Grain Belt Express
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The Grain Belt Express transmission line will be developed by Clean Line Energy in order to increase rural economic development, creating both construction and operation jobs, as well as significantly decreasing pollutants by millions of tons.
The project will develop transmission to make possible billions of dollars of investments in new renewable energy projects, which couldn't otherwise be constructed because of limitations in the existing electric transmission grid. Stronger transmission links between regions will help build a more reliable electric grid, and low-cost renewable energy will mean lower prices for customers and businesses.
This direct current line will offer a lower carbon footprint than the traditional alternating current variety, boosting efficiency and requiring smaller easements.
Click here for a video that further explains this project.
The proposed line will be developed to deliver 3,500 megawatts of renewable energy from western Kansas to southeastern Missouri, continuing on into Illinois, Indiana, and areas that have a high demand for reliable, clean energy. The path will run through the north central portion of Kansas.
The western converter station would be constructed near Spearville, while the eastern converter is proposed for St. Francois County, which is south of St. Louis. The line will span 550 miles, with about 300 of those miles in Kansas. From there the line will continue into Illinois and Indiana, linking to a new substation in Sullivan, IN. The line will then link to distribution systems serving cities in the PJM territory.
Many of the public meetings Clean Line has held are devoted to finding a route that works for all stakeholders. A formal or finalized route will be available once the public meeting period has concluded.
Development Time Line:
Clean Line is currently hosting public outreach meetings throughout Kansas and Missouri. Between 2012 and 2013, regulatory approval, siting and permitting will take place, and a final route will likely be proposed in the summer of 2013. In early November 2013, the Kansas Corporation Commission approved the preferred route for the project, but gave Clean Line five years to acquire approval in other states. Clean Line will secure customers to invest in the line and finalize land acquisition between 2013 and 2014. Construction of the line is expected to take place as early as 2016, and the line could be in-service by 2018. To learn more about the construction process, click here.
Clean Line submitted an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) in March 2011. This will enable Clean Line to be a public utility, and subject to additional approvals, to site, construct, own, operate, and maintain bulk electric transmission facilities throughout Kansas. Approval was granted in December 2011.
Clean Line intends to file an application under the Kansas Electric Transmission Line Siting Act (KSTA), in order to permit the siting of the line. The proposed route will likely be filed through the application to the Kansas Corporation Commission in the summer of 2013.
Clean Line will also apply for a Certificate to Construct and Operate Regulated Facilities. The Missouri Public Service Commission requires applicants to obtain a certificate and declare the commencement of actual construction activities. Clean Line will file its application to the Missouri Public Service Commission in late 2012. The Army Corps of Engineers will examine river crossings for the line to ensure that the line will not damage any levees or protected areas.
A small portion of this line will enter Sullivan County, Indiana. Because of this Clean Line will also have to apply to the Indiana Regulatory Commission to become an Indiana Utility. This application, requesting public utility status, was filed in November of 2012. To learn more, click here and search for docket number 44264.
Clean Line selected a route that parallels an existing Westar transmission line in Kansas, and applied with the Kansas Corporation Commission for approval of the route. The notice of public comment and viewing is available here. KCC held a series of four open house meetings in August to provide a forum for landowners, and approved the preferred route in November 2013. Clean Line is currently reviewing input from several open house meetings before seeking approval in Missouri, and a route has yet to be drafted in Illinois. This was conditional on Clean Line receiving approval from regulators in other states. It is likely that Clean Line will file with the Missouri Public Service Commission in March of 2014
Clean Line will consider stakeholder input in order to refine and eliminate potential routes and determine one proposed route, as well as alternative routes.
Currently Clean Line is in the very early stages of engaging landowners and stakeholders, but acknowledges that the public must be directly involved in determining the best route for the transmission project. In May 2011, Clean Line held invitation-only community leader roundtable meetings, and public meetings will be held later this year. Throughout various open house gatherings, Clean Line has also made considerable effort to engage landowners and seek feedback on all proposed routes.
Clean Line is also making a point to work closely with the community. Following a model similar that that used in developing the Rock Island project, Clean Line is inviting local businesses and community leaders to sessions designed with the explicit purpose of helping those impacted better understand the project. These are not required by statute. In many cases this allows local businesses to learn about a potential role for their operation during project development, helping Clean Line achieve the goal of using as many local parts and services as practicable. It's estimated that the project could create as many as 2,340 jobs.
Working with communities and landowenrs in Missouri, Clean Line has adopted suggested alterations to the line to help refine the project route, as well as bypass several residences.
Clean Line held a round of these meetings in Kansas in January and February of 2013, inviting thousands of landowners that were in the planning corridor for the line. An estimated 2,200 people attended the meetings, according to Clean Line. Some of the primary concerns expressed by landowners at the meetings were the amount of property tax revenue that would come from the project, and the impact that the line would have on land--both for agricultural operations and wildlife habitats. Currently, similar meetings are beginning to occur in Missouri, and are planned for Illinois.
