Library from Missouri
Last week, several Randolph County landowners told the Moberly Monitor-Index how they felt about Grain Belt Express Clean Line ...The week before, several Monroe County landowners talked about not wanting Clean Line towers on their property, as well. Monroe County commissioners are supporting the wishes of farmers in their county.
The Grain Belt Express (GBE) "Clean Line" is a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line, approximately 750 miles long stretching from western Kansas eastward across Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Electrical current carried through the lines will come from new wind turbine farms in Kansas.
As it had indicated last week, the Marion County Commission on Monday approved sending a letter to the Missouri Public Service Commission and officials with Clean Line LLC that details the commissioners’ withdrawal of support for the high-voltage power line project.
"We have sacrificed everything for this land," said Jennifer Gatrel, 33, who, along with her husband, Jeff, farms a 430-acre cattle ranch in western Missouri. "We don't go on vacation. We don't go out to eat. Everything we have is tied up in this land. The idea that somebody can come in and take it from us is appalling and it goes against what it is to be an American."
When they go shopping for renewable credits, Ameren, KCPL and Empire Electric “buy the cheapest RECs, and those always come from existing facilities,” Wilson explained. “It’s not spurring any new development in California. There is no benefit to Missouri customers.”
Ford and some neighbors along the route of the “Grain Belt Express” from southwest Kansas to Indiana say the project — the first of its kind to cross Missouri — is unnecessary, the folly of billionaires, and will harm property values, impair production and generally destroy their way of life.
The approval depends on the developer, Clean Line Energy, getting approvals from the Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana state utility commissions before starting construction in Kansas. The order also specified that construction must begin within five years, and that Clean Line can’t recover any of its costs from Kansas ratepayers.
In 2012, there were an estimated 34,000 lesser prairie chickens across their grassland range, which includes portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Kansas is home to about half the country's lesser prairie chicken population. This year's survey showed the bird's population has declined by about half, down to an estimated 17,600 total in the five states.
The rebates amounted to just $350,000 in 2010 but surged to $12 million in 2012. The utility is projecting the payout on track to reach $51 million. In a filing with the Missouri Public Service Commission, KCP&L says it wants to suspend the rebates later this year and in the future keep the total payout to no more than $21 million annually.
Renew Missouri and seven other environmental advocacy and green energy groups filed complaints with the Missouri Public Service Commission on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31. The complaints accused Ameren Missouri, Empire District Electric Co. and Kansas City Power & Light of not complying with the standards.
The case revives long-running arguments over how the renewable energy law is implemented. The measure, approved as Proposition C in 2008, requires investor-owned utilities to use renewable energy for a fraction of electricity sales.
The law says the use of renewable energy cannot cause electric rates to rise more than 1 percent from what they would be otherwise. The rate cap provision in the rules was at the heart of the legal battle. The PSC rules require utilities to use a 10-year average when calculating the 1 percent rate impact to allow for higher upfront costs.
After a year of dispute, the Dekalb County Assessor and Wind Capital Group have taken their arguments to the courtroom. The dispute is over assessed tax rates on 97 wind turbines in the Lost Creek Wind Energy project in Dekalb County.
Disappointed with how the 2008 ballot measure turned out, the state's renewable energy industry resolved to fix what it considered broken. The group is setting out to put in place a more aggressive green power mandate -- one that would put Missouri on par with Illinois.
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan says the state's attorney general's office agrees that there is no conflict of interest in her office promoting renewable energy, even though her brother is an investor in a wind-energy production company.
The company is disputing Ms. Ross' assessed property tax value of about $297,000 per wind turbine, an amount she came to when using a formula created by former Wind Capital Group CEO Tom Carnahan. Assessors in several other counties in Northwest Missouri with wind farms have told the News-Press they used the same formula as Holt County, without conflict.
In one northern Oklahoma county, oil and wind don't mix. That's where plans by St. Louisan Tom Carnahan's Wind Capital Group LLC for a large wind farm have run into a roadblock - claims by the Osage Nation that it would interfere with the tribe's rights to tap oil and gas deposits.
Touted as an innovation when it began, Lost Creek wind farm and its owners, Wind Capital Group, have entered into a legal battle with DeKalb County, wanting to pay about half of its assessed property taxes. ..."It's kind of ironic that what was seen to be a kind of good taxpaying asset is almost becoming a liability," State Rep. Glen Klippenstein, R-Maysville, said.
Republicans argue that it’s inappropriate for the Obama campaign to raise money from a donor who has benefited directly from the Recovery Act. Missouri Republican Party executive director Lloyd Smith compared the situation to the Solyndra affair, in which the Obama administration reportedly rushed federal support to a green-energy firm that subsequently collapsed.
With the deck stacked in favor of building, he said, if systems aren't designed to keep costs down, ratepayers will suffer the most. "I'm not opposed to building transmission lines, but right now it's sort of the gold rush," Springe said. "I'd like to see a few more checks and balances, and actually building in the least-cost way for customers."