Hearing kicks off Monday for Grain Belt Express Clean Line

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JEFFERSON CITY - Lawyers for the Grain Belt Express Clean Line and those representing landowners and other firms met in Jefferson City Monday in front of the Missouri Public Service Commission to express their views on the proposal. 

The project is a high-voltage, direct current transmission line (HVDC Line) stretching from western Kansas, across Missouri and Illinois and finally ending in Indiana. Supporters of the Grain Belt Express project said it will deliver clean energy that will all start with a wind farm in Kansas. 

In Missouri, the stretch of power lines would enter the state near St. Joseph, run just south of Moberly, and finally exit the state through Ralls County. It would stretch 206 miles and provide energy for all four states.

Grain Belt is looking for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) which would allow it to buy land from landowners for the value of the land. To convince the public service commission, lawyers need to prove five things:

  1. There must be a need for the service the applicant (Grain Belt) proposes to provide.
  2. The proposed service must be in the public interest.
  3. Grain Belt's proposal must be economically feasible.
  4. Grain Belt must have the financial ability to provide the service.
  5. Grain Belt must be qualified to provide the proposal.
Opposition is coming from landowners, saying that this is not in the public's interest and could be accomplished in a less invasive way.The Missouri Landowners Alliance statement said: "If the Commission determines that the Missouri's RES (Renewable Energy Standard) requirements can be met equally as well or better through less invasive means, it need go no further."
Hearings will continue on Nov. 12-14 and Nov. 21. If the commission needs more time, members have set aside Dec. 2 and 3 as dates they could hear additional testimony.
A decision is not expected until the beginning of next year. Grain Belt has received permission from Indiana and Kansas, and Missouri is third on the list.