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Missouri PSC approves Grain Belt Express project [free access]

March 22, 2019

The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the high voltage direct current (HVDC) Grain Belt Express project being proposed by Clean Line Energy Partners LLC (CLE), after rejecting it twice.


The project entails developing a 750-mile (1,207-km), ±600 kV HVDC transmission line from Ford County, Kansas, to south of St Louis, Missouri. It may also pass through Reno County. The USD2 billion project is based on a participant-funded, merchant model. Its construction will be paid for by the renewable energy generators and load-serving entities that purchase transmission capacity on the line. The proposed project will deliver 3,500 MW of wind energy from western Kansas to utilities and customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and states farther east, and facilitate about USD7 billion in investments in renewable energy projects in Kansas. 


For quite some time, the project had been facing serious trouble in Missouri and was rejected twice by the State PSC. However, during July 2018, Missouri Supreme Court voted against the PSC’s last rejection in August 2017, stating that the regulators erred in their judgements. Missouri PSC then hosted various hearings for the project, and finally approved it. With this, the project has now received approvals from three states – Missouri, Kansas and Indiana.


Though approval has been granted for the project by the state of Illinois as well, it is still facing several regulatory issues there, after Illinois Court of Appeals reversed the Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC) approval for the project in March 2018.


Recently, in February 2019, Invenergy LLC filed an application with the Missouri PSC for the acquisition of the Grain Belt Express project from CLE. Both the companies are also seeking approval from Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) for the same.