local governments and agencies throughout 2017. The project is estimated to be completed and placed in service in 2019.

Will the project spur wind development in New Mexico?
  • This project will make possible over $1 billion worth of investments in new renewable energy projects that could not otherwise be built due to the limitations of the existing electric transmission grid.
Who will benefit from the Western Spirit Clean Line?
  • The Western Spirit Clean Line will bring about tremendous rural economic development, create hundreds of jobs, and dramatically reduce carbon dioxide pollutants by millions of tons.
  • The new wind farms made possible by the Western Spirit Clean Line will enable significant financial contributions to local communities through employment opportunities, property taxes and landowner royalties. State and local governments can use these additional tax revenues to support local community needs, such as improvements to schools, hospitals, fire departments and police services.
  • Consumers in the West – both residential and commercial businesses – will benefit from the lower prices resulting from the option of low-cost renewable energy that the project will make possible.

About Wind Energy

Is wind power cost effective?
  • American wind power saves consumers money and makes the energy market more competitive. Wholesale electric power prices have reduced in areas of the country where wind power was added to the system.
  • Wind power also helps stabilize consumers’ electricity rates. Because there is not a fuel cost associated with it, wind energy protects consumers from volatility in the price of fossil fuels.
Does wind energy still make sense if natural gas prices remain low?
  • Yes.  Natural gas will be an important part of the energy supply mix, but it should not be the only thing in the portfolio.  Americans understand this intuitively.  Most of us do not own just one stock in our retirement accounts, but a mix of different companies’ stocks and bonds.  Likewise, we buy insurance against sickness, accidents, and even death.  Think of renewable energy as an insurance policy to a very real possibility that natural gas won’t be consistently cheap for the next three decades.
  • History suggests that it is extremely risky to rely exclusively on any one form of energy.  Any consensus on long-term gas pricing and supply is a fragile one.  In a world of uncertainty driven by policy, environmental concerns, macroeconomics and geology, it makes sense to develop a diverse portfolio of energy supply.
  • After all, the costs of not having affordable energy are extremely high; in practice this means a portfolio of gas and renewable energy in our electric resource mix.
Can wind and natural gas complement each other?
  • Yes, we need a balanced energy portfolio.  Wind can’t supply all our electricity, and modern, natural gas-fired generation is the best complement for wind energy.  Gas plants can ramp up and down quickly to deal with variability in wind generation.  Natural gas is domestically produced and cleaner than most alternatives.  Together, wind and gas can replace aging coal plants, creating a cleaner, more modern energy mix.
What happens when the wind stops blowing? Do the lights go off?
  • Utilities purchase renewable power to add diversity to their generation mix and meet state renewable portfolio requirements.
  • Wind power works together with other sources of power generation that continuously respond to changes in electricity demand.  When the wind blows, wind power allows grid operators to ramp down other generators and save fuel.  Conversely, when the wind stops blowing, another generator—often a natural gas or hydropower facility—can increase its output to compensate.
  • The nation will have a diverse stream of energy resources for many years to come, including wind, nuclear, gas, coal, and other resources.
What areas will the wind energy come from that will be transported on this line?
  • The energy transported on this line will be sourced from east-central New Mexico. Wind speeds in this region of New Mexico are among the highest in the country, translating into low-cost delivered energy.
Is there enough wind power being developed in New Mexico to fill the capacity for the line?
  • Many wind developers are interested in the great wind resource available near the project’s origination point in Torrance County. The New Mexico wind resource map developed by NREL is a useful visual representation.
How will wind farms connect to the Western Spirit Clean Line?
  • A collector system will consist of alternating current transmission lines that will connect the new wind generation projects radially into the Western Spirit 345 kV substation.
  • Clean Line believes that the development of a collector system should be conducted in concert with wind developers that will build the wind farms that will connect to the Western Spirit Clean Line.
Can I hook a wind turbine to your transmission line?
  • The wind energy facilities that will connect to the Western Spirit Clean Line will be utility scale projects at the western end of the line.  Each wind farm project that connects to the line will likely be in the hundreds of megawatts.
Will the transmission line affect my ability to get a turbine on my property?
  • Generally, it is possible to route the line through a proposed or existing wind farm, where necessary.
  • Wind turbines are spaced widely, with a minimum of 1,000 – 1,400 feet between each wind turbine.  The Western Spirit Clean Line will need about 150-175 feet of right-of-way. For a visual depiction of how transmission lines can easily be located within or near a wind farm, please click here.

