The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) today issued an order approving a petition for a franchise to construct, maintain, and operate a new electric transmission line in Iowa by SOO Green HVDC Link ProjectCo, LLC (SOO Green).
The petition referred to as the SOO Green transmission line project in Docket No. E-22436, proposes to build approximately 174 miles of 525 kilovolt underground high voltage direct current (HVDC) electric transmission line in Allamakee, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Dubuque, Floyd, Jackson, and Winneshiek counties in Iowa, and continue into Illinois.
All but approximately 18 miles of SOO Green’s proposed electric transmission line route will be located on the private rights-of-way (ROW) of the railroad alignment owned in various forms by Canadian Pacific Kansas City Limited (Canadian Pacific Railroad). Canadian Pacific Railroad was formed on April 14, 2023, through the acquisition by Canadian Pacific Railway of the Kansas City Southern Railway Company. The remainder of the transmission line will be located on public road ROW of Iowa Highway 18 in Clayton County.
Today’s order finds that the proposed line is necessary to serve a public use and represents a reasonable relationship to an overall plan of transmitting electricity in the public interest. The order also found that vesting SOO Green with the right of eminent domain is necessary for public use as discussed in the order. Eminent domain was granted regarding four parcels in Clayton County and two parcels in Dubuque County along the railroad ROW.
The order also states that the franchise granted by the IUB is subject to a condition that the electric transmission line operate as a merchant line under Iowa Code 478.6A, and SOO Green must both provide prior notice and receive IUB approval before changing the business model of operation of the franchise. Failure to comply will result in the automatic termination of the granted franchise.
The IUB retains jurisdiction in this docket under Iowa Code chapter 478 and may at any time during the franchise period make such further orders as necessary, including but not limited to modification of the franchise line to something other than a merchant line or review of requests for additional eminent domain authority.
SOO Green filed its application for its proposed underground electric transmission line on September 24, 2020, in Docket No. E-22436. The franchise petition process was paused at SOO Green’s request in February 2021 and resumed in September 2022.