Clean Line Energy has announced that the first major construction phase of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line from central Kansas to Missouri and points east has been approved. Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott talk with Director of Development for Clean Line Energy, Mark Lawlor.

Mark Lawlor

Press Release from Clean Line Energy Partners

HOUSTON (November 7, 2013) – Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC (Grain Belt Express Clean Line), an affiliate of Clean Line Energy Partners LLC (Clean Line) of Houston, Texas, is pleased to announce that the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) unanimously approved an Order granting a siting permit to Grain Belt Express Clean Line to construct the 370-mile Kansas portion of a new 750-miledirect current transmission line. The line will originate near Dodge City, Kansas and traverse north and east to the Kansas–Missouri border.

The Grain Belt Express Clean Line will deliver low-cost, wind energy from western Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and states farther east that have strong demand for affordable, reliable, clean energy.

“We reached this milestone thanks in large part to the thousands of landowners and community members who provided input in the routing process,” said Michael Skelly, Clean Line President. “We are pleased with the KCC order and grateful to the Commission for their careful consideration of our application and proposed route. This approval takes Kansas a step closer to further harnessing its tremendous wind resource, creating thousands of local jobs, and advancing its leadership in the clean energy economy.”

“The Grain Belt Express Clean Line will allow Kansas to grow its wind industry for the benefit of western Kansas and the entire state,” said Joann Knight, Executive Director of the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation.

Grain Belt Express Clean Line submitted the application and proposed route to the Kansas Corporation Commission in July 2013, after working closely with landowners, local leaders, and state and federal agencies. More than 2,300 Kansans provided routing feedback at 14 Public Open Houses, through letters, and over the phone. Clean Line used this feedback to help refine potential routes and ultimately select one proposed route to file for approval with the KCC. The KCC held four public hearings in August 2013 and collected written comments from the public.

Jim Hays, Conservation Projects Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, Kansas Chapter, stated, “We have reviewed various routing options with Clean Line over the past few years, and in our view, the route selected avoids many key ecological features and will result in fewer impacts to the landscape and natural resources of our state.”

“I appreciate how Clean Line has sought input from landowners throughout this process and voluntarily offered a construction mitigation payment to the counties before construction. This project will have an economic impact to my county and the region,” said Commissioner Mike Cooper of Mitchell County, in north central Kansas.

Johnathan Hladik, Senior Policy Advocate for the Center for Rural Affairs stated, “By offering the option of annual payments in response to landowner requests, Clean Line has taken another step forward in establishing positive, long-term relationships in communities that will host this project.”

Kansas’ wind resource has the potential to generate more than 80 times the state’s electricity needs, but wind development is limited by a lack of transmission. Similar to trains that carry grain harvested in the Midwest to market, the Grain Belt Express Clean Line will move wind energy from the grain belt of the country to markets with a strong demand for low-cost, clean power.

The transmission line and associated wind farms in Kansas will create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of manufacturing and operations jobs in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and the surrounding region. The project will also result in increased property taxes for schools and communities, reduced air pollution and water usage, and consumer benefits by delivering low-cost, clean energy.

Developing a project of this scale is a long-term undertaking, and Clean Line seeks to develop the Grain Belt Express Clean Line in a responsible, transparent manner, with input from thousands of stakeholders.

The $2 billion project is expected to take several years to permit and could begin commercial operation as early as 2018.

To learn more about the Grain Belt Express Clean Line, visit their website.