Ameren releases route details for Illinois Rivers project

Ameren Transmission Co. (ATX) began the third in its open house series this week for its Illinois Rivers transmission project, setting dates at locations across the state through mid-October and releasing maps detailing the proposed route the line would take between Palmyra, Mo., and Sugar Creek, Ind.

The project – a 345-kV line that was approved by the Midwest ISO (MISO) in 2011 – would run more than 300 miles across the center of Illinois and facilitate access to clean energy resources to the North and West, while improving reliability.

“This line isn’t just for Illinois,” a spokesperson for ATX told TransmissionHub Sept. 25. “It’s a part of MISO’s much bigger, multi-value portfolio and is supposed to open up access to clean energy for the region.”

Ameren Illinois, which serves 1.2 million electric customers in the state, fulfills its requirements for the Illinois renewable portfolio standard through renewable energy credit purchases only. ATX and Ameren Illinois are subsidiaries of Ameren Corp. (NYSE:AEE).

MISO approved the Illinois Rivers line as part of ATX’s larger Grand Rivers project, which also includes the Spoon River transmission line projects in Illinois and the Mark Twain transmission line project in Missouri.

MISO has determined that about 9% of the benefit of the line will go to end users in Illinois.

“That means 9% of the cost of the project will be passed to Illinois customers,” the spokesperson said. “The other 91% will go to a much larger footprint.”

ATX estimates that the construction of the Illinois Rivers line will cost approximately $840m.

The open house series gives residents an opportunity to speak with experts about the project and look at maps of proposed primary and alternate routes. Comments provided by attendees will be taken into consideration by the developer as it moves forward to seek an approval.

“The proposed routes will be filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission in November, and they ultimately decide what is going to be built,” the spokesperson said.

Maps for the routes are only available at the open house meetings at this time.

“We will make maps available on the project website once the open houses are completed,” the spokesperson said. “The reason for that is simple; we want people to come to the open houses because the maps themselves are not going to answer everyone’s questions. When attendees come to the meeting, we can give them a printout that pinpoints exactly where the route impacts a landowner’s property.”