The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) on Nov. 12 approved an order granting Clean Line Energy a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for the Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission project, which would connect Kansas wind resources with Midwest load centers.
“The ICC approval brings the Grain Belt Express Clean Line one step closer to dramatically increasing the low-cost wind energy available to customers in Missouri and Illinois,” Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy, said in a statement. “We appreciate the ICC’s careful review of our application and are encouraged by Illinois’ recognition of the public benefits brought forth by this critical infrastructure project.”
Clean Line said it will now focus on advancing the 750-mile, $2.2bn HVDC project in Missouri, which is the final state from which the company needs approval.
While regulators in Kansas and Indiana previously approved the project, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) in July denied Clean Line’s application for a CPCN. The PSC subsequently denied Clean Line’s request for rehearing of the July order.
The ICC, in its Nov. 12 order, directed Clean Line to obtain the funds necessary to cover all project costs before construction on the project begins. Clean Line also must obtain ICC approval prior to recovering project costs from Illinois ratepayers.
Clean Line said that the transmission line route approved by the ICC would travel through the Illinois counties of Clark, Pike, Scott, Greene, Macoupin, Montgomery, Christian, Shelby and Cumberland. Clark County will also host the converter station that will convert power from the bulk power system to feed into the local electricity grids.
Lead image: High voltage lines and power pylons. Credit: Shutterstock.