A proposed route has been established for the hotly debated Grain Belt Express Clean Line in Missouri, but Audrain County is not included in the project.
The final result came after an extensive process meeting with landowners, government agencies, community leaders, and more to determine a route with “minimal impact to land use” as well as natural and cultural resources.
A sketch shows the route running from the Illinois border, through Ralls and Monroe Counties, continuing out to just south of St. Joseph, Mo.
The project officially kicked off in May 2010. A construction goal is 2016-2018 with commercial operation beginning soon after.
The goal is to have an approximate 750-mile overhead, direct current transmission line, delivering wind energy from western Kansas to utilities and customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and states further east.
As trains once carried sources like coal to help with energy needs, the goal of the project is to also help the grid on the East Coast with energy from the Midwest.
The line is expected to deliver up to 3,500 megawatts of low-cost, renewable power to approximately 1.4 million homes per year.
Construction estimates near a $2 billion investment too enable approximately $7 billion in new, renewable projects to be built.
Advocates estimate 5,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs to be created through the project.
An agreement was recently made with Hubbell Power Systems, Inc., of Centralia, along with three other manufacturers who will eventually benefit from this project.
More information on the project can be found at http://www.grainbeltexpresscleanline.com.
Opponents of the project say the line will produce more than 600,000 volts, more than what is used for the Hoover Dam.
They also say it destroys land for miles. Opponents believe the energy can be generated in other ways.
They also say that those pushing the line are seeking eminent domain status.
Advocates say they seek easement agreements which they note to be financially beneficial for the landowners.
Many opponents also say they don’t want the lines cutting through their farms. They also say it will affect livestock and wildlife. Some say the Grain Belt Express Clean Line running through their property will destroy their “wind break” and perhaps force some farmers to move.