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U.K.’s National Grid invests in U.S. HV transmission line developer

U.K.-based National Grid will invest $40 million in Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, a Houston-based developer of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines designed to move large amounts of renewable power to U.S. markets. The news is especially noteworthy due to the scope of
the projects that Clean Line is involved in, as seen in the below bulleted items.

A press release said that National Grid USA, a business of National Grid, will make the equity investment that will result in the company acquiring "a significant ownership stake in Clean Line's portfolio of long-distance, direct-current transmission projects."

At its website, Clean Line reports that it has strategic alliances with companies that include General Cable, Siemens and Southwire Company. It notes that it has begun preliminary work, such as permits and rights-of-way, for four new U.S. transmission lines, which collectively represent an investment of more than $8 billion and include:

• The Plains & Eastern Clean Line. This line is designed to move 3,500 MW of power from western Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas to consumers
in the U.S. Southeast. A $2 billion project, the Plains & Eastern Clean Line is expected to use approximately 25 million conductor feet of high-voltage
conductor. General Cable will provide the cable. The order could be worth $100 million or more depending on commodity prices.

• The Grain Belt Express Clean Line. This line will deliver 3,500 MW of renewable power from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. A $2 billion project, the energy will be transported via a 700-mile overhead HVDC line. The cable supplier was not named yet.

• The Centennial West Clean Line. This line will move 3,500 MW of power from New Mexico to California. A $2.5 billion project, it will require an approximately 900-mile overhead HVDC line. The cable supplier was not named yet.

• The Rock Island Clean Line. This line will deliver 3,500 MW from northwest Iowa and the surrounding region to communities in Illinois and other states to the east. Siemens will provide HVDC technology. Southwire Company is the preferred supplier for the overhead transmission cable.

"The agreement anticipates that the cable will be produced from Southwire's facility in Flora, Illinois, and results from the strong support of the State of Illinois for renewable energy development. Clean Line's potential future supply order from Southwire could be worth $70 million or more depending on commodity prices and other variables," a press release said about the project. It noted that "... the facility expects to produce cable over 12 to 14 months, with project construction to begin as early as 2014."

"We continue to make steady progress on the development of our four projects," said Michael Skelly, Clean Line president. "National Grid's participation in Clean Line will further enhance our technical, financial and development capabilities."

"We strongly support the advancement of tomorrow's network technologies and clean energy resources in the U.S., and our equity investment
in Clean Line underscores each of those objectives," said Tom King, president of National Grid's U.S. operation.

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