Construction / Operation / Maintenance

Who will build the Western Spirit Clean Line?
  • Clean Line and RETA are responsible for developing and building the Western Spirit Clean Line. Once operational, RETA will own the Western Spirit Clean Line transmission facilities.
  • Clean Line and RETA are committed to using qualified local and regional contractors to build the transmission line. Clean Line and RETA encourage local businesses interested in working on the construction and maintenance of the project to contact us by submitting their business information here.
When will Western Spirit Clean Line begin construction?
  • Construction will take approximately one year and is estimated to begin by the end of 2018.

What local business opportunities might be associated with construction?
  • We will need a wide variety of services, materials, and equipment to construct the transmission line, such as surveying, right-of-way clearing, and pouring concrete.
  • We want to learn about qualified local businesses that could provide products and services for the Western Spirit Clean Line.  If you would like to stay informed of our progress and be notified when we seek sub-contractors, please submit your business information here.
During construction will there be heavy vehicles/equipment on roads?
  • Yes.  The construction of a transmission line of this size generally requires the use of heavy vehicles and machinery. Clean Line is cognizant of the risks associated with heavy traffic on county and local roads and will minimize the impact of these vehicles to existing road networks and will repair any damage it causes. Clean Line will work with the state department of transportation and county commissioners and engineers to plan road use during construction.
What portion of the right-of-way will need to be cleared?
  • The amount of right-of-way that will need to remain cleared for the operation of the line will depend on the type of vegetation that grows within the transmission line right-of-way.  Typically, agriculture crops (with the exception of tree crops), pasture lands, and grasslands will not need to be cleared for the operation of the line; however, trees and other vertical vegetation more than 10 feet tall will need to be cleared and managed based on potential safety and reliability concerns.
  • Typically, only a small portion of the right-of-way will need to be cleared.  In certain circumstances during construction, there may be situations where the entire right-of-way is cleared.  There will also be times when the impact to the right-of-way between structures might be closer to a two-track temporary road.  At this point in time, we don’t know where these scenarios might occur, but we will work with landowners to minimize impacts.
How will Clean Line address impacts of construction to farmland?
  • We will work to prevent and/or mitigate agricultural impacts associated with the construction process.  Reclamation activities that may be implemented on impacted areas include, soil removal, soil de-compaction, soil fertilization, erosion prevention, and repair of damaged soil.
  • Our Agricultural Impact Mitigation Policy outlines ways we will minimize and mitigate for impacts to agricultural lands.  To view Clean Line’s Agricultural Mitigation Policy, please click here.
Are any access roads going to be built for the project?
  • There will be a mixture of temporary and permanent roads—though permanent roads in crop land would be highly unusual.  Clean Line and RETA will negotiate the nature of access roads with land owners, and the landowners will be compensated accordingly.
  • Temporary access roads and their locations will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Construction crews will make an effort to access the right-of-way easement from public roads that intersect or are adjacent to the right-of-way.  Once an access road is established, construction will follow the right-of-way to the next access road location, which preferably will be located at the next public road crossing.  In some instances, depending on topography or other environmental conditions, off-right-of-way access may be needed to facilitate construction or maintenance of the line.    
Who will own the transmission line after it’s permitted or built?
  • RETA will own the facilities and lease them to Clean Line. As is often the case with large infrastructure projects, other companies may participate in the ownership or play a role in the process.
Who will operate the Western Spirit Clean Line?
  • Clean Line will be responsible for operating and all maintenance activities on the line and substation.
What is the maintenance plan for the line? Will you ever use helicopters?
  • There will be a regular maintenance plan for the line.  The plan will involve visual inspections, and this typically involves a helicopter.  This typically takes place a couple of times a year.  Repairs will typically take place from land-based crew and trucks. 
  • Any emergency repairs would need to happen immediately, and Clean Line would let landowners know as soon as practical.  Landowners will be notified prior to any scheduled maintenance work conducted on their property.
How will you maintain vegetation in the right-of-way? Will you use chemical herbicides?
  • Rights-of-way must be maintained to ensure compliance with reliability and safety standards.
  • Clean Line will work with landowners to plan maintenance responsibly, considering local farming practices.  Clean Line is working with environmental agencies and conservation organizations and has asked for their input on best practices for vegetation management.
  • Prior to the beginning of operations, Clean Line will issue a Transmission Vegetation Management Plan which will include standards and operating guides for how to ensure safe and low impact methods to maintain right-of-way.
  • Additionally, on organic farms, no herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or seed would be applied unless approved by the landowner.
Will you be responsible for removing the transmission line?
  • Yes, Clean Line will be responsible for removing the structures if the line is no longer operational.

