Grain Belt Express


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Stated Purpose:

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 infrastructure that will make possible billions of dollars of investments in new renewable energy projects, which couldn't otherwise be constructed because of limitations in the existing 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.

Line Capacity:

3,500 megawatts

Route Description:

The proposed line will be developed to deliver 3,500 megawatts of renewable energy from western Kansas to southeastern Missour; 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. For Kansas,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.

In Missouri, Clean Line proposed its preferred route in March 2014, with hearings scheduled for August and September.

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.

Regulatory Process:

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. Clean Line filed for public utility status in November of 2012, and was apporved by the Indiana Regulatory Commission.

Clean Line selected a route corridor 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. The 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 early 2014

A bill proposed in the Missouri House (HB 2092) would change the availability of electric utilities in the state to use eminent domain.

In May 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Clean Line's application to sell transmission service to customers. With the approval, Clean Line can sell transmission capacity to potential customers.

Developer:

Clean Line Energy

Community Feedback:

Clean Line will consider stakeholder input to refine and eliminate potential routes and determine one proposed route, as well as alternatives.

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 to 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 communities learn more about the project. These meetings are not required by statute, unlike those held in conjuction with regulators. 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. 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 have also been welcomed by many communities. For others, the project 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 those directly impacted, concerns remain. Many desire 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 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 landowners. The Board of the Missouri Farm Bureau voted to act as an intervener in the project in April 2014, also stating their opposition to the project, noting their concerns over eminent domain usage.

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. Other county commissioners in Missouri have voiced support for the line, based on the compensation that landowners would receive for easements.

A group called CLEANR has 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.

A group called Coal Free Mizzou is collecting signatures for a letter of support that they intend to send to the Missouri Public Service Commission. They hope to collect 1,000 signatures by the end of March, showing the PSC that they value the project for it's potential to start moving Missouri away from coal-generated electricity.

A Missouri real-estate agent notes that according to an article published in the Journal of Real Estate Literature, the presence of transmission lines does not have a significant effect on property values. "The Effects of Electric Transmission Lines on Property Values" examines several different cases ranging from 1964 to 2009, finding that drops ranged from 2-9%, and that values often returned to normal over time.

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. The line would also provide enough energy to Missouri to power 200,000 homes.

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 infrastructure projects. 

News Archive:

Hearing on controversial power line comes to the Tri-States July 11, 2014

Hearing schedule changed for Missouri power line July 8, 2014

Hearings set on Grain Belt July 7, 2014

Perceptions over health issues fuel debate over electric line proposal July 3, 2014

Public Service Commission schedules public hearings on proposed high voltage transmission line June 30, 2014

PSC sets Grain Belt hearings June 29, 2014

Hundreds of landowners attend Grain Belt Express meetings June 17, 2014

Line's health problems brought to light June 6, 2014

Transmission line opponents cite health concerns June 1, 2014

Grain Belt Express project raises questions of health risks May 31, 2014

Clean Line Energy Partners offers upfront payment for easements May 31, 2014

'Block Grain Belt Express Missouri' meeting comes to Center May 29, 2014

Tri-State residents meet to try to stop company from building on their property May 29, 2014

Opposition to Grain Belt Express Clean Line, united and strong May 29, 2014

'Block Grain Belt Express Missouri' meeting comes to Center May 29, 2014

Clean Line prez visits May 22, 2014

Residents question Randolph County official's support of Grain Belt Express project May 16, 2014

Grain Belt Express power line plan stirs opposition May 10, 2014

Grain Belt earns FERC approval May 9, 2014

Commissioners reaffirm their support for Line May 8, 2014

Impact of transmission lines on land prices far less than stated May 6, 2014

Grain Belt Express faces eminent domain challenge May 5, 2014

Transmission line proposed in Missouri causes conflict May 1, 2014

Commissioners speak out on Line April 30, 2014

Farm Bureau opposes eminent domain for Grain Belt Express April 28, 2014

Missouri Farm Bureau opposes eminent domain for Grain Belt Express April 18, 2014

Farm Bureau to oppose Grain Belt Express April 16, 2014

Farm Bureau opposing multi-state transmission line April 16, 2014

Clean Line president defends transmission project April 16, 2014

Missouri Farm Bureau opposes multi-state transmission line for wind power April 16, 2014

Ambiguity surrounding Grain Belt Express fuels opposition, skepticism across Missouri April 16, 2014

Clean Line president defends project April 15, 2014

Lawmakers seek to block transmission lines April 12, 2014

Learning more about the Grain Belt Express Clean Line Project April 8, 2014

Transmission line opponents detail issues April 2, 2014

Clean Line picks proposed path north of Pike County for power line April 1, 2014

Power line skips Boone, Audrain April 1, 2014

Group to protest planned energy network April 1, 2014

Clean Line files for Missouri approval of Grain Belt Express transmission project April 1, 2014