For many, it's welcome news that Clean Line has agreed to work alongside the Nature Conservancy to find the most environmentally benign route available. This same group welcomes the 5,000 expected jobs and additional work for local businesses, including local contractors who will have an opportunity to participate in the construction process. For others, any power line is a cause for opposition. Businesses like Siemens, a wind turbine production company with a location in Hutchinson, will benefit greatly. As will local governments, who welcome the more than $1 million in property taxes paid over a forty year period for each mile the line crosses. It is also estimated that the project will create 500 operational jobs once it comes online in 2018.
Clean Line will hold open houses in the summer of 2013 to look for construction partners for the project in Missouri. Clean Line has obtained public utility status in Kansas, and is currently seeking the same in Missouri. In summer 2013, the developer will also release the proposed route for the Kansas portion of the project.
For others, particularly those directly impacted, concerns remain. Many are wanting pertinent information such as the expected size of the towers used, the required distance from homes and other structures, whether potential health risks will be highlighted, and whether landowners will be subject to eminent domain. Other concerns revolve around the amount and structure of landowner payments, the effect that the line will have on the price of land, the damage that may be done to county roads, and if the transmission line will remove certified organic and other statuses from land. Some are also concerned about the 10 year tax abatement that the project receives according to state law, but the developer has noted that when the abatement ends the project will generate a large amount of revenue. Some opposition groups have formed to protest the Grain Belt line, similar to efforts organized in opposition to Clean Line's Rock Island project.
Westar Energy has asked to intervene in the case, expressing that they aren't opposed, but simply want to make sure that the line is built in such a way that it will decrease the likelihood of outages for customers. Marshall County, KS will file to intervene in the project as well, and discussed filing for discovery on the cost of burying the line and what would happen if this direct current project were to take out an alternating current line. Commissioners noted that opposition within the county and limited support was the reason for filing the intervention, mentioning health concerns and questions of economic welfare. Some opposed landowners want their local counties to file injunctions on their behalf, but this is not an option for county commissioners. Instead, they offer to send letters voicing particular concerns, to be concerned while different regulatory bodies examine the project. Some county boards, like the one representing Shelby county, acknowledge that projects like this one are one of only two ways that counties can raise money. The board remains neutral, due to hearing opposition from county landowerns.
The owner of an oil company located in Kansas has also voiced concerns over the project, claiming it would essentially end some of his production leases because of the route. The County Commissioners of Caldwell County in Missouri sent a letter to regulators, noting that they have not approved of the project, and urging the Public Service Commission to not approve the project.
A group called CLEANR has recently formed to oppose the project, and support litigation against Clean Line or the Kansas Corporation Commission. The Kansas Farm Bureau authored a piece asking for siting of the line to be limited to section lines, appropriate damage restoration, annual payments to landowners, and several other concerns and suggestions they had for the project.
Clean Line has put forward a memorandum of understanding with two Illinois counties, informing them of their intentions and of payments that Clean Line would offer. They are currently proposing a voluntary $7,000 annual per mile payment to Illinois counties, as many do not have a tax on transmission lines. The agreement would go into effect when the line is officially in-service, and last for 20 years after that date, unless amended. Clean Line has also said that if the county levies taxes that will require additional payments, they will still provide a voluntary payment to the county, but that their total contribution to the county would still total $7,000--paying whatever the tax requirement, and then a voluntary payment on top of this, all of it totalling $7,000. If taxes exceed $7,000, Clean Line would make no voluntary payment to the county on top of the taxed amount.
Clean Energy Potential:
The Grain Belt Express will connect some of the best wind resources in the country to regions that have a greater demand for power, thus enabling more than 3,500 megawatts of new wind energy projects to be built. Many wind farms in Kansas will be constructed as a result of this endeavor, with an estimated 2,000 new turbines being built because of the project. While new projects capable of connecting to this line have been proposed, projects already in the development phase are now being sold for a significant profit to companies working to capitalize on this opportunity.
Clean Line is sending a request for information to Kansas wind farms to determine what the demand for capacity is like in the state. Similar requests have been sent to other states, and will help Clean Line identify potential generators that will require their services. Wind energy developers in western Kansas have replied to this request, estimating that projects they hope to build would total 13.5 gW in wind energy capacity for the area that would be served by the Grain Belt Express project.
Clean Line estimates that over $7 billion of new wind projects will be needed to meet demand created by this project. The line will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 12 million tons each year, which is equivalent to removing more than 1.7 million cars from the road. As a result of the project, Missouri made it in the top 10 rankings for states with the most clean energy job creation. About 78 permanent jobs would be created in Missouri as part of the project, involving industries that will construct materials used in building transmission projects.
