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Invenergy Receives Final Approval From Missouri for Its $7 Billion Grain Belt Express Project

Oct. 17, 2023
The decision marks the last required state siting approval for significant enhancements to the project and provides the necessary certainty about power delivery to support ongoing and upcoming commercial contracting efforts.

The $7 billion, 800-mile Grain Belt Express electric transmission infrastructure project has secured approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission (MPSC) for its request to amend its existing Certificate of Convenience and Necessity. The decision marks the last required state siting approval for significant enhancements to the project and provides the necessary certainty about power delivery to support ongoing and upcoming commercial contracting efforts.

According to Invenergy, the decision provides certainty of power delivery, billions of dollars in additional energy savings, and increased reliability for major grid regions that serve Missouri. Across the route states of Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, Grain Belt Express will deliver over $11 billion in energy cost savings over 15 years and enhance reliability for millions of homes and businesses in the Midwest and other regions, Invenergy said.

Approvals secured this year from state regulatory commissions authorize Grain Belt Express to be financed and constructed in two phases, which will enable delivery of energy savings and reliability benefits sooner. Grain Belt Express has now acquired 95% of easements for the Phase 1 main line, between southwest Kansas and northeast Missouri.

In response to strong regional demand for access to affordable, reliable power and state officials’ calls for more power to be delivered locally, Invenergy Transmission increased the line’s capacity to 5,000 MW, with 2,500 MW flowing to the line’s mid-point delivery location in Missouri—a fivefold increase in local delivery compared to the earlier project design. The full delivery capacity of the line is equivalent to roughly four new nuclear power plants to meet regional energy supply and reliability needs.

The MPSC’s order stated: “There can be no debate that our energy future will require more diversity in energy resources, particularly renewable resources. We are witnessing a worldwide, long-term and comprehensive movement toward renewable energy. The energy on the Project provides great promise as a source for affordable, reliable, safe, and environmentally-friendly energy that will increase resiliency of the grid. The Project will facilitate this movement in Missouri, will thereby benefit Missouri citizens, and is, with the conditions set out below, in the public interest.”

Also this week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) acknowledged a request by Grain Belt Express to initiate a new open solicitation process to contract power delivery on Phase 1 of the line. As a merchant transmission project, Grain Belt Express enters into voluntary contracts for power delivery. The process, which could start as early as this year, would be supported by an independent consultant to assist in evaluating bids. In Missouri, 39 communities are already contracted for power delivery from the line from a prior open solicitation.

“Now that Grain Belt Express has received every state approval needed to construct the first phase and 95% of the main line easements are already acquired, 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. We are excited to see construction begin.”

Invenergy claims that Grain Belt Express and the new generation that will interconnect to the line will create 22,300 direct construction jobs while injecting millions of dollars in new local revenue into communities all along the line route. By connecting grid regions that serve 40% of U.S. households and over 25% of Department of Defense installations, Grain Belt Express can be a regional reliability backbone and strengthen national security.

Grain Belt Express milestones that have taken place in the last year in addition to Missouri’s approval, the open solicitation request to FERC, and completing 95% of Phase 1 main line land acquisition include:

  • In December 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy began the federal environmental review for Grain Belt Express Phase 1.
  • In January 2023, Grain Belt Express selected Siemens Energy Inc. to supply the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technology for Phase 1 of the project.
  • In March 2023, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) granted Grain Belt Express its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN).
  • In April 2023, Invenergy Transmission announced a long-term supply agreement with Prysmian Group North America for up to 12,500 miles of domestically manufactured overhead conductor cable through 2029 to supply Grain Belt Express and other projects.
  • In June 2023, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) granted an amended approval of the Grain Belt Express transmission project to allow for phasing.

Invenergy Transmission has reviewed and will comply with the written conditions in the MPSC order as well as fully consider other issues raised by Commissioners during the agenda meeting discussion related to landowner protections. Grain Belt Express is targeting to begin full construction as soon as the start of 2025, pending federal permitting approvals.

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