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This Week in the PSC: May 22, 2019

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — No new tariffs or orders were before the Public Service Commission (PSC) during its weekly meeting Wednesday, but the regulatory group did address questions regarding a proposed multi-billion dollar wind energy project.

With Invenergy seeking to acquire the Grain Belt Express Clean Line Project — developing an overhead and direct transmission line delivering wind energy from western Kansas to utilities and consumers throughout Missouri and other states — the PSC solidified its stance that it does have jurisdiction over the case and reaffirmed its belief that the project is in the public’s best interest.

If built, the Grain Belt line would extend through eight Missouri counties. The project contends it would deliver about 4,000 megawatts of renewable power and clean energy to about 1.6 million homes per year and create new jobs — including both permanent and temporary construction work.

Proponents argue it would result in nearly $13 million in savings.

The PSC steadfastly maintained the project is deemed to be “not detrimental” and is in the public’s best interest during its weekly agenda meeting Wednesday. The commission also lauded Invenergy, the sustainable energy developer and operator company, as being financially stable enough to take over the project.

“They have a proven track record,” the commission said.

Additionally, the PSC reaffirmed the project would be considered an electrical operation, thus giving the commission jurisdiction. It also maintained the conditions laid out in the certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for the Grain Belt project should also apply to Invenergy should the acquisition occur.

The PSC approved the CCN in March, noting it will be an “excellent start” for Missouri in developing renewable energy and included protections for landowners’ interests.

“There can be no debate that our energy future will require more diversity in energy resources, particularly renewable resources,” the commission said. “We are witnessing a worldwide, long-term, and comprehensive movement towards renewable energy in general and wind energy specifically.”

Invenergy announced late last year its plan to acquire the project.

“New transmission infrastructure is critical to supporting significant additions of renewable and clean generation sources to the nation’s electricity mix,” the company said in November 2018. “Adding the Grain Belt Express to the more than 400 miles of transmission infrastructure that Invenergy has successfully developed in the United States will provide American homes and businesses with access to some of the lowest-cost renewable energy in this country.”

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