Ameren Transmission expects CPCN for Illinois Rivers project in July 2013

Ameren Transmission expects to apply for its certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) with the Illinois Commerce Commission for the Illinois Rivers project in November, after concluding three public open houses, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub June 21.

Because of the size of the project, the company expects the commission to use the maximum number of days available, 225, to consider the request and issue its decision in July 2013.

“We are not anticipating a decision prior to that time,” spokesperson Leigh Morris said.

Illinois Rivers is a 331-mile, 345-kV line that starts in Palmyra, Mo., and passes through Pawnee, Ill., to Sugar Creek, Ind. The portions of the line outside of Illinois are short, Morris said, adding that Ameren Transmission is only concerned at present with the portion that runs through Illinois.

The Midwest ISO has included the project in its multi-value project (MVP) portfolio. Illinois Rivers is estimated to cost between $840m and $1.4bn, according to TransmissionHub data.

The first segment of Illinois Rivers will enter service in 2016, with the entire line entering service in 2019, Morris said. The first segment has not yet been determined, he added.

The project currently runs a 40-mile corridor. Ameren Transmission concluded its first round of open houses that began in May, and will hold its second and third rounds of open houses in July and September, respectively, Morris said.

“In the second round we will have possible routes identified, and then in the third round, we have what would be identified as a primary route,” Morris said, adding the company must have at least one alternative route, but may have at least two alternative routes in some areas.

Once Ameren Transmission receives word on the CPCN, the company will begin obtaining perpetual easements for the 150-foot right-of-way.

Among potentially affected landowners’ top three sensitivities were impacts to agricultural land, to residential areas and to wetlands and timberlands, Morris said. He added the company does not yet know whether the project will traverse federal land.

Updates on other projects

Ameren Transmission also has proposed the Spoon River project, but there has been no work on that project yet, Morris said.

Spoon River is a 70-mile, 345-kV line in Illinois extending from Fargo to Galesburg and on to Oak Grove, according to TransmissionHub data. The project is expected to cost about $146m. 

The project is part of Phase 1 of Ameren Transmission’s Grand Rivers project, which involves $3 billion in overall investment during the next 15 years.

Ameren Illinois in August will start the public process for the Fargo-Maple Ridge transmission line, a 20-mile 345-kV line that will service Peoria County, Ill. The company will launch a website for the project,, on July 16.

Ameren Transmission and Ameren Illinois are subsidiaries of Ameren (NYSE:AEE).

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.