By a 4-1 vote, the Missouri Public Service Commission approved the plan of the company behind the construction of the Grain Belt Express to expand the capacity of the high-voltage of the power lines. Invenergy Transmission’s plan would bring 2,500 megawatts of power to the state. The capacity is 5 times as high as the 500 megawatts approved in the initial plan. For that capacity increase, a 40-mile Tiger Connector line is necessary to be constructed. Invenergy asked for an amendment to the original plan instead of a new transmission line project. A new transmission line project would have to take into account new higher land prices for farmers.
The project would stretch a total of 800 miles from Kansas to Indiana which would essentially follow a route on Missouri which roughly follows Highway 36.
Invenergy says the new investment would jump to $7 billion and would also translate to $7.5 billion in cost savings for Missouri and Illinois customers.
Landowners opposing the project fought initially from a property rights angle and said eminent domain should not be used for a private company’s project. Other opposition said the initial project would not provide much service to Missouri residents.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins says the PSC is putting faith in a company with a track record of failing to do the right thing, saying it’s wrong that landowners along the proposed routes are forced to sell their land at a time, and to a buyer, that is not their choice, and are left with a line they do not want.