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IL regulators approve Grain Belt Express power line

IL regulators approve Grain Belt Express power line

1 year, 3 months ago by Scott Hardy

Line would cross into Illinois near New Canton, and cross Pike and Scott Counties

The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved the construction of a controversial high-voltage power line through the state that will cross both Pike and Scott Counties.

The ICC issued its' final ruling Wednesday afternoon, granting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Invenergy of Chicago, to build the Grain Belt Express high-voltage line that will bring wind-generated electricity from Kansas to the East Coast. The line will cross the Mississippi River from Ralls County, Missouri into Pike County near New Salem. It would then cross both Pike and Scott Counties, with the route avoiding both Pittsfield and Milton. It will also cross the Illinois River, before continuing on to the Indiana border. The project had been opposed by several land-owners along the route, who are upset with Grain Belt having eminent domain to build the line. Several ag-related groups, including the Illinois Farm Bureau, formed a coalition to oppose the project. Kansas, Missouri and Indiana have already approved the project. Missouri regulators still need to approve a separate request from Grain Belt to modify a connector line that would supply Missouri, Illinois and other states with more electricity. Grain Belt wants to build a 40-mile line called the "Tiger Connector" through Monroe, Audrain and Calloway Counties, where it would connect to the main grid. The Missouri Public Service Commission recently held three days of hearings on that connector line.

In a statement, Grain Belt said that the line will provide $4.3 billion in expected energy cost savings for Illinois consumers. They also say that the line will provide $1.3 billion in new economic activity in Illinois during construction, 1,400 direct jobs supported during construction and $565 million in supported wages in Illinois. The ICC's full ruling is available below. 

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