While proposed long-distance, high-voltage transmission projects continue to be stymied by hostile landowners and disapproving state regulators, a new transmission strategy is taking root in the Midwest. The Direct Connect Development Company has been working on a plan for an underground transmission line along existing railroad tracks from north-central Iowa to the Chicago area. The goal is to provide a way to move additional wind energy from Iowa, the Dakotas and Minnesota to a transfer point in the Chicago area. From there, the power could move farther east into regions with more electricity demand.And because the line with a capacity of 2,100 megawatts (MW) would be mostly invisible, it might elude some of the problems that have dogged transmission lines that would tower overhead while crossing Midwestern farm fields. Direct Connect CEO Trey Ward said the Canadian Pacific Railway has agreed to allow the comany to bury the line within its right of way, which extends for about 85 percent of the 349-mile route.