Western Great Lakes States On "Green Power Express" By 2020: Transmission Lines Approved

green power express distribution map image

Conceptual Map, Green Power Express. Image credit:ITC Holdings

Greenwire reports, via the New York Times, on a favorable decision by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, (FERC) for construction of high-power transmission lines from wind farms on the tall grass prairie states to more easterly metro areas. There remains a decade-long slog before the Green Power Express is strung up; but, when the job is done, cities powered from the major load centers (pictured) will have taken a major step toward sustainability. Read on for more layers to the sustainability dimension.The 'water layer' of sustainability has two main components. The most obvious, as applies to the eastern-most portions of the service area, is proximity to the vast reserve of water in the Great Lakes. For cities in that portion, this project adds hope that the Rust Belt can be the Life Belt of the nation.

The less obvious water layer has to do with agriculture. The deep, rich prairie-formed soils of Southern Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Southern Minnesota became known as the "Corn Belt" long ago for good reason. Farms there are far less dependent upon depleting aquifers for irrigation than are those in more westerly states. As increased weather extremes pose added risks to agriculture on the high plains states, the wind powered, precipitation supplied productivity of this service area will figure strongly in national sustainability.

For additional background on this proposed project, see the the earlier post: ITC Holdings Corp. Proposes New Wind Power Transmission Lines Serving US Midwest
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