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Clean Power wind power transmission Kansas

Published on June 27th, 2016 | by Tina Casey


Zombie Kansas Wind Transmission Project Rises Again, In Missouri

June 27th, 2016 by  

The Houston-based wind company Clean Line Energy is not giving up on its Grain Belt Express wind transmission line. The ambitious project is designed to link Kansas wind farms with Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and other points east, but it hit a brick wall last summer when property owners in Missouri objected. Ever since then, Clean Line has been prepping for Round 2, and it is bringing some heavy artillery with it for the next go-around.

wind power transmission Kansas

Wind Transmission Stalls In Missouri…

A years-long effort to assemble all the pieces for the complicated, multi-state Grain Belt Express wind transmission project almost concluded successfully last summer. The one holdout was Missouri, which would host a 206-mile stretch of the line.

However, on July 1, 2015, the Missouri Public Service Commission denied utility status for the wind transmission project, effectively killing it.

In a brief press release, the agency explained that although the company met the standards for showing that it is qualified and financially capable of providing the wind transmission service, it failed to meet three other criteria: a need for the project, economic feasibility, and in particular, serving the public interest:

 The Commission determined GBE failed to prove the Project promotes the public interest. “In this case the evidence shows that any actual benefits to the general public from the Project are outweighed by the burdens on affected landowners. The Commission concludes that GBE has failed to meet its burden of proof to demonstrate that the Project as described in its application for a certificate of convenience and necessity promotes the public interest.”

…Try, Try Again

Although the wording was pretty stern, the vote was split 3-2, providing Clean Line with a good indication that a second try would be well worth the effort.

One key breakthrough came earlier this month, when the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission approved the purchase of long-term transmission service on the Grain Belt Express, as part of the public power agency’s efforts to boost its renewable energy portfolio.

Missouri ratepayers in the agency’s group of 67 utilities are expected to save $10 million and up yearly, so there’s your public benefit right there. Clean Line notes that the deal, which includes a power purchase agreement with a western Kansas wind generator, would mean a rate of less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour for up to 25 years

The expectation is that the Grain Belt Express will deliver 500 megawatts directly to the Missouri grid, instead of just passing through on its way to Illinois and Indiana.

MO Chamber Of Commerce Hearts Wind Power

The US Chamber of Commerce has gained some notoriety for its contrarian approach to climate change and clean power, but local chambers have been casting the shackles of the national group to the wind, so to speak.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a case in point. Last week, the MO Chamber put its weight fully behind the new wind transmission project. Along with the benefit to ratepayers, Chamber President and CEO Daniel Mehan cited Clean Line’s $500 million investment in the state, and the role that access to clean power plays in attracting (and keeping) business.

The Missouri-based companies General Cable, Hubbell Power Systems, and ABB are among those directly involved in the project. The construction contractor, PAR Electric, is based in Kansas but has pledged to hire Missouri workers when possible.

Coal-Killing (And Nuclear-Killing) Wind Power

Clean Line expects to re-file for the Grain Belt Express later this summer, and some property owners are gearing up for another fight, so stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, the behemoth that is the midwestern wind industry marches on, leaving a trail of shuttered coal power plants in its wake.

Among major new developments in the wind pipeline, last spring another ambitious Clean Line wind transmission project called the Plains and Eastern Line got the go-ahead from the Energy Department.

Another example comes from Nebraska. The state has been lagging far behind Iowa and other midwestern states, but that’s set to change in a big way. The Nebraska Energy Office anticipates that the state could surge into the top tier of wind energy production in the US.

A 200-turbine wind farm is under construction this year, KETV cites as one reason why the Omaha Public Power District moved to set up plans for shutting down the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant.

Coming on the heels of the Diablo Canyon shutdown in California, the outlook for nuclear power in the US is not looking any rosier than it is for coal.

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Image (cropped): via Clean Line Energy.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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  • OneHundredbyFifty

    Ah, I can see where some of your frustration is coming from. You are using a 2007 map. Since that time things have come a long way in terms of understanding the wind resource in the US. Below is a recent map showing the wind resource for 100 m hub heights. Below it I have added a second map for 120 m hub heights. You can see that the great plains resource is as good as much of the offshore resource. And SW KS is exceptional. Many of the best off shore sites require floating towers which is just beginning to reach commercialization. The ones built on foundations are quite expensive. When all is said and done, if we are to become a carbon neutral nation we also need to be getting wind power from multiple regions in order to smooth the intermittentcy.



    • Keryn Newman

      So, increasing hub heights changes onshore wind, to make it comparable to offshore wind? Why not just use offshore wind near the population centers to serve them? Why go to all this trouble and expense to move a resource, when a comparable resource is already there waiting to be developed? Because the Koch Brothers don’t want their sea views disturbed.

      If the resources are so great in Kansas, why not move energy intensive businesses (data centers come to mind) to Kansas, instead of plowing through thousands of miles of private property to bring Kansas to an east coast data center? Perhaps then Kansas would have something attractive to the arrogant person who claimed it was a wasteland?

      Work smarter, not harder.

      • OneHundredbyFifty

        “So, increasing hub heights changes onshore wind, to make it comparable to offshore wind? Why not just use offshore wind near the population centers to serve them? Why go to all this trouble and expense to move a resource, when a comparable resource is already there
        waiting to be developed? ”

        Good question, there are two parts to your answer. The first part is that they are developing wind off shore.

        The first US offshore wind farm is being built and will be in operation by the end of the year. http://www.accuweather.com/en/features/trend/first-us-offshore-wind-farm-block-island-rhode-island-industry-seeks-further-growth-expansion-energy-future/54057815

        There are a number of other much larger leases that have been auctioned by the feds so off shore is coming.

        The second reason is that wind is an intermittent resource. Since the wind on the great plains blows at different times than that on the Atlantic ocean, they offer a much more stable output if wind is developed in both regions AND the Great Lakes AND in Wyoming.

        “Because the Koch Brothers don’t want their sea
        views disturbed. ”

        I live in coastal MA and many here were discouraged to see Cape Wind get shut down. However in a weird way the Koch’s did us all a favor. Their fight with the developer led the feds to pre-approve and auction a number of large off shore sites. One is already under construction (see above)

        “If the resources are so great in Kansas, why not
        move energy intensive businesses (data centers come to mind) to Kansas,
        instead of plowing through thousands of miles of private property to
        bring Kansas to an east coast data center? ”

        This is something I have wondered as well. This is an incredible opportunity for the great plains states. However, those energy intensive businesses would benefit by the aggregation that would occur as a result of the building of the HVDC line. When the wind was calm in KS they could take power from the IN grid. It is tied in to a number of wind farms and conventional power plants in IN and IL. Also, if they build wind on the Great Lakes it could also be aggregated into the system and run server farms in Dodge City or Kansas City.

  • Keryn Newman

    Look Eveee, you obviously don’t know how to read a transmission capacity contract, no matter what you want to be when you grow up. Clean Line’s capacity (and that’s all they’re selling) is being priced by the MW. Clean Line proposes it will have capacity to transmit 4,000 MW of energy on its transmission line. Think of Clean Line like a toll road. Paying the toll allows you to pass, but it doesn’t provide you with a car or gas to get there. Clean Line is nothing more than a proposed electricity toll road. Clean Line proposes to bill its customers every month. The contract is for two separate 100 MW tranches of transmission capacity. For the first tranche, customer will pay Clean Line $1.167 per megawatt each month. For the second tranche, if selected, it’s $1.667 per megawatt per month. Customer may select the number of megawatts of service it wants to purchase 60 days before the project goes in service. There is no energy in the contract. I don’t care what confused reporters said — the evidence is in the actual contract. Clean Line does not generate or sell electricity. It only sells transmission. Customer is responsible for negotiating and signing a separate PPA with a generator for the energy (car and gas) to use the toll road. Since there is no toll road, there’s no need to purchase energy at this time. In fact, Clean Line claims that the generators that will be close to its toll road haven’t been developed yet. It claims they can’t be developed unless their toll road is built first. A merchant generator needs firm customers to create a revenue stream before it is built (in order to get construction financing). A merchant transmission line also needs customers for the same reason. Clean Line doesn’t have enough customers to finance its construction, therefore the generators can’t build and sign PPAs with customers who want to use the line. Chicken/egg. This is why no energy company is attempting this and one of the reasons Clean Line is desperate to sell its capacity long before generators to feed it are ever built. So… somewhere down the line, hypothetically, if Clean Line gets enough customers to finance a build, the generators may materialize. At that time, customer will need to negotiate a separate PPA for the actual energy. They will pay the generator for the energy separately. Clean Line’s latest “estimate” is that they will be built by 2019. I think that’s mere wishful thinking, considering all the hurdles still left to jump. But by 2019, the production tax credit is reduced by 60% (with further reductions and phase out in later years). So, if we’re generous, these wind farms won’t be built until 2019. With a 60% reduction in the PTC, the price of energy will climb from “current tax estimates” Clean Line used to theoretically “price” energy from a third party supplier to entice the Mo. cities. The price of energy is dependent on when feeder wind farms develop, and development of feeder wind farms is dependent upon Clean Line being built, which is dependent on customers signing up for transmission capacity. Tell me, do you like to play dominoes? Most utilities don’t.

    I’m not going to respond to your other childish nonsense here. You have a nice day. Go re-read the contract.

    • Wayne Williamson

      cute keryn…you should probably work harder on your alias…created two years ago and no comment until now…just to funny….

    • neroden

      Stop spewing childish nonsense.

      If your interpretation of the contract were correct (which it clearly isn’t), Clean Line would have a total income of no more than $56,016 / year — do the math. I think it’s pretty obvious they can’t afford to build the project with that low an income.

      • Keryn Newman

        Well, now you’re starting to get it, Nero! This contract is for “up to” 200 MW of service from Kansas to Missouri. The project is proposed to extend all the way to Indiana. If you’d bothered to read the contract before making your “clear” determination that anything I say must be wrong just because I said it, you’d see that the Missouri cities have also been offered “up to” 50 MW of service from Missouri to Indiana at a price of $2,500/MW/month. That’s $2500 per megawatt of service purchased each month. Add that into your calculations.

        Now, consider that the project proposes 4,000 MW of total capacity between Kansas and Indiana. Plug that in to assume all MW of capacity are sold at the price offered in this contract. And make sure you include both the KS-MO and MO-IN pricing, bringing the total capacity cost to more than $4,000/MW/month.

        That’s Clean Line’s expected revenue.

        However, Clean Line must negotiate rates with each customer individually. Some customers may pay more depending on terms. This particular contract requires the MO cities to “be a good witness” in regulatory hearings in exchange for the attractive pricing. Results may vary.

        This is the only “contract” Clean Line has. You’re right, it alone cannot financially support a $3B project. Clean Line has been unsuccessful in attracting any other customers. It cannot support itself.

        Now, go back and think a bit on the sale of “up to” 50 MW of service from Missouri to Indiana for the MO cities. What are the MO cities planning to do with that capacity? What are they planning to load onto the line in Missouri and export to Indiana? What generation assets do the Missouri cities own that they can export? Could it be coal-fired power? If they had renewables in their portfolio already (when their portfolio is currently based on a contract with Prairie State — look that one up), why not use that resource, instead of attempting to export it to Indiana?

        Surely you know that there is no difference between “clean” and “dirty” electrons. And surely you know that no transmission owner can legally discriminate on generation source of the electrons it carries in order to refuse to serve “dirty” generators. “Clean” Line is just a name.

        • eveee

          The contract you cited shows two tranches, one of 1167/ MW month, the other for 1667. Not sure how you get 2500. They don’t add. They are rates.
          Clean line doesn’t negotiate with retail customers, but rather large organizations like MJMEUC.

          No evidence that MJMEUC and Missouri utilities are planning to send electricity to Indiana. No idea where you picked that up from. It’s all about consumption in Missouri. MJMEUC has already contracted for the transmission, but it’s not approved.

          MUMEUC has plenty of retail customers. One more thing. A PPA is a promise to furnish electricity at a price over time, but it’s also a promise to purchase a minimum amount over time. Buying power is not like buying eggs. Demand varies over time and dispatchers buy it according to demand. Transmission contracts are paid whether you use electricity or not, but the cost is way less than the generation as long as generation is a reasonable amount of transmission capacity. Wind can furnish such cheap electricity, that it is bound to be chosen preferably over more expensive options.

