- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Houston-based company on Thursday reapplied to build a power line across Missouri for a multistate wind energy project despite an earlier rejection by state regulators.

Clean Line Energy Partners says that since the Missouri Public Service Commission denied its request last year, it’s changed plans to address landowner concerns and has built a case for why the Grain Belt Express is needed. The cost of the proposed power line is estimated at more than $2.3 billion.

“Over the last year, we have made tremendous progress in developing the Grain Belt Express so that it will benefit Missourians for years to come,” Clean Line President Michael Skelly said in a statement. He said he’s hopeful the Missouri Public Service Commission will recognize “the many long-term benefits that this project will bring to the Show-Me State.”

The Grain Belt Express would cut from Dodge City, Kansas, through northern Missouri and Illinois to a substation in Sullivan, Indiana. A little more than 200 miles of the 780-mile power line would stretch through Missouri, and state utilities would have access to some of the electricity it would carry. A converter station planned for Ralls County also would allow Missouri utilities to sell excess power.

Missouri is the only state that hasn’t approved the Grain Belt Express. The Public Service Commission last year voted 3-2 against the project, raising questions about whether it would benefit Missourians, if there’s a need for it and whether it’s economically feasible.

In the past month leading up to its new application, Clean Line has unveiled new support from some Missourians.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday announced he’s backing the project, citing what he described as landowner protections the company has agreed to follow.

Those include offering the option of binding arbitration to resolve compensation disputes and avoiding damage to farmland. Clean Line also agreed to update land value assessments, pay the higher amount if land values decrease, and not cut promised compensation if the project gains approval.

The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission, which represents 67 municipal utilities that pool their resources to buy power, in early June announced it signed an agreement for up to 200 megawatts of transmission space on the power line.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide