The East Coast will plug into the Midwest for power with a new $2.5B extension cord

European investors have partnered on a $2.5B project to build a 329-mile-long extension cord from the Midwest to East Coast energy markets.


March 12, 2019

European investors partnered on a new, $2.5B project to develop a 349-mile-long electrical transmission cable across the American Midwest. 

Currently, colossal, cross-continental cables could connect countrywide commercial corridors. 

But previous cross-regional energy projects have had trouble getting underneath the ground. This particular project, however, could plug the hungry Eastern energy market into Iowa’s windy plains.

Rich European companies, richer American soil

Iowa soil is well known for its agricultural output. But Midwestern dirt is good for more than just tillin’ corn and soybeans, dammit.

Siemens and the Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) partnered with the Canadian Pacific railroad line to develop the SOO Green Renewable Rail, a 349-mile-long underground cable to funnel Midwestern renewable energy to Eastern markets.

The many twists and turns on the road to Big Cables

America’s energy landscape is tangled: Currently, most Americans get their power from regional energy grids.

But for years, investors have wanted to connect these grids — both to enable lucrative arbitrage and also to allow cheap renewable energy from regions like the windy Midwest to flow elsewhere. But cranky lawmakers have prevented most of these projects from going live on the grid.

This cable, however, could uncoil differently: CIP, which owns 50% of a functional wind farm off the coast of MA, already has a track record of renewable success.

Plus, the cables are being built along an existing rail line, which has fast-tracked local permissions in the past.

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