          A transmission line can’t discriminate what it transmits, but MJMEUC has no trouble signing a PPA. If that PPA is transmitted by clean line…

          On the other hand, it takes some mind bending to convince yourself that Kansas has a huge amount of coal power to send east. It doesn’t. So let’s stop playing let’s pretend and grow up. Kansas wind is going to fill that.

          In the other citation, I showed Oklahoma wind was going to be delivered to TVA that was signing PPAs for big amounts.

          The whole East Coast doesn’t have any customers argument is nonsense. It doesn’t work the way you say. Customers are TVA and MJMEUC like entities. They buy power in contracts and sell to retail customers. All kinds of generation bids for the right to generate in the electricity market, but PPAs add a requirement to buy a minimum from a contracted source. When they find low cost sources, they sign them up and that displaces other higher cost sources, usually coal, but also nuclear and natural gas. They don’t necessarily turn off the other generators, but they scale back. If they don’t get enough generation bids accepted, eventually they shut down because they lose money.

          Right now, clean electrons are cheaper than dirty ones, so they are winning.

          • Keryn Newman

            For goodness sakes, eveeeee, take off your rose-colored glasses for a sec. You’ve got that “/” in the wrong place. The contract reads: “$1,667 per MW/month.” A “/” in that position means “per.” Megawatt-month is abbreviated “MW-M.” Megawatt-month is never written “MW/month.” The contract is for an amount per megawatt per month.

            As well, the contract says this, “Invoices. Within seven (7) Business Days after the first day following the end of each calendar month after the Commencement Date, Transmission Provider shall submit an invoice to Transmission Customer for the Transmission Service Charge for the preceding calendar month,…”. Transmission service, billed monthly, get it? Just transmission service.

            It also recites this: “WHEREAS, in order to meet a portion of its demand for low-cost renewable energy, MJMEUC seeks to purchase long-term, firm transmission service on the Project from the Project’s high-voltage direct current converter station located in Ford County, Kansas (the
            “Kansas Converter Station”) to the MISO Interconnection Point and from the MISO Interconnection Point to the PJM Interconnection Point.” Get it? Transmission service.

            It also says, “Through its purchase of Firm Transmission
            Capacity from Transmission Provider and the payment of the Transmission Service Charge, Transmission Customer shall be entitled to schedule, for any hour·, the transmission of electricity over the Project up to the Contract Capacities applicable for that hour.” Transmission service.

            This is only a contract for transmission service, not energy.

            C’mon, Eveee, use your brain. Do you think energy and 500 miles of transmission service can be purchased for 1.6 cents/kwh?

            There is no provision for energy (electricity) in this contract. If you believe otherwise, please quote the portion that contracts electricity, states the generator of said electricity, and arranges payment for electricity.

            Are you trying to play stupid about the additional 25 (but allowed to double to 50) MW sale from MO-PJM? Go to page 36 of the pdf of the contract. It says this:

            “MO-PJM Transmission Service

            Reserved Contract Capacity: 25 MW, measured at the Point of Receipt

            Beginning Date of Service: Commencement Date (to be determined)

            Ending Date of Service: The second anniversary of the Commencement Date (i.e., 2 years), with continuing rights for additional periods up to a total term of 26 years (i.e., subject to Transmission Customer’s Extension Rights)

            Point of Receipt: MISO Interconnection Point

            Point of Delivery: PJM Interconnection Point

            Contract Rate: $2,500 per MW/month.”

            Reading was never your best subject, was it?

          • eveee

            Curb your dogs, dear. You provided a link to a contract for transmission alright. That isn’t proof that Clean Line can’t sign contracts (proved by MJMEUC) or get utility status. That’s what the question at hand is before the state. Don’t count your chickens…

            The whole argument that they have not signed any generation agreements so far is meaningless. It doesn’t mean they won’t. Clean Line is not a utility ,,,, yet. That’s what the state will decide. It’s up for another round. After that,,,,,

            This whole chicken and egg argument just doesnt wash. Your insistence that there are no East Coast customers is ridiculous. Just because they havce not signed is not reason to expect there will be no contracts. Really, the transmission has to happen first otherwise the customers are signing up for generation they can’t access. That’s what makes you hope your chicken and eggs blocking scheme works. But it’s circular logic.
            My reading is fine. Work on your manners. Stop obsessing about a slash Mark. If you look down to the other comments, I made a reply to a guy who was confused about the cost of electricity. It’s got a calculation of the transmission cost. Yes, it’s a contract for transmission service. It’s a PPA for transmission service. That’s what you provided. I also provided some evidence that MJMEUC did PPAs with Kansas wind, not through Clean Line, but separately. MJMEUC can easily do the same through Clean Line once approved., I provided evidence that there is plenty of East Coast demand potential and TVA is eager to sop up demand and sign PPAs.
            Your whole chicken and egg argument is lame. You seem think that blocking it through the state means it will never happen. The same thing happened in Arkansas and we see what happened. It went 1222 and Arkansas doesn’t matter any more.

            So what exactly do you think you are accomplishing by coming on a green energy site and insulting people. Are you lobbying for farmers or something. You should get a different job. It’s not working. I was inclined to be sympathetic to farmers before I met your rudeness. But maybe that’s not their fault you don’t have manners.

    • eveee

      this is what a transmission customer looks like.

      Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC) approved a proposal to increase the public power agency’s renewable energy supply by purchasing long-term transmission service on the Grain Belt Express Clean Line (Grain Belt Express) transmission project. The agreement between the Grain Belt Express and MJMEUC, a public power agency that serves 67 municipalities throughout Missouri, is expected to save Missouri municipal ratepayers at least $10 million annually when the project becomes operational, according to an analysis performed by MJMEUC.”

      Remember that?

      347,000 retail customers. Waddya know.

      “Established by six charter members, the Commission has grown to a membership of 67 municipally-owned retail electric systems ranging in size from approximately 230 to approximately 109,700 meters. These municipal and cooperative electric systems serve 347,000 retail customers, and have a combined peak load of over 2,639 MW.

      MJMEUC may construct, operate and maintain jointly owned generation and transmission facilities for the benefit of members. The Commission has the authority to enter into contracts for power supply, transmission service, and other services necessary for the operation of an electric utility. Full membership in the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission by Missouri municipal utilities requires approval of a Joint Contract and acceptance by the Board of Directors.

      Each member is represented on the Board of Directors by a director and alternate director that are appointed by the member at the time their joint contract is executed. Additional categories of membership may be available for other parties.”

      MJMEUC already has PPAs with Kansas wind farms. No biggie.

      Love the chicken and egg argument. No chicken, no egg. No egg no chicken, therefore neither exists. Dang, you got me there. All those wind PPAs and transmission lines don’t exist because it’s chicken and egg.

      I got another one for you.

      Garbage in, garbage out.

      You are bucking for 1222. While you are feeling all pumped up now, the company is only going through one more attempt through the state. You better get your best offer now, because if it loses, you are off to Feds and eminent domain. Good luck with that.

      “Clean Line’s bid to get approval for the Grain Belt Express project, a 770-mile line from southwest Kansas to Indiana, was turned down by Missouri regulators last year (EnergyWire, Jan. 27).

      While the project could be a candidate for federal participation under Section 1222, Clean Line will first seek to obtain state approval by refiling its application with the Missouri Public Service Commission.

      Opponents of the Grain Belt project took note of DOE’s decision and said they’ll continue to fight the project regardless of whether it’s at the state or federal level.

      “If Clean Line attempts to override the clear majority vote of the Missouri PSC and the vast majority of impacted and nonimpacted landowners, they will be in for a major fight,” said Jennifer Gatrell, a spokeswoman for the opposition group Block Grain Belt Express. “We will never allow the precedent to be set that a private company can gain the right of eminent domain for their private gain”

      That last line is a lie because natural gas lines, transmission lines, and roads have been done this way for a long time.

      But thanks for playing and I hope your work at charm school helps out.

      • Keryn Newman

        What are you talking about? No one ever said individual retail customers were buying transmission service. MJMEUC buys wholesale and resells to end use customers. Big deal. The problem here is that MJMEUC’s “up to” 200 MW contract with Clean Line isn’t going to financially support the project. And there are no other wholesale customers. NONE. No other wholesale buyer has signed up to purchase any of the remaining 3800 MW of service on the line. MJMEUC is the sole contract.

        Without firm customers (and even MJMEUC isn’t a firm customer — it can back out of this contract at any time before the project goes in service) this project cannot happen. This is a merchant transmission project. A merchant project does not have captive ratepayers to use as collateral to finance its project. A merchant project must have contracts in hand proving customers, proving a revenue stream, before it can get financed.

        This will never happen without contracted customers. Utilities don’t want to contract for a line that isn’t built. Chicken/egg.

        Projects that have traditionally been granted eminent domain authority have been determined to be needed by regulators (not you and your funny little friends here who are saving the planet through their keyboards). Usually the determination of a regional transmission organization is used to prove need to state regulators. Clean Line skipped the RTO planning process, therefore it cannot demonstrate a public need for its projects. No public need, no eminent domain. That’s how the law works in this country. I’m sure a Walmart in your back yard would open its doors to the public and “serve” them, but that doesn’t mean Walmart can claim eminent domain and take your property, does it?

        • eveee

          Do you remember chicken and egg? Remove those mental blinders and think about that for a minute or two. Also, try to pay attention. TVA doesn’t seem so shy about getting more renewable capacity. If you think PJM or some other East coast entity will none too shy for 3c/ kwhr electricity when they are paying up to 20c/kwhr there.

          Honestly, just what do you think you are accomplishing coming in to an environmental tech site with your stuff?

          • Keryn Newman

            Clean Line isn’t the be all and end all of renewable energy. It’s just an idea (and a stupid one at that) to build transmission for profit.

            But, no matter how many entities you want to SUPPOSE might purchase transmission capacity from Clean Line, the REALITY is none of them have. And it won’t get built without it.

            What does this joke of a greenwashing website think it’s doing publishing lies (which is what drew me here in the first place, as you may recall.) I’ve now proven my original point — that there is no energy in the Clean Line contract as this article reported. End.

            Do have fun driving all the traffic away from this stupid site with your arrogant and rude behavior.

          • eveee

            Baloney. TVA and Southern Power signed plenty of PPAs with Oklahoma and Illinois. Clean Line doesn’t have to sell generation PPAs, they need to sell transmission PPAs. You are saying if they don’t do generation PPAs , Clean LIne can’t operate. But customers have already signed PPAs with Western Wind. And Clean Line has signed PPAs for transmission. And you showed the Clean LIne transmission PPA. The argument that Clean Line has to sell generation PPAs to make money is just plain wrong. The customers can ink their deals with the source and the transmission provider separately.

            TVA has signed for copious amounts of Western Wind as far back as 2010. This whole there is no demand line is ridiculous. And the idea that they wouldn’t like a nice, efficient channel to get that power East is equally ridiculous. You are still arguing chicken and egg.
            But TVA and others have put the chicken first. You are arguing there are no chickens and trying to block the egg.

            “now receiving energy from the Kansas-based Buffalo Dunes Wind Project. Since late 2012, Alabama Power has been receiving energy from the Chisholm View Wind Project in Oklahoma. Together, the two projects position Alabama Power as one of the leading purchasers of wind-generated energy in…”


            “Southern Company’s operating subsidiaries continue to expand their utilization of generation facilities that rely on renewable resources to produce electricity, including those based on solar, wind, biomass and other renewable platforms described in this section. Since 2012, Southern Company has added or announced more than 3,800 megawatts of renewable generation.

            Southern Company subsidiaries may self-build renewable generation facilities and/or enter into power purchase agreements for energy and environmental attributes from facilities fueled by renewable resources. They may retain the right to use the generated energy as renewable energy for customers and retire the environmental attributes. At their sole discretion, they may also choose to sell the energy and the associated environmental attributes — separately or bundled together — to third parties.



            Wind energy – a growing source of generation for the Southern Company system.

            In December 2015, Southern Power announced the completion of its first wind facility – the 299-megawatt Kay Wind project in Oklahoma. Subsequently, Southern Power announced the acquisition of its second wind facility – the 150-megawatt Grant Wind facility, also in Oklahoma – upon successful completion in March 2016.

