Monday, July 06, 2015

Missouri denies 'Grain Belt Express' idea for wind power

On Wednesday, the Missouri Public Service Commission rejected a Texas company's plan for a 780-mile transmission line designed to bring wind power from the Kansas high plains to Missouri eastern power grids, Donald Bradley reports for The Kansas City Star.

Backers, including environmentalists, had supported the project in the battle for renewable energy against coal-fired power plants. The idea was also supposed to create jobs and give low-cost electricity to consumers, including 200,000 Missouri homes. However, even though "U.S. energy policy calls for increased wind power, it doesn't include a federal right of way to get those power lines past Missouri farmers who didn't want it coming across their land," Bradley writes.

The Public Service Commission's order said that "actual benefits to the general public from the project are outweighed by the burdens on affected landowners." Clean Line Energy officials said the power line would not only bring low-cost renewable energy to the state but also generate $6.4 million in property taxes that could be used for schools, roads, hospitals and emergency services. The company could take the conflict to court or ask for federal intervention with the U.S. Department of Energy.

"The fact that the proposed route avoided cities and towns and made farmers feel like they were viewed as easy pickings," Bradley writes. Farmers are concerned about what 150-foot towers with high voltage cables would look like stringing across fields and pastures.

"We will always have opposition," Mark Lawlor, the project's development director, said. "But people opposed to this now turned on their lights this morning, and that power came across somebody's land." Opponents say the wind farm should be built off the Atlantic coast—which would be very expensive—or underground—which wouldn't be safe for such high voltage.

1 comment:

Landowner 77 said...

Clean Line Energy Partners is the company behind the Grain Belt Express. They have never built or maintained a power line. They are a private, for-profit company. They only have asked for access over private land, using no existing right-of-ways. According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission they CANNOT say what kind of electricity will be on their line. Besides they have no customers developing wind farms.
Our best wind resources are located offshore but the DoE already tried that and the people there didn't want turbines in their views.Therefore we have NO offshore wind turbines in the US. Landowners have not, will not sign easements for this line. Many lawmakers are also trying to impede CLEP so CLEP's VP is lobbying in DC for federal eminent domain rights.
This line takes a whopping 145-200' easement. Think about it. They will tear up land, habitat and trees for hundreds and hundreds of miles to get the very same power that is in the backyard of the communities that supposedly "need" it.