Grain Belt earns FERC approval

Source: St. Joseph News Press

Grain Belt Express has obtained regulatory approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to sell transmission service to customers at negotiated rates.

The project involves construction of a 750-mile overhead direct transmission line that seeks to connect wind energy from western Kansas with utilities and customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and eastern states. Officials with Clean Line Energy Partners said it is designed to deliver up to 3,500 megawatts of electricity and provide enough energy per year from more than 1.4 million homes.

The FERC order was issued in response to an application Clean Line filed in November. The decision will allow the company to sell transmission capacity to potential customers, including utilities, other load-serving entities, or clean energy generators.

Additionally, Clean Line was granted authority to negotiate bilateral agreements for 100 percent of the line’s capacity. Generator interconnection to Grain Belt will be subject to requirements of the open access transmission tariff.

Clean Line has become a public utility in Kansas and received approval from the state’s utility commission for a siting permit in November. The Houston-based company is seeking the same status in applications now on file with the Missouri Public Service Commission.

Based on current estimates, the project is expected to achieve commercial operation as early as 2018. Grass-roots opposition has formed in an effort to halt the project.

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