            Alabama Power is currently purchasing the energy output sourced from 404 megawatts of wind generation facilities.

            Georgia Power has received approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission to purchase the energy output sourced from 250 megawatts of wind generation facilities starting in 2016.

            Gulf Power has received approval from the Florida Public Service Commission to purchase the energy output sourced from 160 megawatts of wind generation facilities starting in 2016.”


            Iberdrola Renewables, the largest provider of wind power in the world, today announced its biggest power purchase agreement (PPA) ever with a new customer, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). TVA will purchase 300 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable energy from Iberdrola Renewables’ Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Power Project under construction near the villages of Odell and Emington, Illinois, south of Chicago.

            “Wind power is a clean and limitless source of energy that directly enhances TVA’s mission of environmental stewardship”
            Tweet this
            TVA will purchase the wind energy from Portland, Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables as part of its effort to add 2,000 MW of new renewable or clean energy resources to the TVA generating system.

            “Wind power is a clean and limitless source of energy that directly enhances TVA’s mission of environmental stewardship,” said TVA Executive Vice President Van Wardlaw. “When we look at all the options for renewable sources, it makes sense for TVA to invest in wind energy.”


    • eveee

      In your frenzied emotional response, you neglected to notice that I never said the Clean Line contract was for generation. Before you condemn my reading skills, see if you can read and comprehend what I wrote. You stated there was no PPA in the contract. You didn’t say generation PPA, you said PPA. So when I said there was a PPA, you assumed it meant generation PPA. But I never said that. I said there was a PPA. And there it is. It’s a PPA for transmission. And the units are energy, but it’s more complicated than that. But MW per month with a slash or not represents energy because it is power combined with time. Likewise, my comment giving the costs in the contract shows that I understand perfectly well that it’s a transmission PPA, not a generation PPA. And the cost is not 1.6 c anything. Go read my comment calculating transmission costs. Follow the calculation. No need for your insults. And most of your comments about the PTC being too late are irrelevant. TVA has already signed copious amounts of PPAs with states far from their customers. They need transmission lines to get that power to them.

      And it probably doesn’t matter if the PTC expires by 2020. Wind is already cheaper than anything else, and it’s dropping fast enough that it will be just as cheap without subsidy by then as it is with today.

      The process doesn’t happen the way you portray. The generation PPAs were actually signed first in the case of TVA. There is no pressing reason why it couldn’t be the other way around.

      You are stuck on this whole chicken and egg thing.

      But apparently not everyone else is playing chicken and egg. TVA appears to be playing dominoes.

      It’s actually amusing sometimes to see the imaginary wall you build.

      Stop imagining everyone is out to get you. It’s a distorted perspective. It’s not real.

  • Mike

    How about using existing interstate highway corridors for routing these lines?
    Here in Ontario, there is a growing interest in placing wind turbines along the center of the Hwy 401 corridor…..

  • Keryn Newman

    While this discussion has been fun, it doesn’t change anything. No matter how many arrogant comments some of you post admonishing concerned landowners to bend over and take it (and the say, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”) nothing gets accomplished. Market value for land doesn’t compensate for increased production costs, foregone future land use opportunities, or the fact that a large portion of a farmer’s wealth is tied up in his land. Nor does it compensate for years of battling a transmission company in civil court over crop damage, soil compaction or tile damage. While some have smartly realized that view shed impact on land’s market price is perceptual, health issues related to living and working in close proximity to high voltage is also a perceptual issue. No matter how many time some stranger tells a concerned parent there’s nothing to worry about, the worry will remain. You cannot ameliorate those concerns with studies or sharing your own opinion.

    The fact is that the vast majority of impacted landowners have rejected Clean Line’s compensation package. The company is looking at condemnation rates north of 80%. That’s never going to happen. It’s political suicide.

    Clean Line’s merchant project is entirely market based. It’s not needed. It’s speculation. If a market develops, and customers sign contracts creating a revenue stream to financially support the project, it could theoretically happen. The cheaper Clean Line builds this thing, the bigger their profits (because the market-based contracts will only be so high as the market supports). If it’s market based, then it should be built at true cost. Instead, this company is asking for eminent domain authority in order to keep its land acquisition costs low and its profits high. When needed transmission project costs are socialized to all consumers, low land acquisition costs flow to all ratepayers. But Clean Line isn’t that kind of project. Low land acquisition costs won’t be reflected in its market rates, but will merely increase investor profit. Market costs won’t change whether land acquisition is voluntary or involuntary.

    The true cost of this project should include true market based land acquisition costs, without the coercion of eminent domain. If landowners had been approached for voluntary acquisition, with options for royalties, or other tweaks that enticed them to participate, perhaps this would have been a whole different ball game. But Clean Line approached the denizens of Mayberry with an arrogant plan no different than some of the comments here. And there’s no walking that back now. (Catbacker 😉 )

    So, if you think transmission needs to be built for climate change reasons, perhaps you should be looking at Clean Line and other transmission companies to present compensation acceptable to landowners. Otherwise, the opposition that delays and cancels projects will continue. Your move.

    • Armchair Hydrogeologist

      One other dimension to this is the fact that for the vision (shared by most of the regular commenters here like me who are quasi “treehuggers”) of nearly the whole US to be on renewable power, we’re looking at much more than a couple projects here between the plains going east (and west). What we’re seeing now is the tip of the iceberg. Capacity 10x of the projects visible now is what will be needed (and going further to the east). It’s not just us “treehuggers” on a blog, insiders in the DoE, Interior department, and rich billionaires are all thinking about this vision now.

      There is a need for some geographic diversity in the major HVDC transmission line corridors – perhaps around 150 miles apart or so. However, in the long run, these individual corridors will also need to have much larger capacity, which wouldn’t increase the impact on landowners much as the lines would basically run in parallel, without much additional easement impact.

      So here’s a hypothetical alternative that perhaps could break the log jam:

      A compensation model that included a variable royalty on the power going through your land would provide you with the opportunity to increase your compensation in 10-15 years as additional supply is added to the plains and the demand for carbon-free power is increased out east.

      What would be good about this model that once your property is part of the easement (which at first sucks because you drew the short straw when some Houston billionaire’s minions drew a line through your plot), you have this as a potential future upside for your future since it will be cheaper for the transmission companies to “up-scale” the HVDC lines on your land, with little additional impact on you, but you get more money later.

      I know some people in Santa Barbara that negotiated something similar on their land long ago with an oil pipeline. Eminent domain was getting threatened too. It turns out the capacity on the pipeline easement got “upped” and they got a bunch more money than their neighbors did who took a higher fixed price up-front.

  • BigWu

    @Kansas Landowner (re multiple posts but best summed up by “When a highway took some of our land, we had no objection, the benefit was clear and shared with the public.”)

    This project has clear benefits shared by the public at large. Specifically, a very substantial 4,000 MW of wind power which will displace coal and its pollution which seriously impacts the health of every man, woman, and child (both born and unborn). Benefits include reductions in: (all quotes from the Union of Concerned Scientists “Coal Power: Air Pollution”)

    Sulfur dioxide (SO2): penetrates deep into lung tissue and also causes acid rain, which damages crops, forests, and soils, and acidifies lakes and streams. A typical 600 MW coal plant emits 7,000 tons per year in the USA (with scrubbers!)

    Nitrogen oxides (NOx): “NOx pollution causes ground level ozone, or smog, which can burn lung tissue, exacerbate asthma, and make people more susceptible to chronic respiratory diseases.” 3,300 tons per year for a typical coal plant.

    Particulate matter: “can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death, as well as haze obstructing visibility.”

    Mercury: “Coal plants are responsible for more than half of the U.S. human-caused emissions of mercury, a toxic heavy metal that causes brain damage and heart problems. Just 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury deposited on a 25-acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat.” 170 pounds of mercury per plant per year is typical in the US.

    Coal plants also emit toxic lead, cadmium, arsenic and trace amounts of uranium. Oh, and don’t forget about the CO2 which if we continue emitting at current rates will render your farmland in Kansas as hot, dry, and lifeless as White Sands, New Mexico.

    • Kansas Landowner

      Yes, coal has costs. So does this project, and its not the only, or even close to the best, method to reduce coal pollution. You assume all the marketed benefits of such a project outweigh the good, the Missouri PSC didn’t agree with you. There isn’t even a guarantee that wind energy would be the primary source of energy on the line. Because it can’t be guaranteed. And Clean Line, though they won’t do in public discussion or in the press, can’t argue differently at the PSC.

      • BigWu

        Agreed! The property owners must be fairly compensated, it’s a constitutional right! (Fifth Ammendment)

        • Bob_Wallace

          I think the real issue here is not loss of land. I’ve looked at the terms offered by Clear Line and they look very reasonable to me.

          The issue is more likely about visual impact, including the impact on non-landowners.

          We’ve seen this many times. People object to looking out their window and see a wind turbine or solar panel in their view. I’m sure there are similar complaints about new shopping centers, schools, power plants, roads, and anything that wasn’t there earlier.

          It’s understandable. But few of us own our view. And, as far as I know, there is no constitutional right to keeping one’s view from changing.

          • BigWu

            The needs of the many outweigh the desires of the few for a bucolic view.

            This powerline will directly and positively impact the health of all downwind of the coal plants it will shutter, including not just those breathing the plumes of toxic chemicals and acid, but those living near rail lines transporting coal and breathing the toxic coal dust, people whose well water is poisoned by ash pond leaks and mining, and of course floods and sea level inundation due to CO2 forcing.

            Sure, we’d all love our views to look like Brigadoon. But unless we collectively decide to ditch our air conditioning, automobiles, computers, and mobile phones, we have to make difficult choices. Windmills and rooftop solar are vastly superior to the 19th century technology we currently employ to satisfy our hunger, population density, and conveniences of modern life.

          • eveee

            The needs of the many outweigh the desires of few. You could say that again. In a society, the social contract requires we adjust our individual motives for the good of the many. We do it every day when we stop at a stop sign. Farmers deserve to be treated fairly and with respect. But we must all make our contribution, too, and recognize that others do as well. We must not expect every change in life to involve our own personal, private, selfish benefit. Balance is what we are looking for.

          • JimBouton

            I love the view of my solar panels. I go out and admire them at least once a day. 😉

          • Swanson Corners

            There are new articles proposing offshore wind and all talk about putting the turbines far enough out not to mar views. The Grain Belt Express will bring wind energy on a 700-plus mile extension cord to the base of Lake Michigan that has more untapped wind resources than all of Kansas. I think this push is very much about saving views- coastal views.

  • OneHundredbyFifty

    Great update Tina. If this goes through it will be a huge problem for coal. For the first time there will be transmission access to one of the best wind resource regions in the country – https://handlemanpost.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/compare-maps-of-the-grid-and-renewables/ – This will open the flood gates for wind development in SW KS on a massive scale. I suspect that if the Grainbelt Express is approved we may see a turbine mfg commit to production near site and move to the next gen tall towers. There are few bridges in the region so moving large turbine parts should be doable. CF in excess of 60% may be seen. http://cleantechnica.com/2015/08/04/wind-could-replace-coal-as-us-primary-generation-source-new-nrel-data-suggests/

    I am surprised that they have not bumped the line to 800kV to nearly double the tranmission capability.

    • Kansas Landowner

      A utility in Kansas, Westar, is in the process of being sold to KCPL, which supplies power to Kansas City. The company reported that once merged, renewable energy will account for less than 5% of their portfolio. There is plenty of progress to make locally using existing easement and existing transmission before destroying thousands of miles of environment to ship energy (experiencing energy losses all along the way). Don’t buy in to the propaganda that wind has reached its limit locally.

      • OneHundredbyFifty

        I have researched this pretty heavily. (Spam removed.) The KS wind resource is vast and can serve a much larger region than KS. The challenge we have out East is that we have about half the CF that you do. I am a big advocate of offshore but it is expensive and insufficient to get the job done by itself. I view this as a global problem with pretty limited time. If I thought it could be done without the HVDC lines I would be all for alternatives but I just don’t see a work around. I think that in 20 – 30 years battery prices will drop enough so that we could move to a higher proportion of solar. At that point we may be able to take down the HVDC . But that is unclear at this point. If you have a blog or website that offers the land owner’s perspective please consider posting it.

