New high voltage line would electrify three states

      A new line of energy could be on its way to the Midwest.

      Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois

      is seeking to build a 330-mile high voltage transmission wire across Illinois.

      The Illinois Rivers Project

      will be the first of its Grand Rivers projects to bring more reliability to power lines and incorporate renewable energy sources.

      The line will help Ameren Corporation reach its requirement of providing 25-percent renewable energy by 2025, by bringing in wind-generated energy that can be transmitted from state to state.

      Monday in Jacksonville, a community group heard details of the line that will stretch from Marion County, Missouri to Vigo and Sullivan Counties in Indiana. By law, it is required that Ameren host public forums in each of the affected counties. This meeting allowed people who live near the potential line sites to ask questions and voice their concerns.

      "We have to be very careful of a lot of things. We have to be conscious of wetlands. We have to be conscious of archaeological sites. We have to be conscious of endangered species. We have to be conscious of landowners and what they would like to see." said Peggy Ladd, Ameren's manager for transmission business development.

      Ladd says she owns farmland herself, and would hate to have her land cut in two. Ameren will introduce proposed routes along with several alternative routes. Ultimately, though Ameren believes the line will be minimally invasive, private property could conflict with the company's plans.

      The project will use resources from the areas the line will cross. Ladd says Ameren will use local contractors and supplies for the actual building and will hire additional project managers to oversee operations.

      "There are a lot of construction jobs that come out of this project. We estimate about a billion dollars plus or minus 200 million," Ladd said.

      Ameren estimates that for every dollar spent on additional transmission costs through the three-state power line, there will be a $1.80 to $2.80 of savings. At the end of this project in 2019, the total cost to each Ameren customer would be about 50 cents per month, but the savings of the new system would be 2 to 3 times that amount.

      The project has been approved by the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) and Ameren wants to file a petition for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity by November 2012. The earliest construction will begin is 2015, and the earliest lines will be usable is 2016.

      Quincy residents are welcome to come to the May 23 public open house from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Quincy City Center Hotel.

      Here is a full list of Open Houses in the Tri-State area:

      May 14, 2012

      11:00 a.m. â?? 2:00 p.m.

      Hamiltonâ??s Catering Service, Inc.

      101 Main Street

      Franklin, IL 62638

      5:00 â?? 8:00 p.m.

      American Legion

      136 E State St

      Waverly, IL 62692

      May 17, 2012

      11:00 a.m. â?? 2:00 p.m.

      Elks Club

      205 East Second Street

      Beardstown, IL 62618

      5:00 â?? 8:00 p.m.

      Meredosia-Chambersburg High School

      830 Main Street

      Meredosia, IL 62665

      May 18, 2012

      11:00 a.m. â?? 2:00 p.m.

      American Legion

      E Oakes St

      Bluffs, IL 62621

      May 21, 2012

      11:00 a.m. â?? 2:00 p.m.


      Route 99 South

      Mt. Sterling, IL 62353

      5:00 â?? 8:00 p.m.

      American Legion

      706 W Lincoln

      Griggsville, IL 62340

      May 22, 2012

      11:00 a.m. â?? 2:00 p.m.

      American Legion

      270 E Main St

      Ipava, IL 61441

      5:00 â?? 8:00 p.m.

      Schuyler Industry Middle School

      750 North Congress Street

      Rushville, IL 62681

      May 23, 2012

      11:00 a.m. â?? 2:00 p.m.

      Quincy City Center Hotel

      201 South Third Street

      Quincy, IL 62301

      5:00 â?? 8:00 p.m.

      Community Building

      205 East First

      Bath, IL 62617