MOBERLY, Mo. – The Missouri Public Service Commission approved plans for the state’s involvement in a four-state, wind-powered transmission line project known as the Grain Belt Express.
Plans call for the transmission to run through many communities north of Interstate 70, including around Moberly and St. Joseph.
The Grain Belt Express would carry wind energy from Kansas across Missouri and Illinois before hooking into a power grid in Indiana that serves other states. It would stretch roughly 800 miles.
MAP OF PLANS
Invenergy Transmission, the Chicago-based company attempting to build the Grain Belt Express, last year proposed expanding the high-voltage power line’s capacity after years of setbacks. Grain Belt Express spokespeople say the project should pave the way for lower bills and more reliable energy sources.
“We thank the state leaders in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois who have thoughtfully considered the tremendous benefits of Grain Belt Express,” said Shashank Sane, executive vice president and head of transmission at Invenergy. “Invenergy and our project partners remain focused on responsible and inclusive execution in every facet of development for this historic infrastructure project that will deliver benefits to communities across the American Heartland.”
Under the plan approved Thursday, Grain Belt Express could bring as much as 2,500 megawatts of power to Missouri. Previously, state utility regulators approved a line that would have brought only 500 megawatts of energy to the state.
Various municipal utilities in Missouri have long intended to buy power from the project, but now five times as much electricity will be delivered to the state — rising from 500 to 2,500 megawatts — compared to earlier plans.
“We are more confident than ever that 39 communities across Missouri will be able to receive clean, homegrown energy that will save millions in lower electricity costs each year,” said John Twitty, president and CEO of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, which represents Missouri Hometown Utilities. “Grain Belt Express’s approval in Missouri means families and businesses in these local communities have never been closer to accessing this affordable and reliable power.”
Developers say the project will help unlock $7.5 billion in energy cost savings in Missouri and Illinois.
Grain Belt Express is targeting to begin full construction as soon as the start of 2025, pending federal permitting approvals. Phase 1 of the construction would include parts of Missouri and Kansas.
NOTE: The Associated Press contributed to this report.