Commissioners take a stand against The Grain Belt Express March 11, 2014
Wind farm rep speaks at Crowder March 1, 2014
Wind energy transmission plan topic of talk at MARET Center February 27, 2014
Clean Line causing debate February 26, 2014
Powerline opponents to meet this weekend February 26, 2014
Wind Industry Leader to Speak at Crowder College February 25, 2014
Missouri group fighting to stop proposed transmission line February 22, 2014
Power line project raising concerns across Missouri February 22, 2014
Wind line could blow through Effingham County February 19, 2014
Opponents surge against wind energy project February 7, 2014
Talks fail to deter transmission line project February 5, 2014
Power line opponents surge against wind energy transmission project February 1, 2014
Company finds wind energy aplenty January 30, 2014
Concerned farmers gather about Line January 30, 2014
Kansas hops on Grain Belt Express January 23, 2014
Transmission lines would send Kansas wind power to eastern U.S. January 13, 2014
Partners working with counties on transmission line project January 6, 2014
Wind energy project adjusts Highway 36 route options December 17, 2013
Farmers Concerned About Transmission Lines December 13, 2013
County Board hears wind energy presentation December 13, 2013
Shelby County Board hears power line possibilities December 11, 2013
Power line inches closer to area--KCC approves Clean Line in Kansas December 3, 2013
Clean Line Energy Requests Information November 20, 2013
Movement on Grain Belt Express November 20, 2013
Grain Belt Express gains momentum November 19, 2013
Grain Belt Express Clean Line Issues RFI To Kansas Wind Generators November 19, 2013
Transmission project to turn wind into electricity November 19, 2013
KCC grants approval on high voltage power line November 14, 2013
Approval given for energy routing November 13, 2013
Electric line proposed to transmit wind energy through region November 12, 2013
Transmission line approved with caveat November 8, 2013
Kansas Regulators OK Grain Belt Express Clean Line Project November 8, 2013
Wind energy transmission line OK'd; 2,340 jobs expected November 7, 2013
Transmission line's Kansas route receives approval November 7, 2013
KCC holds hearing on proposed transmission route October 16, 2013
Oil Company Owner Publishs Concerns Over Wind Energy Line October 15, 2013
Missouri opposition builds against wind power project October 7, 2013
Clean Line attempts to set the record straight October 2, 2013
Marshall County Commission Meeting Septemeber 30, 2013
Let's get along, There is room for another energy player September 30, 2013
Kansas Group Fighting Clean Line Energy September 19, 2013
Caldwell County landowner expresses concern over Grain Belt Express September 18, 2013
Power line upsets county resident September 16, 2013
Topeka man protests transmission lines near Nemaha County property September 14, 2013
Clean Line meets organized opposition in Caldwell County September 11, 2013
County files to intervene in Clean Line case September 4, 2013
Energy firm outlines plans for transmission line September 3, 2013
New Clean Projects Equals New Clean Jobs August 30, 2013
Missouri, Illinois lead in clean energy job creation August 28, 2013
Complaints few at transmission line meeting August 22, 2013
Beloit hearing audience divided over transmission August 21, 2013
Public hearings scheduled for power lines August 16, 2013
KCC Holds Public Hearing Over Transmission Line August 15, 2013
Large crowd shows up for KCC hearing August 14, 2013
Meeting upcoming on electric line August 14, 2013
Regulator hears opposition to wind power project August 12, 2013
Public speaks out over power line proposal July 30, 2013
Power line developer files application July 25, 2013
Clean Line sets route for high voltage power line July 22, 2013
Area residents hear wind energy proposal July 19, 2013
Clean Line Energy To Hold Public Hearings in August July 18, 2013
Another line for Clinton County? July 12, 2013
Meetings set on power project June 15, 2013
Bringing the Wind Energy to Indiana April 8, 2013
Grain Belt Express Clean Line Route Planning Continues April 2, 2013
Commission hears power line update April 1, 2013
Clean Line Express April 2013
Transmission proposal raises concerns February 24, 2013
Company details potential transmission routes February 13, 2013
Clean Line Energy officials explain plans for line February 8, 2013
Transmission line could export Kansas wind out of state January 28, 2013
Infinity wind acquires 1.5GW of wind projects January 24, 2013
Businessman advocates wind energy transportation at forum October 2, 2012
Proposed Grain Belt Express wind-power line would reach into Indiana September 7, 2012
Businesses show up to hear about Grain Belt Express August 31, 2012
Wind power lines coming to region August 30, 2012
Clean Line Wants Local Contractors to Build Grain Belt Express August 30, 2012
Meetings Set for Power Transmission Project August 30, 2012
Energy Company Planning Project to Bring Wind Energy to Indiana August 28, 2012
Wind energy business looks to expand in Sullivan August 27, 2012
Kansas power could blow through Valley August 16, 2012
World wind power climbs to new record in 2011 March 14, 2012
Clean Line officials conduct meeting at Lincoln February 29, 2012
New gust of power for wind energy in Kansas February 22, 2012
Power line might go through Missouri December 24, 2011
Clean Line Energy marking a step forward for Grain Belt Express December 13, 2011
Renewable energy transmission line receives key approval December 8, 2011
State agency to weigh plan October 6, 2011
Bringing power to the windless September 23, 2011
Wind offers clean path to growth September 11, 2011
Clean Line wants to tap PJM market September 1, 2011
Officials show favor for project May 25, 2011
Energy project initiates discussion May 9, 2011
Firm touts project's economic impact March 15, 2011
We all know that clean energy transmission is vitally important to our energy future. It brings economic opportunity to rural areas, enables wind development, and improves the reliability of your grid. But to build it properly - to create projects that work best for you and your community - requires your knowledge and participation. That's why we've created this database.
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