Economic

How many jobs will the Western Spirit Clean Line create?
  • The Western Spirit Clean Line will bring substantial economic benefits throughout the project region.  The project is estimated to provide hundreds of jobs to construct, maintain, and operate the wind farms and transmission line. Additionally, businesses will see increased demand for their products and services, particularly those involved with materials, services, and equipment to be used in construction of the project and associated wind farms, as well as retail and hospitality industries.  
Who will pay for Western Spirit Clean Line?
  • The development and construction of Western Spirit Clean Line is estimated to cost roughly $150 million. Clean line will finance the transmission line and will sell transmission capacity to renewable energy developers in New Mexico that wish to transmit their energy to market and to utilities or load serving entities in the West that choose to buy the low-cost clean energy delivered by the line. 
Who will finance construction for the Western Spirit Clean Line?
  • There is significant interest in the private sector in investing in transmission infrastructure, and there are several credible options for financing the construction of transmission lines.  Clean Line’s current plans are to obtain the necessary permits from state and federal entities and sign long-term transmission capacity contracts with creditworthy customers.
  • Clean Line will then obtain financing, a combination of equity and debt, to construct the entirety of the transmission line based on having obtained the requisite permits and secured customers with long-term contracts to purchase transmission service.
Will this project affect my electric bill?
  • If your local utility decides that it is in their customers’ best interest to buy power from the line (no fuel cost, no pollution, renewable resource), they will ultimately incorporate the transmission costs into their customers’ electricity bills along with generation and distribution. Transmission costs are the smallest part of a consumer’s electric bill, generally less than 10%. If your local utility does not buy power on the line, you will not see costs resulting from the project.
Is there a demonstrated need for transmission lines like these?
  • Numerous studies by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other government and nongovernmental organizations have demonstrated a need for new transmission infrastructure that will carry electricity generated by wind and solar.
  • Clean Line will still have to sell the capacity on its transmission lines before they are built, and if the capacity is sold to customers then the need is assured.

