$2B wind power transmission project promises 5,000 construction jobs

Source: Paul Koepp, Reporter- Kansas City Business Journal • Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013

Wanted: Kansas and Missouri businesses to help build a $2 billion wind power transmission line.

The project is expected to create 5,000 construction jobs when work begins in 2016 and 500 operational jobs after it starts operation in 2018.

Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, the Houston-based company developing the Grain Belt Express Clean Line to export more than 3,500 megawatts of wind energy from Western Kansas, will hold open houses in Missouri in the summer to look for construction partners.

Clean Line updated the Missouri Public Service Commission on Wednesday on its progress in obtaining approvals for the project. It has public utility status in Kansas and will make a similar filing in Missouri this summer. Meanwhile, it will unveil its proposed route in Kansas this summer and hold public meetings to plan out a path in Missouri.

Clean Line spokesman Mark Lawlor said the route will be closer to St. Joseph than to the Kansas City metro area. The long-haul direct current line will have a much narrower footprint than typical alternating current lines. It will start near Dodge City and run mostly northeast toward St. Joseph.

Clean Line is looking to capitalize on demand for wind energy, the cheapest renewable resource. Wind prices dropped 51 percent from 2009 to 2011.