The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) decided it is unable to grant approval of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission line.
The ruling precludes new linear infrastructure projects from being approved by the PSC without first securing road crossing permission from each county they traverse.
The project developers said Missouri will lose more than $200 million in energy savings due to regulators denying project approval.
At the meeting, PSC Chairman Daniel Hall stated, “Based on the evidence presented in this case, there was demand for this power in Missouri. A certain number of Missouri cities had signed up for up to 100 MW of the 500 MW, and there was evidence presented that those ratepayers in those cities were going to see significant savings to their electric bills if this line was allowed to proceed. There is substantial evidence in the record that the wind energy crossing this transmission line was going to be the lowest cost resource available. To me, this project would facilitate that worldwide trend that we’re seeing in renewables, in this region and in Missouri, and for that reason it was in the public interest to approve the line. Unfortunately, because of the structure of this Commission and the legal structure in this state we were unable to act in the public interest.”
“As the PSC noted today, the Grain Belt Express Clean Line would provide substantial public benefit to Missourians by providing low-cost clean energy, new jobs, and revenues to communities across the state,” stated Michael Skelly, President of Clean Line Energy. “The PSC’s decision to deny approval of the project, despite the clear public benefits, sends a clear message that investors contemplating new infrastructure projects should not come to Missouri. Today’s ruling is inconsistent with good government and sound public policy and it is our hope that moving forward Missouri will work to remove barriers to building new critical infrastructure projects.”
Missouri’s Department of Economic Development estimated the project would create more than 1,500 jobs in the state. Grain Belt Express identified Missouri manufacturers and small businesses who are capable of construction, transportation, providing fuel, equipment and more.
“We are disappointed in the Commission’s decision, particularly with respect to the jobs that would be created for Missourians during the construction of the project. PAR Electrical Contractors was selected to construct the line, which would create opportunity for more than 600 Missouri based PAR employees,” said Steve Adams, President of PAR Electrical Contractors, Inc. “The United States has some of the best wind resources in the world, and electric transmission projects like Grain Belt Express play a critical role in delivering clean energy and economic benefits to Missouri and the rest of the country.”
Grain Belt Express has a contract with more than three dozen Missouri cities to provide access to new low-cost energy, estimated to save Missourians over $10 million annually.