Google-backed $5 billion power line clears U.S. hurdle

WASHINGTON Thu May 19, 2011 12:16pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google and its partners can earn a 12.59 percent return on their equity investment in a proposed $5 billion transmission line that would transport electricity from wind farms off the Atlantic coast, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled on Thursday.

The project, which consists of a transmission line stretching from New Jersey to Virginia, could transport up to 6,000 megawatts of electricity to 1.9 million households.

The project still needs approval from the Interior Department, several state agencies and the regional power grid operator, PJM. The project's backers are Google, Good Energies, a private firm, and Japan's Marubeni Corp.

The companies hope to have the first phase of the transmission line operating in 2016.

(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio)

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