Ameren Illinois to file application for new 345-kV line under expedited review law

Ameren Illinois plans to submit an application to the Illinois Corporation Commission (ICC) under the state’s expedited transmission review law within the next several days, seeking permission to build a $26.7m, 345-kV transmission line to enhance reliability of its system in and around Bloomington, Ill.

Under the law passed in 2010, the ICC is required to issue its decision “with findings of fact and conclusions of law granting or denying the application no later than 150 days after the application is filed,” according to the legislation, though the ICC can add an additional 75 days to the review process “for good cause,” thus extending the maximum review time to 225 days.

To date, the utility has filed one case under the expedited law and the ICC added the additional 75 days to that case, a spokesperson for the utility told TransmissionHub on Feb. 27. “We would anticipate that they would do the same with this case,” the spokesperson said. “It’s still far less time” than the old process, which had no time limit for review, and “took a minimum of 18 months,” the spokesperson said.

The utility has concluded three public hearings on the line and is preparing the documentation necessary for filing the application, including a detailed description of the project and required engineering data.

Once the application is filed, Ameren Illinois becomes a participant and remains a participant until the ICC issues the CPCN. When the CPCN is issued, the matter is returned to the utility to secure the necessary easements and “all of the other work that needs to be done to actually build the line,” the spokesperson said.

The line would connect the existing Brokaw and South Bloomington substations along a route that would extend from 5.8 to 6.9 miles, depending on the route selected.

At present, the utility expects to place the line in service in June 2015.