In a 5-0 vote, the Commission determined that allowing Invenergy to acquire Grain Belt is not detrimental to the public interest. It had initially approved the project in March.
“Invenergy acquiring Grain Belt benefits the Grain Belt Express Project, which benefits the State of Missouri and the public interest,” said the Commission. “The acquisition will expedite and promote the continued development of the Grain Belt Express Project, which will deliver low-cost wind energy to Missouri wholesale customers, who will, in turn, provide that lower-cost energy to their retail customers.”
The Commission noted in its decision that the Grain Belt Express Project will benefit the State of Missouri.
Expected benefits to the state include:
• An estimated 1,500 jobs during the three to four years of construction;
• A continuing source of property tax revenues to the political subdivisions where the facilities are located;
• A participant-funded model, such that Grain Belt Express assumes all financial risk of building and operating the transmission line, with no costs anticipated to be recovered through the rates of regional transmission organizations;
• An estimated $9.5 to $11 million in annual savings for customers of the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission, which will receive up to 250 MW of capacity from the project through an existing Transmission Services Agreement;
• Additional access to high-capacity-factor Kansas wind resources to fulfill the growing demand for renewable energy in Missouri.
The Commission approved the acquisition subject to the same protections for landowners through the landowner protocol, and other conditions imposed on Grain Belt in a March 20, 2019 Commission decision which granted Grain Belt a certificate of convenience and necessity to construct, own, operate, control, manage, and maintain a high-voltage, direct-current transmission line and associated facilities within eight Missouri counties (Buchanan, Clinton, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Randolph, Monroe, and Ralls).
“Grain Belt did not object to those protections and conditions in that case, and Invenergy does not object to them in this case,” said the Commission. The Commission said it was appropriate to transfer those protections and conditions to Invenergy.