Land Use

How wide will the right-of-way (ROW) need to be?
  • Right-of-way refers to the actual land area needed for a specific purpose, such as the easement for a transmission line.  Together all the easements will make up the right-of-way for the project. 
  • Clean Line estimates that the right-of-way for its projects typically will be between 150 to 175 feet wide; though the line will directly impact much less land than that.
  • The right-of-way width requirement is largely determined by how close structures are placed to each other, terrain, and clearance requirements.  It is necessary to understand the amount of space needed for appropriate safety clearances to the ground and for the side-to-side movement of wires due to wind.
  • Some additional areas may be necessary for lay down or access during construction; Clean Line and RETA will provide additional compensation for these areas through separate agreements with landowners.
How much room is needed for structures within the easement?
  • Less than 1% of the total easement area for the project will be occupied by the structure footprints.
Can farming / ranching continue in the easement / under the line?
  • Yes.  Clean Line and RETA will acquire easements, but the land will still belong to the landowners and can be utilized for activities such as farming, grazing cattle, and other activities that do not interfere with the operation of the line.
  • Farming of row crops can continue under the lines. There will be sufficient clearance under the transmission line to grow full-height crops (up to about 10 feet tall), not including tree crops, and to operate standard farm equipment.
  • Ranching and grazing are totally compatible and will not be restricted. 
What can be planted in the easement area?
  • Crops less than ten feet tall may be grown safely under power lines. The easement area can also be used for pasture and grazing lands.  Clean Line must comply with the National Electrical Safety Code to ensure the safety of the general public and North American Electric Reliability Corporation Standards to ensure the reliable operation of the transmission line.  As a result, there are restrictions on the planting of trees that are at, or will grow to, a certain height underneath the transmission line.
How close can one get to the structures/poles for farming operation?
  • Landowners will be able to farm right up to the structures.
Can hunting occur near the transmission line or within the right-of-way?
  • Hunting is one of many compatible outdoor recreational activities that can occur within and adjacent to the transmission line right-of-way.
How will Clean Line and RETA acquire right-of-way for this project?
  • Clean Line and RETA will acquire an easement from landowners. The easement grants Clean Line certain surface rights over a specific portion of the property. Landowners are not selling their land. Easement agreements will be negotiated individually with each landowner and will consider many factors including, but not limited to:
    • Existing uses of the land (e.g., crops vs. grazing vs. residential)
    • Type and number of structures that will be placed on the land
    • The requirement for future access rights to the land
    • Environmental conditions
  • Clean Line requires that its representatives follow a Code of Conduct, which provides that all representatives treat every landowner with consideration and respect.  In addition, Clean Line strives to build and maintain long-lasting relationships with landowners by working in a respectful and collaborative manner for the life of the project.
How much will you pay for the right-of-way?
  • Clean Line and RETA are committed to compensating landowners fairly and seeks to reach voluntarily negotiated agreements with 100% of the landowners along the line’s route.  The landowner compensation package will include an easement payment, based on the size of the easement required and market value of the land, and an additional payment for each structure placed on the landowner’s property.
  • Other payments may be made in certain circumstances, including for:
    • Crop damage
    • Commercially marketable timber
    • Irrigation interference
    • Damage to drainage tile 
How will the market value of the land be determined?
  • Clean Line will engage a certified independent appraisal firm to determine the fair market value per acre based on a market data study, which analyzes recent arms-length sales in a given county, across similar types of land-use, such as dry cropland, irrigated cropland, or pasture.
Will structure payments be annual or one-time?
  • Historically, utilities have made one-time payments for transmission line easements and structures.
  • During its extensive outreach efforts across many states, Clean Line heard that landowners have a strong interest in annual payments as compensation for structures on their properties.  Therefore, Clean Line has decided to offer landowners the option of receiving for each structure on their property an up-front payment or an escalating annual payment for as long as the structure is on their easement.
  • The easement payment will be made up-front.
When will landowners receive easement payments?
  • Representatives are available to begin discussion of compensation for easements with affected landowners.  A portion of the compensation for easements will begin as soon as landowners sign an easement agreement, and remaining payments will have been paid by the time construction has commenced, with the exception of any annual structure payments or damages payments, which may be paid thereafter.
Will Clean Line compensate for crop damage or soil compaction during construction?
  • Clean Line is committed to minimizing impacts of the project on current land use.
  • Clean Line will repair damage to soil resulting from construction and maintenance of the transmission line and will compensate for crop damage that occurs during construction.
Will the line impact aerial spraying practices?
  • The project team has and will continue to collaborate with owners and operators of local airstrips as well as appropriate state associations to better understand the impacts that a transmission line might have to aerial spraying.
  • In order to minimize impacts to runways, Clean Line has asked for information on private runways during its outreach efforts and has utilized the additional information as criteria in identifying potential routes.
  • Clean Line and RETA will work with landowners concerned about potential interference with aerial application.  To minimize potential interference, potential routes for the Western Spirit Clean Line may be identified along existing divisions of land and/or located in parallel to existing aerial obstructions (such as other transmission lines) to the extent practicable.
  • Clean Line plans to supply the applicable state associations with GPS coordinates for the transmission structures in all states the project will traverse.
What will Clean Line and RETA pay if trees must be removed?
  • Although forested areas comprise a small percentage of the project study area, the route is likely to encounter some forested areas, and Clean Line and RETA will compensate for commercially marketable timber that is taken down as a result of construction and maintenance of the line.
Will even the small trees have to be removed? Can landowners keep the wood?
  • Trees and other vertical vegetation over 10 feet will need to be cleared and managed based on potential safety and reliability concerns.  Landowners will be given the option to keep the wood.
Will you be on public land or private land?
  • Right-of-way acquisition for a project of this size in this part of the country may involve both private and public land; however, our project will pass through primarily private easements as most of the land along our potential routes is private.
What if damages occur to fencing or other property during construction or maintenance?
  • Clean Line and RETA will either repair or compensate landowners for damages to improvements, such as fences, incurred as a result of the construction or maintenance of the line on their property.
Will homes be located within the easement?
  • No.  In order comply with National Electrical Safety Code requirements and good utility practice, habitable structures may not be located within transmission line easements.
How close can the transmission line be to a home? Can any structure be within your right-of-way?
  • Clean Line and RETA will attempt to identify potential routes as far from homes as possible, while also taking into account our other routing criteria. 
  • Safety and reliability requirements establish minimum clearance distances between the conductors and any structures. Habitable structures are not allowed within the right-of-way.

