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INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT RECEIVES BOOST FROM BUSINESSES, CONSUMER GROUPS AND MUNICIPAL UTILITIES

Posted on 01/25/2017 by Allison Copple

Yesterday, groups representing ratepayers ranging from Missouri households to the state’s largest businesses announced their support of a new electric infrastructure project in Missouri, the Grain Belt Express Clean Line.

These organizations, which sometimes oppose big energy projects, filed testimony with the Missouri Public Service Commission advocating for the approval of this new infrastructure project, citing millions of dollars in lower energy costs to Missourians instead of the typical rate increases associated with new projects. 

“The Grain Belt Express is a free-market solution to the energy demands of Missouri’s largest employers,” stated Diana Vuylsteke, who represents the Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers (MIEC). “Businesses thrive when they have access to low-cost energy. The Grain Belt Express will save Missouri businesses and families millions and strengthen Missouri’s economy.”  

Cara Spencer, the Executive Director of the Consumers Council, added, “too many Missouri families are struggling to make ends meet. And typically energy bills are just going up and up and up. The Grain Belt Express is a rare opportunity to help lower energy costs to Missourians. We hope it receives the needed regulatory approvals to move forward.”

The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission, a group of 68 municipal utilities, expressed their support citing $10 million in annual savings to their wholesale customers through their agreement with the Grain Belt Express.

“Missouri municipalities, Wal-Mart, Missouri consumer organizations, and others’ involvement in our application affirms the tremendous long-term public benefits the Grain Belt Express will provide, if Missouri regulators allow it to proceed,” said Michael Skelly, President of Clean Line Energy. “We are encouraged by the national conversation around American infrastructure projects because we know that critical infrastructure projects like the Grain Belt Express create American jobs, provide energy security, and modernize our nation’s antiquated electric grid.”

Parties filing testimony in support of the project include:

  1. 1. Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission
  2. 2. Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers
  3. 3. Missouri Retailers Association
  4. 4. Consumer Council of Missouri
  5. 5. Wal-Mart
  6. 6. Missouri Department of Economic Development
  7. 7. International Brotherhood of Electric Workers
  8. 8. Infinity Wind Power
  9. 9. Wind on the Wires
  10. 10. Natural Resources Defense Council

The Missouri Department of Economic Development reports that the Grain Belt Express can help advance a number of the goals outlined in the Comprehensive State Energy Plan, including:

  • Diversifying the state’s energy resources,
  • Increasing energy infrastructure investment,
  • Enhancing economic activity,
  • Additional tax revenues to local governments, and
  • Creating jobs through construction and ongoing operation of the Grain Belt Express.

Missouri is the last state were regulatory approval is needed. Kansas, Illinois and Indiana have approved the project.