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  • Clean Line again seeks Missouri OK for Grain Belt power line
    来源: 发布日期:2016-08-13 22:20:24 发布者: 共阅866次 字体:
    Dealt a narrow, disappointing defeat a year ago, Clean Line Energy Partners is taking another stab at persuading Missouri regulators to approve the final regulatory piece for its proposed $2.2 billion Grain Belt Express Clean Line high-voltage transmission line. 

    And this time, the Houston-based company is armed with high-profile reinforcements as it prepares to re-engage at the Missouri Public Service Commission with opponents of the 600-kV, 780-mile designed to carry 4,000 MW of power from Kansas wind farms east to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and PJM Interconnection footprint. 

    Jay Nixon, Missouris Democratic governor, recently endorsed Grain Belt over the protests of critics such as Jennifer Gatrel, a rancher who raises Black Angus cattle, and her Block Grain Belt Express-Missouri group. 

    Critics are fiercely opposed to the state giving Grain Belt, a privately owned company, the power of eminent domain, if needed. 

    Many of Grain Belts loudest critics are farmers and other food producers who fear the line will pose safety issues for them and their livestock, depress property values and, on a broader, more philosophical scale, change their rural way of life forever. 

    "We have to defeat Grain Belt," Gatrel said in a Friday interview. "We have no choice." 

    In addition to the governor, Clean Line has assembled a "whos who" of major businesses to support the project. They include General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Kelloggs, Target, Unilever and Nestle, which all have manufacturing and retail facilities in Missouri. 

    In a statement, the group of companies said Grain Belt Express "is an opportunity to provide our companies with a link to low-cost renewable energy at a scale that is meaningful." 

    The Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers trade group has also announced its support for the project. 

    "It is very exciting to see this level of support, not only for clean energy, but also for new transmission infrastructure, from large manufacturers and retailers," Clean Line spokeswoman Sarah Bray said in a Friday email. 

    Clean Lines Thursday filing with the PSC of a new application for Grain Belt came about a year after the commission voted 3 to 2 to deny a certificate of need for the project. The line, the majority said at the time, simply is not needed. 

    Clean Line disagrees. The company contends that developments during the past two years since it filed the original application in Missouri have only heightened the projects attractiveness. 

    Despite the Supreme Courts 5 to 4 decision earlier this year to delay implementation of the US Environmental Protection Agencys Clean Power Plan, the company believes some sort of carbon reduction rule is in the US future. 

    Bray also noted that President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, at their Three Amigos summit earlier this week, officially committed to generate half of their nations power from clean energy by 2025. 

    It is unclear when the PSC will issue an order in the new Grain Belt case, commission spokeswoman Debbie Quick said Friday. However, both Bray and Gatrel said it presumably will be sometime in 2017. 

    Kansas, Illinois and Indiana have already approved the transmission line, although opponents have appealed the Illinois Commerce Commissions November 2015 decision to the Illinois Fifth Judicial Appellate Court. 

    Gatrel is confident her group can throw "years of delays" in the path of the line, in the form of both regulatory and legal challenges. 

    "We are never giving up," she said. 

    If Missouri finally approves the project, Clean Line says construction would start sometime in 2018, with Grain Belt completed in 2021.
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