Routing

How do you decide the specific route your line will follow?
  • Clean Line and RETA are committed to siting the Western Spirit Clean Line in a way that minimizes the overall effect of the transmission line on the natural and human environment while avoiding unreasonable and circuitous routes, unreasonable costs, and special design requirements.
  • In 2011, RETA and Power Network New Mexico developed several possible transmission lines routes. Clean Line and RETA have worked jointly together to select and refine one of these alternatives. 
  • Clean Line and RETA work with a wide range of interested parties, including federal, state and county agencies, environmental NGOs, and Native American tribes, to develop the route for the Western Spirit Clean Line.
Will you route the line along existing transmission lines, roads, section lines, or other property lines?
  • Routing along existing linear infrastructure (such as other transmission lines, roads, and pipelines) or property lines is widely accepted as a best practice because it helps to minimize new fragmentation of existing land use and habitats; however, we must balance that with the potential impacts on land use in the area and other considerations.
Will you build within other transmission lines or utility right-of-ways?
  • When paralleling existing transmission lines, our right-of-way would typically be adjacent to (but not overlapping) the existing rights-of-way.  When doing so, Clean Line will maintain safety clearances as dictated by the National Electrical Safety Code and applicable state and local codes.
Are there any issues with crossing existing transmission lines?
  • No.  While engineering is needed, there are no prohibitive issues with crossing existing transmission lines.
  • Generally, our conductors will be higher voltage and cross above existing lines (higher voltage lines are on top, generally). Crossing locations will be determined in coordination with the owners of the existing infrastructure and applicable regulations.
What impacts do you anticipate to birds/other species?
  • We will seek to avoid and minimize impacts to wildlife habitat; our routing and siting process takes into account sensitive environmental areas and habitats.  Clean Line has an Avian Protection Plan for each project that describes measures to reduce adverse impacts to birds.  To review Clean Line’s Avian Protection Plan, please click here.
Do landowners have any say where the structures are placed within their easements?
  • Clean Line and RETA will take landowner feedback into consideration when determining structure placements. Easement agreements will be negotiated individually with each landowner and will consider many factors including, but not limited to:
    • Existing uses of the land (e.g., crops vs. grazing vs. forested),
    • Type and number of structures that will be placed on the land,
    • The requirement for future access rights to the land, and
    • Environmental conditions

Technology

AC

What is AC?
  • AC stands for alternating current. The electric grid in the United States is made up almost exclusively of AC transmission and distribution lines.
What is the voltage rating of this line?
  • The Western Spirit Clean Line is a 345 kilovolt high voltage alternating current transmission line.
Can you place the line underground?
  • Underground cable systems for power transmission are very complex and depend upon a number of factors in order to operate efficiently and reliably.  To date, there have been no underground cable systems designed or installed at the proposed length that will be utilized by the Western Spirit Clean Line. 
  • Undergrounding the Western Spirit Clean Line would be technically and economically infeasible.
What is the life span of the transmission line?
  • In the U.S., transmission lines are almost never retired once they are in operation. The structures and other components would be updated approximately every 30-40 years.