        • Kansas Landowner

          Quick google searches will take you to informative blog posts, as well as Facebook pages. Newer NREL maps say wind potential is just as good offshore, or better, than Kansas. One can make the argument of expense, but easements in perpetuity through already-productive ground and timber is an expense in itself, of which the short-term and long-term costs have not been counted. One can’t argue tangible expense in regard to off-shore wind then dismiss tangible expense in regard to property owners, just as one must realize non-tangible expenses in regard to the easement destruction and health concerns in the same respect as global warming fears.

          • eveee

            Offshore is more expensive. So is rooftop.

          • Keryn Newman

            That’s the cost of going green, Eveee. Don’t you want to help the environment and stop climate change? You’re not saying that your commitment has a price to it, are you?

          • eveee

            Quit your specious arguments. Since you started here you have piled falsehood on top of falsehood, used foul words to demean the author, and generally acted boorish and impolite and insulting. You will never get any sympathy like that.

            Start acting like an adult and be responsible for your actions. You could start by apologizing for your bad behavior and cleaning up your mistakes. People here are adults with all kinds of viewpoints and are generally genuinely committed to a better world. You don’t know me or what contributions I have or have not made to a better world.

          • Swanson Corners

            There have been new articles about offshore wind and every one of them talks about putting turbines far enough offshore so they won’t ruin views. No one talks about the expense of that. I say they use the same setbacks we have in the Midwest and build them 1200′ from dwellings. GBE would end around the base of Lake Michigan that has more untapped wind energy resource than Kansas, wouldn’t include transmission, land lease expenses, the cost of using eminent domain or lobbying for federal eminent domain in DC.

          • eveee

            Wrong. Even offshore wind has transmission lines. You wouldn’t have electricity without it.
            Kansas wind potential.

            “The U.S. State of Kansas has high potential capacity for wind power, second behind Texas. The most recent estimates (2012) are that Kansas has a potential for 952 GW of wind power capacity yet has only about 1.2 GW installed. Kansas could generate 3,102 TW·h of electricity each year,[1] which represents over 75% of all the electricity generated in the United States in 2011.[2] This electricity could be worth $290 billion per year (at 9.35 cents per kW·h[3]).”


            “In 2010, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated about 740 gigawatts of potential offshore wind capacity in the Great Lakes”


            From those sources, your statement about more wind potential in lake in Michigan is false.

          • Swanson Corners

            You are a waste of my time.

          • eveee

            Is that all you can say when your statements are proven wrong by direct citations to reasonable sources? You could say, oh my eveee, I was wrong. Sorry, Kansas has much more wind potential than the Great Lakes, and certainly more than Lake Michigan. That would be reasonable. Are you here to be reasonable?

          • OneHundredbyFifty

            It is an interesting point. Why not go to 800kV (higher capacity but roughly the same right of way – i.e. more cost efficient) and then add an annual payment that is a percentage of energy carried over the line?

            The annual payment would be some fraction of the increased profit. Alternatively, include shares in the company as part of the package so that the land owners also benefit from the profitability of the company.

      • John Moore

        “……Destroying thousands of miles of environment….”
        A transparent lie. Comments like these brand you as either a complete fool, or working for someone.

        • Swanson Corners

          When a right of way is built all trees will be cleared in that 145′-200 foot easement.

          • eveee

            And there are trees for a thousand miles? Whip… Snap… Stretched it too far and it broke. Whopper. LOL.

          • neroden

            In New York, that would be a lot of trees.

            This is Kansas. There aren’t any trees to speak of.

    • Keryn Newman

      Perhaps it’s because they only have this one quasi-customer for 12,000 MW of proposed transmission (across three projects). I don’t think coal cares much. And I don’t think any eastern utilities “need” this transmission. This transmission dream world isn’t going to shut down any coal that wasn’t going to retire anyhow. Transmission cannot replace generators MW for MW.

      • John Moore

        Utterly wrong.

      • Swanson Corners

        The East needs to use their own wind resources offshore rather than supporting private land being taken for thousands of miles of extension cords.

  • Armchair Hydrogeologist

    I think it is unfortunate that these projects are getting delayed so much. There is a clear case for federal eminent domain here. There is a national interest in increasing the renewable content of power and these kinds of projects are really the only way to get there. Even if one can have some local renewable power generation, the wind doesn’t blow all the time and the sun doesn’t shine all the time. Electric storage costs are far too high and will be for a long time even under optimistic forecasts. Long distance HVDC lines are the cheapest and most effective way to get to over 30% renewables in most regions. Some places like the southeast and northeast can’t even get to 30% without importing lots of power.

    IMHO, the political obstruction of high capacity interstate HVDC lines is much more harmful to global warming than greenhouse deniers and net metering hating.

    • Keryn Newman

      Sorry, hydrologist. Transmission permitting and siting is state jurisdictional. Federal eminent domain is a step too far.

      • OneHundredbyFifty

        Not so fast. Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was put in place to address just this issue and does enable the use of eminent domain. More on that can be found here – http://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/05/us-dept-energy-oks-clean-line-energys-2-5-billion-plains-eastern-line-transmission-project/

        • Keryn Newman

          Sec. 1222 of the EP Act allows the federal government to own “in partnership” transmission. Because the federal government can use eminent domain for projects it owns does not equate to any transmission company declaring “federal eminent domain” willy nilly. Transmission projects are, for the most part, regionally planned and paid for. Transmission projects with merit go through the planning process in order to be determined needed. Clean Line skipped all that, went to the head of the class, and offered to pay DOE 2% of its quarterly profits in exchange for a 1222 finding in its favor. Do you really think that’s over and done? The lobbyist who wrote Sec. 1222 also wrote Sec. 1221. Google that one to see how it worked out in the courts.

          • eveee

            And if you keep it up, the federal government may just do that. Be careful what you ask for.

          • Keryn Newman

            The federal government may just do what, Eveee?

          • eveee

            Make it a federal project.

        • eveee

          The Feds went to 1222 when Arkansas did the same thing as Mo. Clean line is giving Mo one more try. If it doesn’t work, the Feds will probably take over.

    • Kansas Landowner

      It’s not considerate of you to dismiss the rights of all property owners who have spent the majority of their lives maintaining property (just as their parents and grandparents did) as political obstruction. Again, how much of what you have worked for and saved are you willing to offer up for the cause?

      • eveee

        Make you a deal. You don’t use the interstate highway system and we will forget the whole transmission line thing. Or you can just quit using electricity.

        • Kansas Landowner

          The highway system, great example of a project built for public use! I know, as part of our land was used for a highway, that we get to drive on! That’s the exact opposite of this project, which would have no public access. See the difference? Make you a deal, get Clean Line to offer electricity to the people whose land it crosses, and the opposition will go away. We had electricity way before these billionaires came up with an investment opportunity to gather easements across the country, and we’ll still have electricity when it’s never built.

          • OneHundredbyFifty

            Can you offer more insight into what type of property you own. I am not looking for confrontation with you. I am looking to better understand the full range of issues when it comes to running transmission lines through rural regions. I would be happy to go offline and communicate via email

          • Kansas Landowner

            The best place to start to get an idea of the full range of issues is to do a Facebook search and do web searches for blog posts by those who comment on and oppose the Grain Belt project and the sister projects Plains & Eastern and Rock Island Clean Line (RICL). Thank you for your interest in my family’s exact situation, but I need to limit the amount of time and frustration at some point, especially if you have other, already available sources, but I will say that our plans to build a home on our property have been in limbo for three years now, Clean Line has repeatedly refused to agree to spare any particular parts of our property so we can plan. They withhold the right to move the line wherever they see fit, I assume that is in order to be of most benefit or least cost to them at that time. We aren’t the only ones in this situation. Those who have already built homes are in an even worse situation, they may have a 150-200 ft tower as close as 100 feet from their home (the easements are supposed to be 200 ft wide with the structures centered), and so long as the structure is not in the easement Clean Line will not compensate for devaluation or loss of quality of life. What they have now is stress and worry.

          • Mike

            Uninformed observer here, please don’t pelt me with peanuts: have you asked “Clean Line” just that: to offer 3 cent electricity to the people whose land it crosses? Sounds like a reasonable give and take request to me……

          • Bob_Wallace

            Not practical to do that directly from the lines. The electricity is high voltage, direct current (HVDC).

            The property owners will receive fair compensation for the small amount of land used. That can be adjudicated in court.

          • Mike

            Understood. How about the land owners that are affected have the “commodity” portion of their monthly electric bill discounted so that all electricity used that month is at the 3 cent rate. Then the “Clean Line” business interest covers the costs above 3 cents.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I suppose that could be done. But if one looks at the rates paid by wind companies for the land they use for turbines the return per acre is much higher (several times higher) than the landowner could make by farming or grazing the lost land.

            A lot of this is not actually about land loss, which is small.


            It’s more about having the looks of the area changed by transmission lines.


          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s the second image. Disqus doesn’t seem to be image friendly at the moment….


          • Mike

            Well, here on smoggy eastern Ontario, I’d give sections of my land to those towers if the result is absolutely clear blue skies even though it’s above 32C and there are millions of people living within 150 kms of me….

          • JamesWimberley

            I thought Clean Line were considering monopole pylons. I’ve blogged to the point of tiresomeness about the importance of good pylon design, both for itself and to reduce NIMBY opposition. Would our Kansas landowner feel the sane if offered French Roseau pylons?

          • Bob_Wallace

            On the page where they talk about compensation for land owners they list prices for monopoles ($6k one time payment or $500 annually) and lattice ($18k one time payment or $1,500 annually). I don’t know when they might use one type rather than the other.

            And I don’t know why we continue to use lattice towers rather than more attractive designs. Do you know how the costs might compare?

          • neroden

            I think those prices explain the difference — it’s pretty clear the monopoles cost $12K more than the lattices!

          • Kansas Landowner

            How about property owners are offered the same types of contracts that wind turbine lease companies offer? It’s been suggested many, many times. Clean Line has deaf ears to the idea. After all, the transmission is just as necessary as the turbine, right?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Ask for equal compensation per area used. The court would probably be responsive to that.

            A lease? It would probably have to be an open ended lease, a hundred years that could be extended at the discretion of the transmission company.

            Now it’s a set annual payment? For not only the land actually used for tower footings but for an easement underneath the lines.

            Here’s apparently what Clean Line was offering:

            “Assuming a structure is placed on their land, most landowners will receive compensation totaling more than 100% of the fair market value of the Easement Property.”

            “Easement payment: 90% of fair market value of the Easement Property”

            Landowners get paid 90% of the market value of their land underneath the lines (a 200 foot wide swath) which they can keep on farming/grazing. They just can’t grow tall trees or build on that strip of land.

            For large lattice towers. “$18,000 one time payment or $1,500 annually per tower.”

          • eveee

            Transmission costs less than generation and gets paid less. If you want a generation payment, you need to generate. Would you ask the same for oil tanker trucks, rail containers, coal cars, and pipelines as for an oil rig on your property? No. It’s unreasonable.

            I doubt you would even take the deal if it was offered.

          • Keryn Newman

            Sure I would. Get busy, Eveee, put your money where your mouth is!

          • eveee

            You are confused. I am not a power or transmission company. Come back down to earth.

          • Keryn Newman

            No, that can’t be done. Clean Line is a transmission company, not an electric company. They have no control over anyone’s electric bill. How much land do you farm, Bob Wallace?

          • Bob_Wallace

            None, but I grew up on a farm and I know what bullshit smells like.

          • eveee

            Your nose accurate.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tell me Keryn, is opposing transmission lines around the country your vocation or advocation?

            I understand your opposing the line that would have impacted your view. (I don’t support your opposition, but I understand it.)

            What sends you off opposing transmission lines in other states?

          • John Moore

            Keryn, do you farm? If so, so what? No one cares. Calm down. And stop being a shill for dirty, unsustainable energy. We’re on to you.

          • eveee

            Another falsehood. Clean Line has the power to offer cheap energy to Missouri by making a feeder from their lines. The offer is in the contract. You read it and talked about prices.

          • eveee

            The feeders in the state might go to them, but there is no separate lines to them. Electricity is fungible, it goes where it can. But the bills are paid to agencies. Depends on who collects and has the service. Seems it goes to this entity MJMEUC. Hard to sort all that out. Can’t say if the landowners would get that or not, or if a separate billing could be worked out,

          • Keryn Newman

            Clean Line cannot sell electricity. It is a (wanna be) transmission company. It doesn’t own any electricity, or any generators.

