Ameren’s (NYSE:AEE) Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI), in a Dec. 29, 2016, verified petition filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), is seeking ICC approval of a modified route between Mt. Zion and Kansas, Ill., for its approved 345-kV Illinois Rivers Project.
As noted in the verified petition, the ICC issued ATXI a certificate of public convenience and necessity that authorized the company to build, operate and maintain the project. The certificate approved a route for the project, including a segment between substations in Mt. Zion and Kansas, Ill., the company said.
After the ICC issued its order approving the project, ATXI said that it engaged in negotiations for necessary land rights along the approved Mt. Zion to Kansas route. During those negotiations, several landowners presented the company with a proposal to relocate a 2.07-mile portion of the route, the company said, adding that all of the landowners whose property is crossed by that proposed modification are in agreement with it.
The requested modification would move a two-mile section of the route about 1,200 feet east of the centerline of the approved route, requiring relocation of 13 poles, the company said. The landowners whose properties are crossed by the modified route have agreed in principle with the modification, and the modified route would no longer cross the properties of other landowners previously impacted by the originally approved transmission line route, the company said.
The Mt. Zion to Kansas portion of the project is necessary to provide the benefits of adequate, reliable and efficient electric service, including the reliable delivery of renewable energy, and the development of an effectively competitive electricity market that operates efficiently and is equitable to all customers, the company said.
The modification that ATXI proposes is a limited and reasonable adjustment to the approved route for the project, and it does not materially change the overall route approved, the company said. With the modification, the route affects three fewer landowners than the originally approved route, and the route would be about 0.08 miles shorter than the originally approved route, the company said.
From a strictly engineering and construction perspective, the cost of the modified route is about $60,000 more than the approved route due to the addition of two heavy angle structures, the company said. However, ATXI said that it would obtain offsetting savings in the form of real estate acquisition cost reductions and would not need to seek eminent domain authority from the ICC or the courts with respect to the land rights along the modified portion of the route.
ATXI said that it does not anticipate that the modification would have any impact on cultural, historical and archaeological resources, or on any endangered species.
Among other things, the company noted that the ICC has already concluded that the project is necessary to address transmission and reliability needs in an efficient and equitable manner and will benefit the development of a competitive electricity market. The company said that the proposed modification to the Mt. Zion to Kansas segment would not alter the purpose of, or the need, for the project.