Grain Belt Express Gets Final Approval in Missouri

By Benjamin Cox on October 16, 2023 at 7:45am

Missouri state regulators gave final approval on Thursday to the owners of the Grain Belt Express transmission line to begin construction.

Chicago-based Invenergy has been working for years to get the high-voltage power line built from Kansas to Illinois. The initial plans was to deliver 4,000 megawatts from Kansas to the Indiana border, but after years of haggling, Invenergy upped the wattage and plans to drop off power in both Missouri and Illinois.

Invenergy says the line’s total capacity is expected to equate to roughly four new nuclear power plants. The company plans to construct the line in phases with Kansas and Missouri first. The proposed transmission line will traverse Illinois through Pike, Scott, Greene, Macoupin, Montgomery, Christian, Shelby, Cumberland, and Clark counties.

Clean Line Construction indicates that it will build the line on either lattice-type or tubular steel monopole structures ranging from 110 to 140 feet in height. The Illinois Commerce Commission gave their approval of the project in March of this year and Kansas’ Corporation Commission this summer.

The 800-mile long line is projected by Invenergy to create $4.3 billion in cost savings for Illinois energy consumers over 15 years. It’s also expected to create 1,400 jobs and inject $1.3 billion in economic activity during the line’s construction.

The AP reports Invenergy has had to endure almost 8 years worth of political headwinds, sparking opposition from farmers and landowners because of its ability to use eminent domain on private property if voluntary deals can’t be reached. In a news release Thursday, Invenergy said it had acquired 95% of the easements it needs in Kansas and Missouri.