Library from Missouri
Missouri is no longer the lone holdout to approve a high-voltage transmission project scheduled to span four states, bringing wind energy from western Kansas through Northeast Missouri further east.
Grain Belt Express may move forward, but the U.S. onshore wind industry still needs lots of new transmission. A contested 780-mile Midwestern transmission line for wind, the Grain Belt Express Clean Line, may have another chance at life. A Missouri judge ruled recently that the state’s utility commission “erred” in denying the project, putting a final decision in the hands of the state Supreme Court.
With the proposed multi-state wind energy transmission line, Grain Belt Express, held up over controversial interpretations of Missouri law, prospective developers of the project have pushed for the case to go before the state Supreme Court.
The process of laying groundwork for development of a new wind energy project in northern Nodaway County continued Friday as representatives from Tenaska Inc., an Omaha, Nebraska-based independent power producer, met with the Nodaway County Commission in an effort to iron out road and infrastructure issues associated with turbine installation.
Experts say that building wind farms is the easy part. Far bigger complications arise when it comes to building transmission to distribute the energy produced — challenges that are on full display in Missouri.
Natelle Dietrich, PSC staff director, said in testimony filed Wednesday that Empire's customers will see little of the savings Empire has said the plan will generate in the first 10 years "while the equity partners achieve their anticipated returns, and after 10 years, the expected savings for customers are extremely uncertain."
A Missouri Courts of Appeals is being asked to find a peer court’s decision involving an electric line project erroneous that subsequently was used to deny necessary permits for an even more controversial electric project — the Grain Belt Express.
Empire's filing requests permission for a $1.5 billion project to construct wind turbines in Southwest Missouri and eventually close its Asbury power plant. The company plans to pursue an equity partnership that would take advantage of $800 million in federal tax incentives for the project, making Empire's total investment $700 million, according to its announcement.
In issuing the order, commission members said in part that the company had failed to prove that it had first obtained all necessary consent from counties along the project’s proposed route for road crossings. The PSC cited a Missouri Western District Court of Appeals decision in a separate, but recent, case pertaining to a proposed transmission line in northeast Missouri with regard to obtaining county-level permission.
Most members of Missouri’s regulatory panel said they, too, wanted to approve the high-profile project but felt compelled to vote against it because of a recent state appeals court ruling. The judges in that case said utilities must first get the consent of counties to string a power line across roads before state approval can be granted.
“We need to go back to a decision by the Western District (Court of Appeals),” PSC chairman Daniel Hall said. “This commission cannot certify a transmission line without assents from those counties the line traverses.”
A large number of people were present at the Kingston Courthouse on Thursday evening to voice their opinions on the subject of wind turbines in Caldwell County. Caldwell County currently has a moratorium on any applications on wind turbines until the first part of December.
The growth of wind farming in Missouri creates green energy and less dependence on out-of-state- coal. But the impacts of turbines and transmission lines may also spark neighbor-to-neighbor, farmer-to-government, and rural-to-urban tensions.
The world’s biggest wind-turbine company has filed lawsuits against five rural governments because they stand between it and millions in tax subsidies.
In a stunning win for Marion County landowners, the Missouri Court of Appeals vacated a Missouri Public Commission decision to grant necessary certificates to an Illinois company seeking to erect an electricity line through the western part of the county. ...The Court of Appeals interpreted existing state statute to mean that potential power projects much first receive assent from counties before a CCN may be granted (§ 229.0100). In this case, the PSC granted the CCN first.
Tenaska has just begun the process of contacting landowners with regard to “initial cooperation agreements that would allow us to continue to evaluate the feasibility of this project.”
While the Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) Board recently approved a draft power purchase agreement for wind energy, should the Clean Line Energy project ever receive the approval of the Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC), that hasn't stopped opponents from asking the city to reject a final contract.
The withdrawal of support has been filed with the Missouri Public Service Commission, said Presiding Commissioner John Truesdell. That means Randolph County has become the sixth of the eight counties that the wind power transmission line would pass through to withdraw support.
The turbines were controversial from the get-go. Farmers who allowed them on their land welcomed the extra cash. They are paid about $8,500 a year for each turbine. ...However, others felt the turbines destroyed the beauty and peacefulness of the area. "We're tried to stay out of it," said Perkins' wife Monica. "It is their property to do whatever they want, but when it starts affecting everyone around them... I don't think that's right."
Glenn Dyer is a 73-year-old former Marine colonel with parted white hair and a soft, slow, deliberate way of speaking. He is grandfatherly. In 2010, he retired from a position with the Department of Defense in San Diego and moved, with his wife, Leslie, onto 160 acres of land that has been farmed continuously by members of Dyer’s family since 1888. The property lies in Dekalb County, about an hour and 15 minutes north of downtown Kansas City. To get there, you take I-29 North to St. Joseph, hang a right, take U.S. Route 36 east 20 miles, and wend your way north. Eventually, you arrive at a gravel road in some nether region between the towns of Amity and Stewartsville. Follow the gravel road a mile, and there’s Dyer on his porch, waving you in.