          • eveee

            And yet…

            “Thursday, the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC) approved a proposal to increase the public power agency’s renewable energy supply by purchasing long-term transmission service on the Grain Belt Express Clean Line (Grain Belt Express) transmission project. The agreement between the Grain Belt Express and MJMEUC, a public power agency that serves 67 municipalities throughout Missouri, is expected to save Missouri municipal ratepayers at least $10 million annually when the project becomes operational, according to an analysis performed by MJMEUC.”


            “The Grain Belt Express transmission project will provide MJMEUC member municipalities with long-term transmission access to wind energy from western Kansas, where power can be produced at some of the lowest costs in the country. MJMEUC’s agreement for transmission service with Grain Belt Express, along with a power purchase agreement with a wind generator in western Kansas, will allow a number of MJMEUC’s member-city utilities to secure delivered wind energy at less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour for up to 25 years, if the Missouri Public Service Commission approves the Grain Belt Express Clean Line.”

            Explain that.

          • Keryn Newman

            A reporter as clueless as you are, Eveee? I asked you yesterday to read the actual contract, instead of the lies the press prints.

          • eveee

            I did. No need for insults and dis tastefulness. Dial back the indignant outrage to 10.5. The moderator is being kind. You would have been booted at most sites. It just so happens you are talking to an electrical engineer. All I can say is, you don’t know what a PPA is when it’s sitting in front of you. I can’t cut and paste the document, but it’s an offer of electricity guaranteed for long term. Says so at the bottom of the contract. It’s to MJMEUC just as stated in the article I cited.

            One other thing. You stated that Clean Line couldn’t act as a utility. On page three of the document it says Clean Line has applied to do just that.

          • Guest
          • eveee

            It’s hard to send electricity just to the transmission landowners. It’s distributed to large sections of the state. Don’t know if a deal could be reached for special power prices for them alone. It could be administered, perhaps. This was in response to the complaint that the state relieved no benefit. That is clearly not the case with this new proposal.

          • Bob_Wallace

            This electricity will cost about 2 to 3 cents per kWh. The coal produced electricity you’ve been using costs us over 15 cents per kWh.

            Most people are not aware of the very high price taxpayers pay to cover the health damage caused by burning coal. Somewhere between 9 and 15 cents for health costs alone.

            All those people who needlessly die from coal pollution. All the kids suffering from asthma caused by coal pollution. That’s one of the reason we need to build transmission.

          • Keryn Newman

            I don’t know where you get your coal fired power, Bob Wallace, but mine is much less than 10 cents/kwh. You have no idea what future electricity will cost. Future. This project is a long, long way from ever being built, and frankly, none of this discussion is going to matter in the least to the Missouri Public Service Commission, who already rejected this project once.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’re looking at only what you pay with your monthly electricity bill. You’re ignoring the $140 billion to $242 billion that taxpayers are spending year after year to pay for coal’s health damage.

            I have a very good idea what future electricity will cost. It’s something that I regularly follow.

            US onshore wind is now under 4 cents per kWh. Without subsidies.

            PV solar is about 6 cents per kWh. Without subsidies.

            Wind should drop under 3c/kWh and solar should drop even lower. Neither have external costs like those of coal, natural gas or nuclear generation.

            The bottom line is that the cost of electricity will drop. Generation with wind and solar will cost less. Plus the external costs we have been paying via tax and health insurance premiums will go away.

          • eveee

            Wrong. They just changed the deal to distribute the electricity locally and to provide more jobs.

            “The expectation is that the Grain Belt Express will deliver 500 megawatts directly to the Missouri grid, instead of just passing through on its way to Illinois and Indiana.”

            I found another source.

            “Thursday, the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC) approved a proposal to increase the public power agency’s renewable energy supply by purchasing long-term transmission service on the Grain Belt Express Clean Line (Grain Belt Express) transmission project. The agreement between the Grain Belt Express and MJMEUC, a public power agency that serves 67 municipalities throughout Missouri, is expected to save Missouri municipal ratepayers at least $10 million annually when the project becomes operational, according to an analysis performed by MJMEUC.”


            I would call distributing Kansas wind energy at cheap rates public access and benefit.

          • Keryn Newman

            Distributing? What, you think power comes off that HVDC line by osmosis as it meanders peacefully through the countryside? First of all, there is no electricity. There’s an idea for a transmission line. Second of all, no person shall receive electricity via this line unless they buy a separate contract for electricity, and pay the separate transmission capacity charge. Your misunderstanding of how electricity works seems to be confusing you.

          • eveee

            Read the document you provided and the other sources. And yes, they can tap the HVDC with a converter and distribute it in Missouri. The public power agency in Missouri distributes it.
            The claim was no public access. It’s false.

          • eveee

            Hey, did you just imply the public utility system was not for public use? LOL. Good one.

          • neroden

            Hey, you know, I know someone with property next to an Interstate Highway and they don’t let him drive directly on or off it! He has to drive miles out of his way to go to an “exit”.

            Just like the power transmission line. You’ll have access to the power, but you can’t just tap into it in the middle of the line.

        • Keryn Newman

          You know, eveee, nobody “needs” to use the interstate highway system. Your proposal can happen. Are you going to call Clean Line and break the news to them that they need to “forget” their whole transmission line thing?

          • eveee

            As soon as you quit using roads and electricity.

          • JimBouton

            Funny thing is, if they are in Kansas, then they are probably growing corn or some other grain. Most of which is either turned into corn syrup or to feed our CAFO systems.

            The only beneficial product on a typical Kansas farm would likely be those transmission towers.

          • Keryn Newman

            Nope, no urban arrogance there. Nope, no sir!

          • JimBouton

            The top five agricultural products grown or raised in Kansas include: Cattle, Wheat, Corn, Sorghum, and Soybeans.

            93% of the cattle in Kansas are on large CAFOs (over 1,000 head.)

            All of those grains require an immense amount of fossil fuels. Fertilizers, pesticides, transportation, etc. Our livestock is contributing 18% of the overall greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, cattle are designed to eat grass – not corn, which requires 75% of the antibiotics used in this country to go into our livestock.

            So, instead of just growing grass and rotating pastures, we have developed multiple industries that are killing us directly (fructose corn syrup) or indirectly (pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, hormones, antibiotics) along with contributing to global warming.

            Bravo, Kansas.

          • joe catbacker

            Bouton,Have you ever driven through the Flinthills of Kansas, or any of the other vast grazing areas of the Western states? There is only one purpose that these lands are suitable for, and that is cattle grazing. Until the world’s population loses it’s appetite for cheeseburgers and fries, we are here to fill that demand. Go gnaw on your tofu burger.

          • JimBouton

            Joe, if you read my other post, then you would see that I am not a vegetarian. I guess you have a hard time understanding cows eating grass, crop rotation, and small farming.

            You do understand that fries are actually grown on a farm…

            And, yes, I spent a great deal of time in Oklahoma, so I am very familiar with Kansas.

          • joe catbacker

            And Bouton, if you read one of my posts above, that is exactly what I do on my farm, rotational grazing, diverse crop rotation, and if you really want to know, my farm at 560 acres, is the smallest farm in the township that I live. You say that you spent a great deal of time in Oklahoma, but you failed to mention if you ever spent any of that time involved in farming.

          • JimBouton

            If that is the case (rotational grazing, etc.), then you know that the deck is stacked against you, by our government, for doing it the right way. You are also in the minority as my previous post suggested in which less than 7% of the cattle are not on CAFOs.

            I spent half of my time at OSU as a grad assistant in the Statistics Department working with farmers and ranchers on setting up experiment designs for their crops and animals.

            The farmers and ranchers I met when I was younger were some of the hardest working people I have ever met. I’ll add that I was unable to spend just one day doing some of the chores that those guys did on a daily basis, and that was when I was a strong young man.

            Now, many of them have little to nothing to show for it, due to the larger corporations, corporate lobbyists, and their destruction of the family farms.

          • joe catbacker

            You are correct in your summation that the deck is stacked against me. The government farm programs are tilted in favor of the largest producers, and also promote all out feedgrain production. Much pasture has been broken out that should have never been broken out, but I suppose in 10 or 20 years the government will pay them to seed it back to grass again, not so much unlike many other misguided government programs.
            Not trying to pick a fight or anything, but I do believe your statistics are inaccurate. According to the latest statistics from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, dated Jan 1, 2016, the total number of cattle in Kansas was 6.3 million head. Of that total, 1.48 million head consisted of cows, and I believe that over 99% of those would be grazed on pasture, so that would account for close to 33% of the total number. Total number of cattle on feed in feedlots of over 1,000 head was 2.18 million, or a little over one third. I would guess the remaining number of cattle would consist of stocker and feeder steers and heifers grazing on wheat and grass pastures, so I do believe your numbers are quite over-inflated.

          • JimBouton


            “In Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas 97%, 83% and 93%, respectively, of each state’s cattle on feed inventory is on farms with over 1,000 head. These three states may have fewer CAFOs but they are larger than the CAFOs in Iowa.”

          • joe catbacker

            I wouldn’t dispute those figures, but you do understand what cattle on feed means don’t you? Cattle in a pen, being fattened for slaughter, and according to the most recent stats from the USDA NASS reporting service, that number stands at 2.18 million, or 34.6% of the total 6.3 million cattle in Kansas, and not the 93% of all cattle that you claim in your original post.
            I don’t know what your agenda is in skewing those numbers, but the USDA numbers do not lie, and I stand behind those figures. If you would extrapolate those numbers out, one would have to conclude that well over half the total number of cattle that reside in Kansas do graze on pasture.

          • JimBouton

            I don’t have an agenda. I showed you the exact website I gathered my percentage. It could be wrong. Dispute it with them.

            I am glad you are practicing sustainable farming with your animals. It is better for us (humans) in the long run. I hope you are able to make a decent living at it.

          • eveee

            Looks like Corn syrup
            And crop dusters is what you get. There might be some beneficial grains.
            What’s CAFO?

          • JimBouton

            “Factory farms, or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), are a disaster for the environment and our health. Nearly 65 billion animals worldwide, including cows, chickens and pigs, are crammed into CAFOs, where they are literally imprisoned and tortured in unhealthy, unsanitary and unconscionably cruel conditions.”

          • joe catbacker

            Troll, why don’t you go post over on your PETA website.

          • JimBouton

            Right, caring about how we treat animals is a bad thing. Chicken, fish, beef, and pork are major staples of my diet, but our factory farm system is cruel and produces sick and diseased animals. I am against factory farms, but not the farmers.

          • eveee

            Yes. There’s a lot of useless and counterproductive farm practices like crowding animals and feeding them growth hormones. I didn’t mention anything about the crop dusting pesticides. I have little sympathy for the loss of those to farmers, particularly crop dusting that winds up running off and spreading beyond farms. You don’t want to be passing by and get a dose, either.

          • Keryn Newman

            No, no, no, Eveee. Your deal was that if I quit using interstate highways, you’d forget the transmission line. I’m waiting for you to break the news to Clean Line. You can’t change your offer now.

          • eveee

            And quit using electricity. Furnish proof.

          • nitpicker357

            Over the internet?

          • eveee

            Oh you are so clever.

          • eveee

            Nobody needs to use highways or electricity. And we don’t need your crops either. But to get those crops somewhere else you need roads. Without that, you don’t sell them. Overlook
            Every public service you get and demand that you contribute nothing. Turn down reasonable offers of compensation and claim everyone else is only in it for the money. To you, it’s only fair if all benefit goes to you. Forget about making any concession to anyone else in exchange for your privileges. Forget the farm act, forget the ethanol support, forget rural roads and forget rural electrification . Those are things other people paid for you. Since you already benefit, they are taken for granted.

          • John Moore

            Dang, that was good. Best in the thread.
            Keryn does seem to have a very narrow personal interest. That’s fine. But the hard part for me is that she must know that the Clean Line really does benefit the public as a whole. She seems to want to try to sell us on the idea that the whole thing is bad for everyone, when it kind of comes through that she could care less about the public good. She wants to portray the whole thing as some kind of moral outrage, when in reality, it appears that she feels that her individual needs are more important than the public at large. If she would cop to that, fine. But she doesn’t. It’s her dishonest approach to the conversation that is most objectionable to me. I feel like she is trying to con everyone.

