Missouri regulators approve stipulation involving Ameren’s Mark Twain project

The Missouri Public Service Commission – in an order issued on Jan. 10, with an effective date of Jan. 20 – approved a unanimous stipulation and agreement involving Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois’ (ATXI) proposed Mark Twain Transmission Project, subject to certain conditions.

As noted in the order, ATXI in September 2017 applied to the commission for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to build the project, which is planned to go through the counties of Marion, Knox, Adair, Schuyler, and Lewis, mostly via existing transmission easements owned by Northeast Missouri Electric Power Cooperative and Union Electric Company d/b/a Ameren Missouri.

According to the company’s website, the 100-mile, 345-kV line and substation will be built in northeast Missouri, with the line to run from Palmyra to Kirksville in Missouri and north to the Iowa border. The project is planned to be in service in 2019, according to the site.

ATXI submitted proof that all of those counties, as well as the City of Kirksville, assent to the company building the project, the commission said in its order.

The commission said that it received intervention requests – and granted those requests – from the Midcontinent ISO (MISO); Ameren Missouri; Neighbors United Against Ameren’s Power Line (Neighbors United); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; AFL-CIO; Local Union No. 2; and Wind on the Wires. The commission noted that on Dec. 4, 2017, it granted Neighbors United’s Dec. 1, 2017, request to withdraw as a party; Neighbors United said that it did not object to the commission granting ATXI the CCN.

The remaining parties on Jan. 5 filed the unanimous stipulation and agreement, agreeing that ATXI should receive the requested certificate, subject to certain conditions, the commission said.

The commission noted that the project is needed to integrate wind energy in Missouri and to assist Missouri public utilities in complying with the state’s renewable energy standard.

Furthermore, the commission noted that ATXI is qualified and financially able to build the project, which is economically feasible because Ameren Missouri customers should receive benefits in excess of transmission charges.

The project will likely lead to reductions in Missourians’ ultimate electric rates as compared to rates that would be paid without the project, the commission said.

In addition, the project will generate significant property tax revenues for the counties through which the project will be built, and will promote economic development in the region, the commission said, adding that the project is in the public interest.

The commission said that the conditions in the stipulation are virtually identical to the conditions that the commission imposed upon ATXI in a prior case involving the project.

The commission noted that throughout the right of way (ROW) acquisition process, ATXI will use all reasonable efforts to abide by the depicted route on each of the 405 parcels identified as of the filing of its application as parcels over which an easement will be required, but will be allowed to deviate from the depicted route within one of the 405 parcels in two scenarios.

For instance, if surveys or testing do not necessitate a deviation, then ATXI may deviate from the depicted route on a particular parcel if ATXI and the landowner agree, for example, upon request of the landowner and ATXI’s agreement with the request, the commission said.

Absent a voluntary agreement for the purchase of the property rights, the line is to not be located so that a residential structure currently occupied by the property owners will be removed or located in the easement requiring the owners to move or relocate from the property.

The commission added that prior to the commencement of construction on a parcel, ATXI will secure an easement that will include a surveyed legal description showing the precise dimension, including the length and width, for the permanent transmission line easement area for each affected parcel.

Among other things, the commission said that ATXI is to file with the commission all required government approvals and permits before beginning construction on that part of the project where the approvals and permits are required.

The commission said that its Nov. 30, 2017, order setting the procedural schedule is cancelled. As TransmissionHub reported, formal evidentiary hearings regarding the line were to begin on Feb. 20.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 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 clinares@endeavorb2b.com.