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Missouri PSC Approves Grain Belt Express HVDC Transmission Project

LCG, March 22, 2019--The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a request filed by Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to construct, own, operate, control, manage and maintain a high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) transmission line to move power east from wind farms in western Kansas to load centers in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

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FPL Targets 1,490 MW of Solar Capacity for New Community Solar Program

LCG, March 15, 2019--Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) Wednesday filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for a new community solar program, FPL SolarTogether. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490-MW of capacity at 20 new solar power plants across FPL's service territory to meet anticipated customer enrollment in the program.

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Industry News

New Materials May Make Capacity Upgrades of Lines Easier

LCG, Mar. 4, 2004--Composite materials are being tested in newly designed power lines that have the advantages of not sagging like traditional lines, and of allowing a greater amount of power to flow without adding significant bulk.

Companies developing the lines use substitutes for the steel that makes up the central core of traditional power cables, around which aluminum stands used to transmit electricity are wrapped. Because the composite materials, which use carbon fiber, glass and epoxy, provide the same strength as steel cores with larger diameters, they make it possible to wrap more aluminum around lines' cores. At the same time, they conduct less than steel, and sag up to 90% less, their makers say. This latter feature could be useful in preventing blackouts due to lines that heat up, and come to rest on trees or the ground.

The largest-scale test yet underway is planned by a local utility in Kingman, Kan., which has agreed to pay for a test of a 21-mile-long line, according to the New York Times. Other tests are underway in North Dakota and Minnesota, where another company will see how well its line performs in the local weather conditions. The Department of Energy is contributing financial assistance to a test near Fargo, N.D., scheduled for the winter. If the tests are considered successful, more widespread adoption will depend on the willingness of utilities to replace older lines, which can operate for more than 50 years without becoming seriously degraded.
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