- Three of the five Missouri Public Service Commissioners have indicated they will vote against the Clean Line Energy Partners (CLEP) application to build its Grain Belt Express transmission system. The line would deliver Kansas wind-sourced electricity to Missouri, Indiana and points east through the PJM Interconnection or the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).
- The $2 billion, 750 mile, HVDC system that would move 4,000 MW of Kansas-generated electricity eastward. A 500 megawatt portion would be delivered to a station in Missouri. The line has approval from Kansas and Indiana but has not been ruled on by Missouri or Illinois regulators.
- If the Missouri commission does not grant utility status to the project’s builders, they could not exercise eminent domain authority against irresolvable opposition, CLEP will ask DOE for the same federal eminent domain authority it is already pursuing for Arkansas after that state's regulators ruled against it.
A Missouri Public Service Commission staff report found that while CLEP demonstrated abilities to finance and build the project, it had not “established the need.” That is the basis of the opposing commissioners' decision.
The need is economic, according to CLEP CEO Michael Skelley. The estimated price of wind-generated electricity from Kansas delivered to PJM or to the MISO is estimated at $0.045 per kWh or less, including the cost of the electricity and transmission fees. That is expected to be competitive with the projected $0.057 per kWh electricity price in those markets and bring big economic returns to Missouri.
Because the line would cross 724 tracts of Missouri land, hundreds of landowner-members of the Block Grain Belt Express group celebrated the PSC announcement.
Grain Belt Express “does not merit certification” because neither its purpose nor its potential benefits to Missourians “justify the authorization to exercise eminent domain power,” asserted the Missouri Farm Bureau.