From the Farm: Grain Belt Express


CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) – The Grain Belt Express is an interstate power line slated for construction in the southern portion of the WCIA viewing area. Its promoters are meeting with affected landowners this week, from Pike County in the west to Clark County in the east.

The Grain Belt Express originates from wind farms in Kansas and carries electricity to a major power plant on the east side of the Wabash River in southern Indiana, said Brad Pnazek of Invenergy.

“Kansas is an area where the wind is plentiful and produces at a fairly affordable price,” Pnazek said. “The goal of the project here is to take this energy produced at an affordable price in Kansas and transmit it here to other markets in the country which deposit in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.”

He and others meet with landowners before seeking state approval for construction.

“We are launching our stakeholder engagement campaign. We are hosting 27 different meetings over the next three months, three in each of the nine counties Grain Belt Express passes through here in Illinois,” Pnazek said. “And those are all the things we’re looking to do here before we go to the Illinois Commerce Commission to submit our application for the project.”

The proposal is not new. It has been around for several years. But Pnazek said his company stepped in to complete the project that had stalled due to opposition in Missouri.

“Invenergy bought the project here a few years ago and we will move the project forward from now on,” Pnazek said. “The ICC is therefore well aware of this project. They have already seen it, but not under the responsibility of Invenergy.

The project is not yet close to seeking an Eminent Domain Authority.

“Eminent Domain is sort of a last resort used here,” Pnazek said. “In Kansas and Missouri, to date, Invenergy has signed approximately 65% ​​of affected parcels on a voluntary basis, and that is the approach we would take here while advancing the project in Illinois.”

One of the homeowners affected is Steve Simpson, owner of a family plot near Casey.

“Not really in favor,” Simpson said. “I live pretty close to power lines now and I’ve been around them and I know the sounds they make and I know you don’t want structures in and around them because of the energy that they give off, so I’m really not at all in favor of this crossing of my property.

Stu Ellis

We’ll find out more about that on our weekend show, Midwest Ag This Week.

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