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Centennial West Clean Line
Centennial West Clean Line (Centennial West) is a proposed high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) line running approximately 900 miles from a high-quality wind resource area in northeastern New Mexico to San Bernardino County, California. As a result of extensive outreach, Centennial West incorporated a plan to also transport up to 500 megawatts of solar capacity from a pick-up point in Mohave County, Arizona. The 3,500-megawatt line is one of four HVDC lines under development by Clean Line Energy Partners.
Direct current lines have several distinct advantages over more common alternating current (AC) lines
- Smaller footprint – HVDC lines use about one-third the right-of-way requirements that an AC system uses to move an equivalent amount of power.
- HVDC is ideal for moving renewable energy from remote locations to far-away population centers, because it has cost advantages and lower line losses. This makes HVDC well-suited to moving large amounts of power over long distances.
- HVDC works well with intermittent power sources like wind and solar, because the power flow can be controlled rapidly and accurately as to both the power level and the direction.
In addition, in contrast to more traditional HVDC lines (or "HVDC classic"), the Centennial West line will take advantage of cutting edge technology, called Voltage Source Converters (VSC). In combination with direct current lines, VSC technology places fewer requirements on the local grid, and also has advantages over HVDC classic.
- HVDC classic generally only allows energy to be put on-line or taken off-line at the start and end points. Additional terminals, while possible, are generally prohibitively costly and can offer technical challenges. In contrast, VSC more readily allows for multiple terminals at a more reasonable cost and facilitates streamlined installation and operation.
- VSC based HVDC requires much smaller substations than HVDC classic—less than half the size.
In January 2011, Clean Line submitted an application for right-of-way across federal lands and a preliminary plan of development to the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management. In June 2012, Clean Line entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy's Western Area Power Administration to advance the development of the Centennial West Line. Read the press release here.
Advanced Energy Economy Clean Line case study
Comparative Evaluation of High Voltage DC and AC Transmission Systems
Centennial West Application for Transportation and Utility Systems and Facilities on Federal Lands (Standard Form 299)
Organizations: Clean Line
Location: New Mexico, Arizona, California
Planning Phase: Pre-planning (Outreach, HVDC)
Last Updated: May 11, 2012