Structures

What type of structures will the transmission line use?
  • Several structure types are under engineering review, including steel monopole, steel lattice, steel H-frame and guyed structures.
  • There are many factors that must be considered when determining the structures to be used for the transmission line, including terrain requirements, land-use constraints (for instance avoiding interference with center pivot irrigation systems), and cost (steel prices can vary widely over time).
How tall will the structures be?
  • We anticipate the majority of the structures will be between 100 and 150 feet tall. However, the exact height of the structure depends on several variables, including: engineering requirements, topography, structure type, and span length. Generally, the taller the structures, the greater the span between structures; and, the shorter the structures, the shorter the span between structures.  This means if structures are at the taller end of the 110 to 150 foot range; there typically will be fewer of them.  Instances when the structures could exceed 150 feet in height include river crossings or terrain that would require longer span length.
How large will the foundation footprints be?
  • The typical foundation footprints will be between six and eight feet in diameter.
  • H-frame structures have two “legs” and two foundations, so a total footprint of about 27 feet x 14 feet.
  • Guyed structures have a single foundation, and four guy wires to aid in the support of these lighter structures will extend outward to a distance of 80 to 105 feet from the center of the foundation. In rare instances, terrain could require the guy wires to exceed 105 feet from the center. Guyed structures will only be placed in areas where they are compatible with current land use.
What is the minimum clearance below your transmission line?
  • Minimum clearances are designated by the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) and vary depending on several factors, such as vehicular traffic or pedestrian usage.  The design of our transmission line must meet or exceed NESC requirements.
What is the span length between structures?
  • Clean Line anticipates that there will be between four to six structures per mile, with span lengths from 800 feet to 1,400 feet between structures. As with structure height, there are several variables that factor into the exact span between structures, such as soil conditions and topography.
  • These ranges will encompass the large majority of span lengths along the line, but there may be longer or shorter spans lengths due to engineering and environmental considerations, such as river crossings.

Electronic Interference

Are there any impacts to radio signal? If so, what are they?
  • FM radio receivers typically do not pick up interference from transmission lines.  If there is AM radio frequency interference, it typically occurs immediately under a transmission line and dissipates rapidly away from the line.
Are there any impacts to television signal? If so, what are they?
  • Digital television signals are not impacted; therefore, television interference is highly unlikely.
Will the line interfere with GPS signals?
  • GPS units associated with farm equipment will operate with their traditional degree of accuracy near and under high voltage transmission lines.
Is there sound associated with the line? How much and what will it sound like?
  • At the edge of the right-of-way, the sound associated with the line should be in the same range as a whisper.  Audible noise is produced by corona on transmission line conductors. Corona is an electric discharge from the conductor caused by ionization of the air. This sizzling or crackling sound is called random noise.  Random noise results from a multitude of small snapping sounds at corona points on the conductor.

Health and Safety

What is EMF?
  • EMF stands for electric and magnetic fields.  Electric fields are produced by voltage, and voltage is the electrical pressure that drives an electric current through a circuit.  Magnetic fields are produced by current, and current is the movement or flow of electrons.  EMFs are naturally present in the environment and are present wherever electricity is used, for example a toaster, cell phone, a battery operated device, a lamp, a computer, etc.  The earth has both magnetic fields produced by currents in the molten core of the planet and an electric field produced by electrical activity in the atmosphere, such as thunderstorms. 
What health effects are associated with electromagnetic fields (EMF)?
  • Because alternating current transmission lines are so prevalent, a large amount of research has been conducted regarding the potential health effects of EMF from AC lines, and it is still an important research topic today. Decades of scientific and medical research have found no strong evidence of adverse health effects caused by EMF. The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences are great resources for more information on EMF health and safety.
What is stray voltage?
  • The term “stray voltage” can refer to several phenomena involving the creation of an unintended electric potential difference (voltage) between two conductive surfaces. In areas where power lines traverse agricultural land, the term often refers to the development of a potential difference between the grounded neutral conductor of a power line (a wire that usually carries minimal current) and the ground to which it is connected, causing current to flow on the grounded neutral. This current, in turn, can develop a potential difference with nearby conductive material present in agricultural operations.
  • Under normal operation and with proper safety measures in effect, stray voltage remains below levels that affect the health or behavior of persons or animals.
Is it safe to park vehicles underneath the line? Can a vehicle shock you?
  • It is safe to park beneath the line, though if the vehicle is strongly insulated from the ground, you could get a static electric shock from touching the vehicle in the same way that shuffling your feet on a carpet could give you a static electric shock when touching a doorknob due to an accumulation of charge.
Can my livestock graze under or around the transmission line?
  • Yes.  Extensive studies indicate that exposure to transmission lines pose no harmful effect to farm animals.
Does Clean Line have an Avian Program?
  • Yes. The goal of Clean Line’s Avian Program is to advance progress towards electric transmission systems that are safer for all avian species. The Avian Program establishes a framework for reducing risks to birds and describes Clean Line’s policy to develop and implement Avian Protection Plans specific to each transmission system.  To read and download Clean Line Energy Partners’ Avian Program, please click here.