On March 20, 2019, the Missouri Public Service Commission granted a certificate of convenience and necessity for the construction of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line, a transmission line that will carry electricity from wind farms in southwestern Kansas to Missouri and points farther east.
The decision marks a victorious culmination to a process that began five years ago when Clean Line Energy Partners of Houston, Texas, first applied to the PSC for permission. The PSC twice refused to approve it, and the case has been through the Missouri Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. A coalition of Missouri landowners doggedly fought the line and will probably appeal again, but after the Missouri Supreme Court decided that the PSC could grant permission, and the Commission unanimously did so, it is unlikely they’ll succeed.
From the beginning in 2014 through now, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center has supported the line on behalf of the Sierra Club Missouri Chapter and the Natural Resources Defense Council, who support wind energy in a state still heavily dominated by coal. Low-priced Kansas wind power is highly sought after by Missouri’s municipal utilities.
The line still needs approval in Illinois. Meanwhile, Clean Line has sold the project’s assets to Chicago-based Invenergy, a larger company with a long track record of successfully building and managing energy infrastructure.