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Will the SOO Green Renewable Rail project succeed?

Question

One of the biggest challenges for renewable energy deployment is how to get power from where it is best produced to where it is most needed. In the USA, the best regions for wind and solar production are in the West, the Southwest, and the Plains Midwest. The area of most need is the Northeast.

Many different technologies (batteries, conventional electric grid buildout, H2 storage) are relevant to this problem. One such entrant is high-voltage DC transmission lines (HVDC), which have high efficiency over long distances. Unfortunately, building new overhead lines meets stiff resistance from landowners and NIMBY stakeholders.

The Soo Green Renewable Rail project will attempt to solve for these issues by building out HVDC cables buried underground along railroad rights-of-way. The first planned project will lay 347 miles of cable from Mason City, Iowa to Plano, Illinois.

So we ask: Will the first SOO Green Renewable Rail project complete and succeed before 2035?

Definitions of success:

  • There is a buried HVDC cable of length at least 150 miles running from a location in Iowa to a location in Illinois.

  • This cable is developed and installed by the Soo Green Renewable Rail organization, or a successor, partner, subsidiary, or spinoff.

  • At some instant before 2035 the cable must be transmitting at least 1000MW of power over a distance of 150 miles or more.

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