          • eveee

            Narrow personal interest? That’s like saying a certain dictator had aggressive tendencies. All that you said and one more. Do you know anyone that busts into a church congregation and starts telling them they are all condemned unless they change their religion and calls them names angrily hoping to convert them?

            It’s not only rude, it’s stupid. I am the last one talking with her, her only hope, and yet she is still going out of her way to insult me. I even said farmers should be fairly compensated. But that wasn’t good enough for her. I hinted before. She is dead set against power lines no matter what. She won’t admit it, because that would reveal what she really is, a Luddite whose only intention is to sabotage all transmission progress. There are sites dedicated to stopping all transmission lines. Now how could that be? It ain’t grass roots. It’s Astro turf. Wonder how that could be? You aren’t that naive.

            If this is their lobbying representative, transmission lines are assured by eminent domain real soon.

            And I am not impressed by farmers needs to crop dust pesticides. That and calling me an East Coast elitist is not a good way to win friends and influence people.

            And one more tiny thing. Just exactly whom does she think her farm produce customers are anyway?

            I am afraid this one is imbued with magical thinking that allows farmers to make money by selling their produce to middle men and it disappears and where roads, electric power, gas stations, ethanol and farm bill supports are all guaranteed rights and power lines are an unnecessary thing that doesn’t do them any good at all.

            Public good. Dare we say socialism? Yes.

            Her attitude is part of the naked egoistic culture in the US that pits individuals in a competitive, alienated, rat race. That’s no way to live. Humans are social animals. You couldn’t tell it by a walk through some, but not all, US suburbs and cities. Socialism is part of the US fabric. As Sanders said, we used to provide most education funding for students. Then we made it private. We have been privatizing public things for decades under the Republicans and what we have been left with is mounting education loans and worse health care. It made a mess of West Coast electrical energy. And yet the libertarians and Republicans are still singing that off pitch song.

      • OneHundredbyFifty

        KS Land Owner, you are right it is a complicated question. And you are right those property owners needs and desires should not be taken for granted. But one of the reasons to have a nation is to address these issues. There are difficult choices that we as a people have to make and we have laws designed to assure discretion. The benefits of HVDC are enormous and a strong and reasonable case can be made that they are every bit as important to the overwhelming majority of Americans. It is also the case that many rural land owners like the added income associated with renewable energy. https://handlemanpost.wordpress.com/page/2/

        It is also important to look at the reality of our energy choices. HVDC trades a somewhat undesirable but ultimately removable and not dangerous thing for a hideous permanent destruction of priceless water shed in some of the nations most scenic regions, the Appalachians. https://handlemanpost.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/cost-of-mountain-top-removal/



        • Bob_Wallace

          Please quit using this site as a way to drive traffic to your site.

          You can contact Zach and purchase some advertising space if you wish.

        • Kansas Landowner

          It is true some landowners like the income. But judging by the lack of voluntary participation (less than 15%), it’s not fair or beneficial enough. And, as I’ve written already, Clean Line has taken property owners for granted, which is just as much a reason why they won’t voluntarily work with Clean Line.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, perhaps Clean Line did try to underpay. I don’t know one way or another. (Perhaps 85% of landowners tried to charge too much.)

            Now it will apparently go into the eminent domain system. Landowners will be able to present their price in court and have it settled there.

          • Kansas Landowner

            Not if Missouri refuses again. Not that much has changed, it’s the exact some application with a little political gamesmanship (which is where this article was derived). Clean Line always said power would be delivered to Missouri, they always had support from the Chamber.

          • OneHundredbyFifty

            If I recall, the utility in MO supported the denial of this power line and then went and approved one to build a power line to IL to get wind power there. I have not seen a side by side comparison but I think a similar number of Missourians were impacted and probably for less wind power.

            The interesting thing is that local utilities have an easier time of it and routinely do eminent domain for transmission lines. Since the voltages are lower they have higher losses and require more right of way to move the power.

          • Keryn Newman

            No, 1by50, “the utility” (I assume you’re talking about Ameren) did not support denial of the Clean Line project. They did not participate in the MO PSC process. Not a similar number of Missourians, in fact, much less. Look at the geography and the length of the proposed ROW. It’s not “local utilities having an easier time.” It’s local utilities having their projects approved and authorized by MISO, a process Clean Line skipped. Therefore, there is no documented need, and no customers.

          • Keryn Newman

            No it won’t Bob Wallace. This project is not approved to utilize eminent domain. Perhaps the project backers should offer to share in the wealth, bury their hazard, or come to some compromise with landowners that doesn’t involve just taking.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Just taking” is dishonest.

            Under eminent domain takings property owners are compensated at a rate the court decides is fair.

          • neroden

            OK, so they were jerks. Would you support the project if it were run by different people? Honestly that can probably be arranged…

      • Armchair Hydrogeologist

        I don’t have HVDC lines on my property. But I do have Mercury mine waste on my property that resulted from an important industrial effort from 150 years ago. I also have a landfill nearby that will double in size from when I bought the property and a new flight path overhead. The state has banned hunting/abatement of mountain lions and deer in my area and because of this and the boom in lions, I can no longer use my property for grazing and can’t have pets or children outdoors during dusk as a result. I get no compensation for any of this.

        The city also forced me to dig a seismic exploration trench last year on my property at my own considerable expense to map a fault line. This trench wasn’t near my property improvements, and I suspect the main motivation was for the city to try to justify seizure of an old 10-acre-foot irrigation pond by declaring the dam unsafe. I also had to dig a trench and do core samples at my expense for a business I own on a hillside that’s part of an earthquake fault system. The data was useless to me but ended up getting used for planning evacuation routes and spillway works for a large county-owned dam.

        So it’s a huge spit sandwhich we all have to take a bite from.

        I do think you should be fairly compensated for the loss of value to your property including market value decline due to perception.

  • Swanson Corners

    Who has better wind energy than Kansas?? Lake Michigan. Yet this wind energy line will disrupt the lives and properties of hundreds of thousands of US citizens just so lakefront property owners will not have their views disrupted by unsightly offshore wind turbines? What is cheaper? Energy “piped in” over 700-800 miles of extension cord or local generation and no land leases?

    • eveee

      Could you dial the phony hype back a bit? Offshore wind is more than expensive than Midwest wind. Lives and properties matter. They should be dealt with fairly. But you don’t come across as balanced when you dismiss the lives of those elsewhere and distort the facts.

      • Swanson Corners

        Phony hype?? I have been fighting Clean Line every day for 3 years!! I am part of a grassroots movement that was able to stop the Rock Island Clean Line in Iowa. We hired lawyers and lobbyists and got bills signed into law to protect landowner’s rights. Yes, offshore wind is more expensive but obviously it was not worth Clean Line’s dime to continue to fight us.

        • eveee

          Thanks for explaining that your only motivation is money. Statement was a response to the claim that there are no customers in states farther east. You want to back up that statement, feel free. Also a response to the claim that wind is better elsewhere. It isn’t. Don’t make false claims.

    • Harry Johnson

      Don’t worry, once global warming really starts to kick in and the western Plains become desert, no one will care about a few power lines. Even the wealthy Republicans with waterfront property will shut up.

      • RobertM

        Republicans with waterfront property will shut up. — Harry Johnson

        Look at the area that fight wind farms the most? Lets just say they generally have a D after their name not an R.

    • Armchair Hydrogeologist

      As a rough estimate, the cost piping large amounts energy over long distances works out to about US$1M per GW per mile.

      So a 4GW HVDC line that’s 800 miles long costs about $3.2Billion plus $4Billion for the turbines in the planes. With offshore, those turbines would cost about $12Billion and run at a lower capacity factor.

      • Keryn Newman

        What makes you think offshore wind runs at a lower capacity factor than onshore wind?

        • Armchair Hydrogeologist

          I should clarify, the capacity factor I’m talking about isn’t really an on-shore vs off-shore thing but rather the characteristic of the wind of the Great Plains region (stronger more consistent) vs the wind of the Great Lakes region (weaker, less consistent).

          The cheapest wind power is in the plains, offsetting the extra transmission line costs, hence the economic motivation for these projects.

          • Keryn Newman

            But that isn’t backed up by financial reality. There are no customers in “states farther east.” Looking at the contract, transmission capacity to PJM is priced at more than 4 cents/kwh (even at this sweet deal price) and will increase 2% annually. Customer will pay additional transmission costs to load. And plains wind will increase in price by the time this project is planned to come online. Of course, that’s only a plan, not a reality.

            We must not be looking at the same offshore/Great Lakes/Great Plains wind map. Best resources are offshore and on the Great Lakes. Your argument is that it’s too expensive to build, but by the time all the financial realities are realized, there’s probably not a whole lot of savings.

            The East Coast states are beginning to develop offshore wind, expensive or not. Local/regional energy development brings more local economic development than shipping everyone’s energy dollars to other states and foreign investors. It’s no wonder no eastern states have chosen to participate in this project.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “And plains wind will increase in price by the time this project is planned to come online.”

            Almost certainly wrong.

            Still waiting to hear why you have a dog in this fight….

          • eveee

            No customers in states further east? I think we have identified the problem, Houston.

          • neroden

            Bullshit. There are lots of customers in states further east. You’ve clearly never looked at electricity prices further east. This is really super cheap electricity by eastern standards.

          • OneHundredbyFifty

            “We must not be looking at the same offshore/Great Lakes/Great Plains wind map.”

            Which one are you looking at? Can you post a link to it?

        • eveee

          Capacity factor does not equal cost. You just told the readers not to dismiss your understanding about farms. Try not to make the same mistake by telling us about wind power costs and energy.

          • Keryn Newman

            Eveee, if you had bothered to actually read the contract, you’d note that this transmission capacity is priced by the MW.

          • eveee

            Read that little part where it mentions month. I read it. Difference is, I comprehended it.

      • Kansas Landowner

        So now this is about money, not what’s best for the environment, the land or respecting each other? If long distance HVDC is so much cheaper and better than the alternatives, then why doesn’t Clean Line want to fairly compensate property owners for land devaluation and impact on property use? Instead they are relying on eminent domain to take control of 90% of the properties and want to bulldoze thousands of miles of the environment, and some billionaires can pocket the balance. Armchair, how much land are you willing offer up for the cause?

        • Bob_Wallace

          Under eminent domain landowners receive fair compensation. What’s fair is ultimately a court decision.

          I’m sure there are landowners who think they deserve more. And I’m sure there are transmission companies that think they are being charged too much.

          • Kansas Landowner

            Thanks for the most basic fifth grade lesson, people impacted by this project are way more familiar with eminent domain than you give us credit for. How about the fairness of being able to choose who to do business with? Rather than being forced to work with a company that has misled, manipulated and disrespected property owners at every chance? The only way it’s fair is if you give both sides a choice, and if Clean Line was really an example of the free market like they want everyone to believe, they wouldn’t be relying on the government to take 90% of properties. What’s legally fair and morally and ethically fair are two different things. Bob, how much are you willing to offer up so the billionaires can take use of other people’s property?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “How about the fairness of being able to choose who to do business with?”

            That is not an inalienable right. We have given our governments (state and federal) the ability to take land when deemed appropriate.

            I can understand landowners not wanting their land taken. Who would? But if we allowed individual landowners to totally control their land then we would find it impossible to build highways and utility systems.

          • Kansas Landowner

            Bob, how much are you willing to offer up so the billionaires can take use of other people’s property? Just like every other person who supports this project without full understanding, you refuse to answer the question, yet expect others to suffer so a billionaire can profit. This isn’t about need or even what’s cheaper or better (as evidenced by what the MoPSC found in 2015), it’s politics to benefit the wealthy. When a highway took some of our land, we had no objection, the benefit was clear and shared with the public. This is a private project with no public access.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Look, KL, I’m a lot more concerned about climate change and reducing our use of fossil fuels than I am about the net worth of who might make some money off this project.

            You must be one of the landowners who will have lines passing over their land. You might be having a tiny bit of your land used for tower footings (for which you will be fairly compensated). Or you may be a “friend of fossil fuels”, I can’t tell which.

