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Grain Belt Express Transmission Line approved by ICC

Grain Belt Express Transmission Line approved

On Thursday, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC's application to construct, operate, and maintain the high voltage electric transmission line.

The transmission line will be a 600 kV, 4,000 MW capacity.

The line would begin in Kansas and tap into a power grid in Indiana.

The line would be 780 miles long with approximately 206.3 miles of it being in Illinois.

The line is expected to run across the Mississippi River just south of Quincy, Illinois, from Palmyra, Missouri, to the Illinois/Indiana line and across the Wabash River to Sullivan, Indiana.

The line would traverse Illinois through the following counties: Pike, Scott, Greene, Macoupin, Montgomery, Christian, Shelby, Cumberland, and Clark.

This project will provide direct access for high capacity wind generation to the electricity markets in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and PJM Regional Transmission Organization regions, which both serve Illinois.

The project will be capable of delivering up to 500 MW of power from renewable energy projects (approximately 2.6 million MWh per year) into the MISO grid and up to 3,500 MW of carbon-free electricity (approximately 18 million MWh per year) into the PJM grid.

The ICC is ordering that Grain Belt Clean Line secure funds to cover total project costs before construction commences, prohibits project expansion without Commission approval, and requires further Commission approval prior to recovery of any project costs from Illinois retail ratepayers through regional cost allocation.

The Commission also directed Grain Belt Clean Line to take specific actions to address landowner concerns that included potential impacts from the construction of the line on irrigation operations, soil compaction and erosion, wetland areas, and timber land.

The vote was 3-2, with Chairman Brien Sheahan and Commissioners Sherina Maye Edwards and John Rosales voting in favor of the line and Commissioners Ann McCabe and Miguel del Valle opposing it.

Grain Belt's development schedule calls for construction to begin in 2017 with completion and electricity transmission expected in 2019.

All documents related to the case, including the Commission's Final Order, can be viewed under docket number 15-0277 via the ICC's e-docket system at www.icc.illinois.gov.

For more information on Clean Line Energy and Grain Belt Express, click here.

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