Clean Line: Illinois Supreme Court to review Appellate Court’s decision on Rock Island project

Clean Line Energy Partners in a Nov. 23 statement said that the Illinois Supreme Court has decided to review the Third District Appellate Court of Illinois’ August decision, which reversed the Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC) approval of the Rock Island Clean Line transmission project.

As reported, finding that Rock Island Clean Line LLC, which is developing the power line, is not a "public utility," the Appellate Court on Aug. 10 threw out the ICC’s approval of the project. Illinois Landowners Alliance (ILA), the Illinois Agricultural Association (IAA) and in-state transmission owner Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), an Exelon (NYSE:EXC) company, had petitioned that court for review of the ICC’s order that allowed Rock Island Clean Line to operate as a public utility under the Public Utilities Act, and granted the company a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to build, operate, and maintain the transmission line.

On appeal, petitioners argued that the application should have been dismissed as a matter of law because Rock Island is not a public utility and the commission’s findings in favor of a CPCN were not supported by substantial evidence. The Aug. 10 court decision said, "We reverse the commission’s order granting the certificate and remand for further proceedings."

Rock Island Clean Line and supporters of the line subsequently asked the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn the lower court ruling that went against the project, which as noted on its website, is a 500-mile overhead HVDC transmission line that would deliver 3,500 MW from northwest Iowa and the surrounding region to communities in Illinois and other states to the east that have a strong demand for clean energy. 

Clean Line Energy on Nov. 23 said that based on a typical schedule, the Illinois Supreme Court could render its decision by May 2017. 

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3228 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at