PSC allows power line comments March 28, 2014

Missouri route announced for wind energy transmission line project through 8 counties March 27, 2014

Missouri wind energy transmission line sites selected March 27, 2014

Grain Belt files for transmission route March 26, 2014

Commissioners oppose GBE power line March 25, 2014

Clean Line Energy project loses support March 25, 2014

Powerline progress coming to Centralia March 25, 2014

Marion County Commission withdraws transmission line support March 24, 2014

Commissioners support Grain Belt March 24, 2014

Residents speak out about power line March 24, 2014

Power line opposed by farmers March 19, 2014

Grain Belt Express garners Coal Free Mizzou support March 18, 2014

Wind Power LIne to Move Energy to the East March 17, 2014

Wind Power Line Proposal Irks Some Midwest Farmers March 16, 2014

Clean Line in Clinton County March 14, 2014

Pike County residents worried about proposed power line project March 12, 2014

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

'We're just one big extension cord': Missouri group intends to block transmission line February 21, 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

Clean Line selects suppliers for Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission line project January 31, 2014

Company finds wind energy aplenty January 30, 2014

Concerned farmers gather about Line January 30, 2014

Construction of wind-energy transmission line to create Missouri jobs January 30, 2014

Kansas Wind Generators Provide Feedback On Clean Line Transmission Project January 24, 2014

Transmission and distribution: Grain Belt Express wind RFI receives 13,500 MW response January 24, 2014

Kansas hops on Grain Belt Express January 23, 2014

Transmission lines would send Kansas wind power to eastern U.S. January 13, 2014

Pike County opens dialogue with Grain Belt Express on transmission line project January 9, 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

KCC grants Grain Belt Express siting permit; Permit contingent upon line siting approval in three other states November 7, 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

Commission to send letter to KCC, Wind power transmission line impact discussed September 30, 2013

Is the answer blowing in the wind 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

Report: 38,600 Clean Energy, Transportation Jobs Announced In Q2; New Web Site Tracks Job Growth By State, Sector August 28, 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

Clean Line proposes to run transmission lines through Barton County 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

Company hopes to install powerlines--Open house draws questions from public August 13, 2013

Regulator hears opposition to wind power project August 12, 2013

First public hearing on Grain Belt Express draws large crowd, criticism August 12, 2013

Landowners speak out against proposed Mega-Watt Transmission line August 8, 2013

Public speaks out over power line proposal July 30, 2013

Clean Line wind power project could start in 2015, exec says July 25, 2013

Wind Energy: Hereford Wind Farm Phase One Sold; Transmission Line Expansion in Oklahamoa and Kansas July 25, 2013

Power line developer files application July 25, 2013

Proposed high voltage power line would cross Caldwell County July 24, 2013

Clean Line sets route for high voltage power line July 22, 2013

Middle Route Desired for Grain Belt Express Transmission Line July 20, 2013

Area residents hear wind energy proposal July 19, 2013

Clean Line Energy To Hold Public Hearings in August July 18, 2013

Wind Energy Transmission Company Proposes Route With Kansas Regulators July 18, 2013

Clean Line picks middle route for proposed transmission line July 18, 2013

Another line for Clinton County? July 12, 2013

Clean Line Energy to hold informational open houses about transmission line project July 10, 2013

Clean Line Energy to meet with local businesses Wednesday June 25, 2013

Buchanan County Looks at Future of Energy Transmission Route June 20, 2013

Meetings set on power project June 15, 2013

Farmers, power developer at odds over high-voltage line May 25, 2013

Clean Line Energy will need 5,000 construction jobs for wind power project May 2, 2013

Wind energy plan concerns farmers April 29, 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

New transmission lines funnel wind-generated electricity out of Kansas March 25, 2013

Transmission proposal raises concerns February 24, 2013

Company details potential transmission routes February 13, 2013

Planned high voltage transmission line would cross north central Kansas February 8, 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

Wind energy transmission line could come through West Central Illinois April 24, 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

Clean Line Energy Holds Meeting Seeking Routes for Wind Energy Line June 24, 2011

Grain Belt Express Clean Line Announces a Collaborative Agreement with the Nature Conservancy's Missouri Chapter June 2, 2011

Midwest power transmission project targets Kansas wind May 29, 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

Grain Belt Express Clean Line Files for Utility Status in Kansas March 7, 2011

Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners Announces Transmission Line Plan February 17, 2011

Clean Line Energy and WindPole Ventures Collaborate to Build Kansas Wind Data Network February 1, 2011

Your Thoughts:

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.

Is there a way we can improve? Any changes that will make this a more effective tool for you? Alternatively, do you have more questions about this line? Would you like to receive our email updates? Send us a message at johnathanh@cfra.org and let us know.

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