- Transmission developer Clean Line Energy Partners (CLEP) has proposed a route for its Grain Belt Express line to transport wind energy from the high plains, the Jacksonville Journal-Courier reports.
- CLEP filed a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity application with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) for the line. The proposal includes a map of the route the line would take across Missouri, Illinois and Indiana to deliver Kansas wind to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and the PJM Interconnection.
- The ICC will study the proposal and route, which were developed in 27 public meetings over 3 years. It will weigh the benefits and costs of the proposed transmission line before deciding within 6 to 8 months whether to issue a certificate that would give the project status as a public utility and allow developers to obtain necessary rights-of-way.
The $2 billion, 750 mile, HVDC Grain Belt Express would move 3,500 MW of Kansas wind-sourced electricity eastward. A 500 MW portion would be delivered to a station in Missouri. Missouri regulators are currently deliberating approval of a certificate there. The line already has approval from Kansas and Indiana.
Delivery of low priced Kansas wind would decrease Illinois wholesale electricity prices by an estimated $750 million during the line’s first five years, according to CLEP. If approved by the ICC, construction could start by 2017 and service could begin by 2019. The advocacy group Block Grain Belt Express represents landowners who oppose the project.
The estimated price of wind-generated electricity from Kansas delivered to PJM or to the MISO is estimated at $0.045 per kilowatt-hour or less, including electricity and transmission fees. That is competitive with the projected $0.057 per kilowatt-hour electricity price in those markets, according to CLEP CEO Michael Skelley.
CLEP has “no customers on either end,” according to Block GBE, and “expects the wind companies to bear all the risk.” Block GBE also argues CLEP only wants utility status to exercise eminent domain and obtain rights-of-way from uncooperative landowners.