Missouri muni commission buys service on Grain Belt Express Clean Line

The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC) recently 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 $10m annually when the project becomes operational, according to an analysis performed by MJMEUC, the municipal organization said in a June 3 news release.

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 (KWH) hour for up to 25 years, if the Missouri Public Service Commission approves the Grain Belt Express Clean Line.

The transmission deal still requires regulatory approval in Missouri.

When contacted, a spokesperson for MJMEUC said the organization is reviewing options for western Kansas wind generation and anticipates signing a PPA with a generator by the end of the year.

The initial subscriber for MJMEUC is the group of 35 cities known as the Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP) that procure all of their energy from MJMEUC.

The Grain Belt Express Clean Line is a transmission line that will deliver 500 MW of low-cost wind power from western Kansas to Missouri. The Grain Belt Express transmission project will also deliver power to the Illinois, Indiana border. Missouri is the last state of four states where approval is needed for the Grain Belt Express Clean Line; regulatory commissions in Kansas, Illinois and Indiana have approved the project.

“The Grain Belt Express transmission project will help reduce electricity prices to consumers and satisfy increasing customer and business demand for clean energy,” said MJMEUC President and General Manager Duncan Kincheloe.

“This agreement, along with a PPA for wind energy, will save our member utilities more than $10 million annually since it is timed to replace more costly power contracts for fossil fuel fired generation that will expire as this project is scheduled to come on line,” Kincheloe said.

Michael Skelly, President of Clean Line Energy, added “This is a great opportunity for thousands of utility customers across Missouri to access the benefits of low-cost wind power delivered directly to the Missouri grid.”

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.