            I do have some understanding of what it means to lose property to utility projects. My grandfather lost two farms, his house and barns, and his community to the first TVA dam. A lot more that having to look out and see power lines where there were none. He had to move to a different part of the state.

            My family was always sad about having to move away from friends and family but they understood that their sacrifice enabled others to have a much higher quality of life.

          • Kansas Landowner

            Another tactic of Clean Line has been to label property owners as being funded by the Kochs. I don’t like the Kochs, they are the same type of people as the investors and people at Clean Line. I support renewables, but long distance transmission is the way of the past, not the future. There are plenty of alternatives available now and more by the time this project would ever be built. Yet, the easement would last forever. Yes, my family owns property that would be impacted. 150-200 ft towers would impact way more than a tiny bit of our land. That’s the point, Clean Line only pays for a tiny bit, not for the rest of the impact. And the rest of the neighbors, who would also be impacted, aren’t compensated at all. I’m sorry your grandfather lost his farms, was the TVA dam a private project with investors who profited from it and controlled it? And was the energy used locally or was all of it transmitted 600-1200 miles away? The quality of life aspect is highly debatable in the Clean Line case, but it’s their excuse to take property. And I’m more concerned about the health of my family because of the undue stress Clean Line has put on us (also not compensated for) and the worry that the World Health Organization is correct when they label high voltage transmission as a cause of cancer, especially in children, than I am concerned about climate change killing them. Again, there are many other ways to tackle fossil fuels and climate change than giving private investors eminent domain across thousands of properties. How about all of those cities starving for renewable energy turn off their skyscraper office lights when nobody is in them?

          • Bob_Wallace

            There is no data supporting cancer caused by transmission lines.

            You should be massively concerned about climate change. Especially if you are somehow involved in agriculture or have children and grandchildren.

            Long distance transmission is a part of our future and likely to be a much larger part as time goes along. If we can move large amounts of power from one region to another it will lower our need to overbuild generation, storage, and backup generation.

            I’m sorry your ox is being gored in this case. But that is more than offset for me by the amount of coal and natural gas that will be avoided. Fewer mountaintops blown up, fewer streams clogged with mining wastes, fewer “mountains” of toxic coal ash endangering people, less air pollution wrecking respiratory systems, fewer NG wells fracked, less methane leaked into the atmosphere.

          • Keryn Newman

            If you’re so worried about what coal and natural gas has done to the environment, then you should be concerned that the communities damaged by it got nothing from it. This is the lesson to be learned — when sacrifice zones in rural America are created for the needs of others in the big cities, those making the sacrifice get no benefit. It’s the same deal with big wind. The communities aren’t seeing the profit. The profits are going to wealthy investors and foreign companies. If you worry about climate change, you need to start at home. Turn off your city skyline lights, donate your retirement fund to big wind companies, put some renewable energy generators in your own backyard. Don’t expect someone else to make a sacrifice for your holy climate change agenda. Landowners who voluntarily host wind generators are paid royalties. Landowners who involuntarily host transmission lines get one time “make whole” payments that don’t even begin to make them whole. If climate change is such a momentary disaster, then perhaps the foreign investors would be willing to share their gold with landowners and pay them royalties? Every day a transmission line exists, it’s making money for its owner. Share in the wealth.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Your claims don’t hold water.

            Coal mining towns lived off coal mines.

            Wind has revived Midwestern towns and communities. Millions of dollars are pouring into the coffers of small towns that were dying. Jobs are being created. Landowners and making sweet money from leasing out very small portions of their land and much of that money is spent back into the local economy.

            “Landowners who involuntarily host transmission lines get one time “make whole” payments that don’t even begin to make them whole. ”

            Clear Line offered 90% of the market price of land underneath the lines. Land that would be fully usable for original purposes once the wire was stretched. That, to me, is an overpayment. Farmers would even get paid for any crop loss during construction and maintenance.

            Owners could select $1,500 annual payments for each tower placed on their property. If you look at how few square feet are used by tower footings you should know that $1,500 would be a very high amount of money compared to what could have been grown on the land.

            I suspect 90+% of the opposition is not from landowners but from those who object to looking at the transmission lines. That’s understandable but, realistically, few of us own our view. Sometimes that great view we enjoyed without paying for it goes away.

          • joe catbacker

            Bob, I suspect you know very little of the modern farming practices that take place on our land today. There is much more land devaluation, and potential crop losses than any person several generations removed from the land can comprehend. We no longer use two-bottom plows and 10 foot wide combines. Today planters are 40 to 60 ft. wide, ground spray rigs are 100 to 120 ft. On some smaller parcels of land having 26×26 ft. square 150 ft. tall lattice work towers running parallel to an existing power line would render some fields almost unfarmable, not to mention the major inconvenience of trying to maneuver around them. Also today, many crop protection treatments are aerially applied by crop-dusting planes. Any crop duster that would be willing to try to operate around a configuration like this, would be seeking a death-wish. So, who pays the farmer’s crop losses that were incurred as a result of not being able to treat his crops because of this obstruction being placed in his field? I’m sure it’s not going to be Clean Line. This question was raised at the Kansas Corporation Commission’s Line Siting Hearing in 2013, and was just glossed over by the Chairman, Mark Sievers. His only comment was, “Well, I guess that would be an issue the landowner would have to address with Clean Line, through the civil courts”. Yah, right! Try getting somewhere with that against Clean Line’s fleet of corporate attorneys, and the deep pockets of C.L.’s investors.

          • Bob_Wallace

            From the page listing Clean Line’s offering –

            Additional payments may be made for other issues,
            such as:
            • Crop damage
            • Commercially marketable timber
            • Center pivot irrigation interference
            • Soil compaction

            Crop dusters work around transmission lines all the time.


            This guy/gal is flying under a regular power line along the road. Very commonly seen in the Central Valley.


          • joe catbacker

            Garbage, Bob. You know nothing about the situation of my land. Any fly-jockey can fly parallel to a 30′ tall distribution line. I already have one transmission line that traverses 2 and 1/2 miles of my property, and the GBE is proposed to lie 150′ to the south of it, and then tree lines to the south of that. I already asked my aerial applicator if he would still be able to fly it, and he replied, “No way”. Yes, you can tell me like the K.C.C. did, that the plane could fly at an angle above these obstructions, but that is just laughable. Very little of the treatments would hit the intended target, and would also cause drift problems to non-target areas. Once again, who will be liable for these crop losses that occur 20, 30, 40, 50 years down the road? You can bet your sweet booties it ain’t gonna be Clean Line.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Then you need to ask for compensation for the problems.

            Ask for enough to pay for application by chopper. Or enough to spray that section by tractor.

            If Clean Line is offering to pay 90% of the land value underneath the lines (200′ wide) then they’ve pretty much paid you for the land. It’s their land with your name on the deed. And you know that you can crop some of that 200′ wide swath.

          • joe catbacker

            Again Bob, you don’t seem to understand. You don’t go driving a tractor around in 10 to 12′ tall corn. The crop damage from the wheel tracks would be unacceptable, plus, if it was even possible, you would not be able to get the spray boom high enough to apply the fungicide over the crop canopy. Chopper, forget it, there are none in my area some have tried, but the initial cost is phenomenal, and the maintenance costs are astronomical, plus you still have the issue of releasing the treatments at a non-effective height. And on another note, what if I don’t like relinquishing the user rights to my land that 3 generations of my family, including myself, have worked, slaved, sweated for, to a bunch of sleazy, filthy rich speculative investors.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Look, Joe, I understand your unhappiness.

            I also understand the unhappiness of the people who are being hurt and will be hurt by climate change. The death toll for the West Virginia flash flood is up to 23 now?

            (Yes, we can’t attribute a single event to climate change but we can clearly attribute the increase in occurrence.)

            Millions of people are going to die. Hundreds of millions are going to become climate refugees. Your problem is small in relation to someone who is watching their cattle die because they can’t be fed and watered. And then watching their children die on the long walk to where food and water might be found.

          • Keryn Newman

            Oh, cry me a river, Bob. Are you from West Virginia? Probably not. Your concern for all these hypothetical others who aren’t even here, while rejecting the concerns of Mr. Catbacker just smacks of arrogance. This whole conversation here is nothing more than a demonstration of your sheer arrogance. You think you can farm better than Catbacker? When’s the last time you drove a combine the size of your house around a transmission tower? How about a demonstration? We’ll let you drive a combine around Clean Line’s president standing in a field. You must come within 5 feet of him without knocking him down, and maintain your speed at the same time. Time is money, you know, you’ve got to get those crops in while the weather holds! Then you can show us your aerial skills flying under and around some transmission lines you can’t really see. I’m sure it’s really easy to do from your armchair.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You do a lot of farming on your suburban lawn, Keryn?

          • John Moore

            Keryn, your comments on here make you seem deranged. You have made several irrational comments here. I wish I had an idea who is behind your comments.
            Also, are you the same person as Catbacker and Kansas Landowner? Because the three of you sound like the same person.
            I smell Koch. Boss Koch, is that you?

          • Keryn Newman

            Wow, John. Ad hominem attacks? I had thought better of you. I’m glad all NRDC’s cards are on the table now. Let’s proceed.

          • Armchair Hydrogeologist

            So do you know why is Clean Line the only group trying to put this line here? There are other rich, powerful groups that want to make money too.

            Theoretically, a competing coalition that can string a line through on the same or slightly different route with less political resistance (possibly by providing better compensation) with the option to later up the capacity later as needed. This could look potentially more lucrative than what Clean Line is doing to prospective investors because it could get through faster and have more upside potential.

            Have the landowners along the line formed an organized class yet?

          • eveee

            I won’t tell you where it is, but there is a website developed to gather support to stop all Midwest transmission. How could that be without outside organized support. No way it’s grass roots. It’s AstroTurf.

          • joe catbacker

            Dear Armchair, I am just a farmer out here trying to scratch out a living in the hinterlands of Kansas, and also to leave somewhat of an uncluttered legacy to pass on to my heirs, so I do not understand all of the intricacies of transmission planning. It might be that Mike Skelly is the only ambitious idiot capable to endeavor such a bone-headed plan, beats me. What I have been told, is that it is much more lucrative for an incumbent in-state utility to build a regional transmission line, after a need has been determined, and it has been ordered to be built by FERC, possibly a savings in pre-planning and permitting expense? Again, I’m not the expert, I can tell you that I have spoken with Westar’s regional transmission manager, and he has told me that he doubted they would ever enlarge or update the existing H-frame wooden structures in the foreseeable. I had asked if we could ever get steel monopoles, rather than the double H-frames which are a real pain to farm around, but he said never. I suppose that would cut to deeply into the shareholder profits, executive compensation packages, and golden parachutes that former CEO David Wittig, and COO Richard Lake executed so excoriatingly against their former company. If you want to do some interesting reading, just google their names for an introductory course in how to loot a company, but I digress. Sort of disheartening, when you get the song and dance from company officials that they just don’t hardly have any money to pay you crop damages, when they enter your property to do maintenance. One thing that’s sort of amazing, is the number of people that think we get paid something for hosting these lines on our property. We get absolutely nothing, as the easements were already in place when my parents and myself bought the properties that I farm now. I know from the deed on one of my parcels, that the owner got $50 for a quarter mile of easement in 1958 when the line was built. I also can tell you that I have suffered more than $50 worth of grief and aggravation in one afternoon on this property from broken gates, gates left open, large gate posts being run over and broken by utility trucks. Westar relieves themselves from all liability, by subcontracting all of their repair and maintenance out, [to mostly out of state contractors], and then you have to try to catch them to try to get any compensation. I can also respond to John Moore above, that I am a genuine fifth generation Kansas farmer. We did form a loosely organized group, consisting of private landowners that ranged from Spearville, KS to St. Joseph, MO to intervene at the K.C.C. in 2013 at the Line Siting Hearing. Most of the donations came in $100 to $500 increments, all from private landowners. Regulatory attorneys come at a very high cost, and no local main street attorney is qualified to intervene before the K.C.C. but we did hire Mitch Herron, a regulatory att. from Wichita. We did have one oil man who piggy-backed on our attorney at the hearings. He made a lot of noise in the papers, as the line went through the center of much of his oil holdings. We did ask him for a contribution, but he declined, as he thought it would taint the intent of our all landowner group, but I think it was mainly because he was a free-loader. I guess you don’t get rich by being too charitable. We knew the approval of the route was a foregone conclusion, but we as landowners wanted to make the political statement, that we were not happy with Clean Line, and also to counter the faux support claimed by CLEP in all of their propaganda.

