Grain Belt Express developers submit plans to Illinois

Source: By Jacob Barker, ST. Louis Post Dispatch • Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners has been working for years on several large electricity transmission projects, including the 780-mile Grain Belt Express line. Clean Line aims to cash in on wind energy generation in the Great Plains by building the infrastructure to wire it to population centers further east.

 Regulators in Kansas and Indiana have approved Grain Belt’s path, and the Missouri Public Service Commission could rule within months on the transmission project’s route through the Show-Me State. The Illinois Commerce Commission last year approved another Clean Line Project that crossed from Iowa to Illinois.

Many farmers and landowners along the route oppose the project. Clean Line could win the right to use eminent domain for the project, and some question why a transmission company that isn’t a regulated utility should be granted that power.

Renewable energy advocates, however, support Clean Line’s projects because of their potential to spur still more wind development in Kansas and other windy states.

Clean Line hopes to complete the project by 2019.