Articles filed under Transmission from Missouri
Missouri utility regulators on Wednesday unanimously approved Chicago-based Invenergy’s acquisition of the Grain Belt Express transmission line.
A Senate committee advanced a House eminent domain bill — which would be greatly detrimental to the Grain Belt Clean Line project — Monday afternoon.
H.B. 1062 specifically targets the Grain Belt Express, a $2.5 billion direct-current transmission line that would reach from southwest Kansas to the PJM Interconnection LLC grid in Indiana. The line would have 4,000 megawatts of capacity, with 3,500 MW going to PJM and 500 MW to Missouri, part of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s (MISO) grid.
The Missouri House passed legislation Thursday that could effectively block one of the nation’s largest wind energy projects by prohibiting its developers from using eminent domain to run a high-voltage power line across the Midwest.
“In light of the recent PSC decision on the Grain Belt Express, the General Assembly will act to protect Missourians from private companies trying to seize their land through eminent domain. The legislation the House is moving forward is vital for many Missourians who otherwise would be forced to allow unreasonable restrictions on their family farms, damaging the value of their land and taking away their private property rights,” Haahr wrote in an official statement this week.
“We’re asking our Missouri farmers and rural areas to give up their land and their rights so that people further east can save on their energy bills? I don’t think that’s good for Missourians,” said Republican Rep. Dean Plocher, the chairman of the committee that advanced the eminent domain legislation. ...At a legislative hearing this week, Marilyn O’Bannon vowed that she and her relatives never would agree to provide easements for the transmission line to pass through about 5 miles of her family’s farmland near Madison.
More than 1,000 wind turbines and associated industries could spring up in western Kansas as a result of the Grain Belt Express. After years of setbacks, the project gained Missouri utility regulators’ approval late last month to proceed.
“We remain committed to defending property rights,” said Jennifer Gatrel, a spokeswoman for Block Grain Belt Express. Gatrel said there’s strong local government opposition to the project along the planned route and she believes many of the eight county commissions will refuse to sign off on needed assents allowing construction.
Opposition in Missouri has been fierce as landowners along the proposed route have organized and fought regulatory approvals needed by Grain Belt to bypass landowners. Jennifer Gatrel, a spokeswoman for the landowners’ group, said though Tuesday’s ruling is a setback, her members believe they will ultimately be successful in their fight against the Grain Belt project.
Paul Agathen, a lawyer who is spending his retirement representing the opponents without charge, disputed the characterization that the ruling leaves counties with little or no discretion. More litigation may be needed to determine where the line lies, he said.
A long-stalled proposal for a multi-state electric transmission line was thrown a lifeline Tuesday, when the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state regulators erred in rejecting the project based on a controversial legal precedent.
The $2.3 billion project would carry power harnessed from the wind-whipped plains of western Kansas on a 780-mile (1,255 kilometer) trek across Missouri and Illinois before hooking into an electric grid in Indiana that serves the eastern U.S.
It's one of the longest transmission lines proposed in the U.S. But it was rejected last year by Missouri utility commissioners whom Nixon appointed. The state Public Service Commission cited a state appeals court ruling in a separate case that determined a utility first must get approval from local governments to string power lines across roads before the state regulatory commission can grant permission.
Ex-Missouri governor urges court to allow wind-energy line
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.
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.
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.
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.