          • neroden

            We’re no friends of Westar. Clean Line is offering much, much more money to you, to build lines which are much easier to work around.

          • joe catbacker

            26×26 sq. ft. at the base, and 150′ tall lattice work towers standing in the middle of my fields are easier to work around than 60′ tall wooden H-structure double poles spaced 15′ apart? You are delusional neroden. As for the money, I don’t want it, I just want to leave my heirs, the same uncluttered, unimpeded legacy, and an opportunity to farm, similar to the opportunity I received from my parents. Also speaking to the money end of this, our state of Kansas is in dire need of money to fund our schools, and other government entities. Why not run these things along the edge of the right-of-ways of interstate highways, then the state could receive all of the royalties, and lease payments. Then, when all you snobbish Easterner’s have to suffer the inconvenience of having to drive through Kansas on your way to your vacations in the Western states, you can admire the beauty of all those lattice work towers, and at the same time, rest assured that we lazy and ill-mannered Mid-Westerner’s are doing our part to stem the advance of the oncoming juggernaut of this so-called “climate change”.

          • neroden

            Learn to farm competently. Given the methods used to farm here in NY, I have zero respect for the sort of lazy farm practices typically used in Kansas.

          • joe catbacker

            I know that by being from Kansas, I cannot match the elite, superior intellect of you fancy New York farmers, but I believe there is an old Indian saying, that goes something like this, “You should not condemn a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins”.
            You know nothing of my farming operation here in Kansas. By painting all Kansas farmers with the same broad brush, you have just proven, what a snobbish, narrow-minded elitist you are.
            I spent the first 30 years of my farming career, farming the labor-intensive way, and quite frankly, I don’t know if my poor old body can take too much more of it. I used to raise hogs the labor-intensive way, until the large CAFO units forced me out with 5$ fat hogs. I forked and shoveled all the manure out of the barns by hand, and did most of the feeding, and a lot of the watering with 5-gallon buckets, so you better watch who you call lazy.
            My family and I have spent in the multiples of tens of thousands building terraces and grassed waterways at our own expense, without the assistance of any government aid, to keep our precious topsoil in place. We employ cover crops to conserve moisture, and increase soil fertility, and use intensive cattle grazing as well to accomplish this same goal.
            So, mister smarty pants, if you want to call me lazy, why don’t you grab your hoe, and come on out to Kansas to help me chop out resistant weeds in my fields this summer, as I walk all my fields to not allow the advance of chemical resistant weeds on my farm.
            I think as farmers, we have much more in common than you would like to think, so I would appreciate it if you would lose the elitist regional attitude.

          • eveee

            You just read an article that showed the deal offered communities benefits of jobs and cheap electricity. Then you dismiss it and say there is no benefit. You say the owners don’t get enough benefit, but make no concrete proposal with numbers in it for landowners. Pardon me, but we call that empty whinining. someone else made a sacrifice for that road you use and for the electricity you enjoy. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. No appreciation for others, none for you. You get back what you put out.

          • Armchair Hydrogeologist

            It’s strange that they would claim you’re funded by the Kochs. The Kochs are the masters of building gas transmission lines.
            I grew with a Koch gas pipeline cutting through my parents property; in our case they bribed the city by paying for a new high school building in the early 1960s. I’m limited in what I can say but I’m pretty sure the Kochs are going to start building these wind/solar/transmission line projects too.

          • eveee

            So now you don’t like transmission lines because they cause cancer. Nimby is just another way of ignoring breathing coal soot. You think transmission lines cause cancer, but not roads, cars, and coal burning power. Grow up.

          • eveee

            False. The electricity is distributed in Missouri at cheap rates.

          • neroden

            Eminent domain is necessary to build roads, railroads, and power lines *precisely because* there is always some one deranged jackass who refuses to sell for any price, even if 99% of the people on the route happily sell.

            If you don’t like it, perhaps you’d like to see what it would be like if the roads were removed and the associated land returned to the underlying owners. That’s a thing. It’s happened.

            If you’re saying that 99% of property owners were refusing to sell… I say prove it. It’s usually more like 1%.

          • eveee

            may be a reason they call it misery.

        • Hans the Elder

          It is about getting the most environmental bang for the buck.

        • Armchair Hydrogeologist

          How much for fair compensation I do not know – it is quite complex. The environmental and safety impacts of an HVDC line are not huge.

          However there is a real impact to property value due to people’s perception of transmission lines affecting the market value of the property. Valuing this is very complex because it depends on the current and potential land uses, the availability of substitute property, and the regions opinion on what the negatives are. There’s often an irrational fear of transmission lines; particularly the pylons and there’s even a negative perception of the pleated shape of the insulators on these lines that seems to set of the tin foil hats on some people. Regardless of the merits, people will avoid living near a power pylon if there is an affordable alternative.

          If the lines are buried, the costs per mile go up, the reliability goes down, and there’s a greater eco impact. But I bet landowners would care a lot less about it because you can’t see it.

          Courts have often ruled that there can be no eminent domain compensation for “irrational fears” over infrastructure projects even though they affect property values. I disagree with this and think it violates the fair takings principle.

          Unless there’s some unforeseen breakthrough in durable storage costs reducing them below $50/kWh, the HVDC lines will need to get built.

        • eveee

          Wasn’t it you that said landowners aren’t getting enough money. Then you claim everyone else is only interested in money. Not aware if any commenters here will make so much as a thin dime from this. I’m not getting paid to write this. How about you? How about the landowners.

    • John Moore

      False choice. It’s not build it on Lake Michigan but not here. Kansas has some of the best wind on earth. We build here. We transport the energy over transmission lines to where it can be used. Some of the people on this thread act like this concept is some sort of science fiction hype. Ridiculous. Anyone who is serious about keeping from frying the planet knows that we must harness this vast source of clean, cheap energy.
      And oh, by the way, did you see the story today that that all the arctic ice might melt this summer, for the first time in 100,000 years? No?

    • eveee

      False. The entire Great Lakes has 700GW potential. Kansas has over 900.

  • Keryn Newman

    RE: “Missouri ratepayers in the agency’s group of 67 utilities are expected to save $10 million and up yearly, so there’s your public benefit right there. Clean Line notes that the deal, which includes a power purchase agreement with a western Kansas wind generator, would mean a rate of less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour for up to 25 years[.]” You haven’t read the actual contract, have you? I think before you make up crap like this statement, you should actually read the contract. The “deal” doesn’t include any PPA with wind generator(s). And you should know that the “$10M savings” is based on “Clean Line’s preliminary calculations.” Self-serving much?

    • eveee

      Show us a link to your calculations. The website shows this.

      “The Grain Belt Express Clean Line is a participant-funded, merchant model project. Its construction will be paid for by the renewable energy generators and load serving entities that purchase transmission capacity on the line.”

      • Keryn Newman

        Not my calculations. I’m talking about the actual contract this author referenced to form her opinion. I don’t think she’s read it at all. Here’s a link to the actual contract. http://www.stoppathwv.com/documents/MJMEUC%20Contract-Public.pdf

        And please note that transmission capacity is NOT energy. It’s like buying an extension cord that’s not plugged in to anything.

        • John Moore

          Trust me. After the “extension cord” gets laid down, we’ll plug it in. Don’t you worry about that.

          • Keryn Newman

            But, John, surely you know it won’t get laid down until there’s something to plug it into. Who’s going to finance this with no customers? Your donors?

        • eveee

          I read the contract. It gives the rates in MW/month. It a little unusual, because it’s normally shown as MW month. But a unit of power followed by a unit of time is a unit of energy.

          Here’s an example.


          I believe you are incorrect.

    • OneHundredbyFifty

      Such language, surprised it got through the moderators. Her “Crap” is supported by data – https://handlemanpost.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/wind-ppa-prices-through-jan-2014.jpg

      The graph above shows wind power costs that have benefited from better turbines but which have limited access to the best siting due to limited transmission line access. As this project opens up access to one of the best regions in the country we can see that the PPA’s will be coming in at or below $20 / MWhr unless wind power somehow increases in cost when sited in spots with superior wind resource.

      Returning to your attack on the author – From the link you provided “The transmission service from western Kansas to Missouri will provide access to high capacity factor wind that under current tax laws can be produced for approximately 2 cents per kWh. “

      • Kansas Landowner

        And the cost of transmission is 1.167 and 1.667 cents for the two tranches. More than 3 cents when added together, not less, especially for the second tranche. And current tax laws (credits and subsidies) are being phased out. And I can only assume those are token transmission rates as a bribe for some public support (politics, because there was no other public support in Missouri, or Kansas for that matter), and the transmission-only contract is open-ended with exits for the municipalities, so it’s not that meaningful. At the PSC Clean Line has continually said they expected transmission would be in the 2.5 cent range, and the energy hasn’t yet made it to Indiana, the proposed end point. But the heart of the opposition comes from how Clean Line has failed to show any respect to property owners, they are causing more harm for the public perception of wind energy than good.

        • neroden

          Even if you phase out all the subsidies for wind (which won’t happen for decades for existing projects, so the 2 cent price is guaranteed for at least 10 years), that brings the generation price up to 3 cents per kwh; add 1.667 cents per kwh and you have an all-in price of 4.667 cents per kwh.

          You are not going to beat that with anything else, unless perhaps you build a local solar or wind farm.

        • eveee

          You don’t add them to get the price and it’s not a price for electricity. It’s a price for transmission. Transmission allows up to a max power, it can be less, but not more. the cost of electricity is the cost of generation plus transmission. In this case, if the transmission lines were used at 100% of capacity, they would add a cost/kwhr of $1,167/MW month X 1 month/30 days X 1 day/24 hours X 1MW/1000 kwhr = $0.00163 or 0.163 cents/kwhr. The numbers don’t add. That’s what it costs if the total MW power demand doesn’t exceed the first max power limit. If it does go above it costs 1.667/1.167 as much as the first calculation.

          That’s peanuts.

          The cost of electricity is almost all generation. Kansas wind PPAs are going for 2.5 to 3.5c/kwhr.

      • Keryn Newman

        No, it’s not. She said the contract “included a power purchase agreement.” It did not. She also said the utilities are “expected” to see a decrease of $10M yearly, but that’s not in the contract either. Your “data” does not create a PPA between a wind generator and the Missouri cities. Your feigned offense at the word “crap” is, well, crap!

        • eveee

          False. It’s a PPA. You are looking for the words PPA, then forget it. It’s a guaranteed price over a term.

      • Keryn Newman

        RE: “The transmission service from western Kansas to Missouri will provide access to high capacity factor wind that under current tax laws can be produced for approximately 2 cents per kWh. ” Comes from the company’s proposal, not the contract. And do read it carefully. It says “under current tax laws.” What will the tax laws be years from now when new generation might be built for this project? How might that affect price? The federal PTC begins phase out next year. This project is nowhere near approved. In fact, it was rejected when Missouri regulators examined it closely. In addition, how may phase out of state tax incentives additionally affect price? Perhaps you haven’t heard, but I detected a hint of panic at AWEA at the prospect of wind dropping sharply off the price plateau within 5 years.

        • OneHundredbyFifty

          Electricity in MA is $80 / MWhr and that is with gas prices very low. Pretty good bet that this rate will go up.

          PTC is $23 / MWhr for first 10 years and then gone. Interest rates are low and cost of turbines is dropping so a fair, very conservative number is $30 / MWhr for the electricity. If the line is another $30 / MWhr then that leaves $20 / MWhr profit for the energy company. Seems like it will work.

          However we are talking about KS here which has among the best wind resource in the country near Dodge City so safe to shave another $5 – $10 / MWhr off of the cost. Looks like it will work.

        • eveee

          The current tax laws are for wind farms constructed until the PTC goes away post 2020. If they go in now, the PTC applies. It doesn’t matter what the tax laws are in ten years, just what they are when the farms are built. A PPA is good for 15 to 25 years according to the contract. the contract is saying its a limited time offer, and the offer is for cheap energy for a guaranteed long term contract. It’s not going to change in 10 years if it’s accepted now.

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