What We're Thinking

Clean Line to Bring Millions of Dollars in Savings to Electricity Markets in Missouri and Illinois

Posted on 05/14/2015 by Allison Copple

Delivering low-cost wind power to benefit Missouri and Illinois
Wholesale power prices in both Missouri and Illinois will be reduced by millions of dollars if the Grain Belt Express Clean Line receives the go-ahead from the state regulatory commissions. Clean Line commissioned Leidos Engineering to study the effect of the Grain Belt Express project on power markets in Illinois and Missouri. Here what they found:  

Just as power from other sources such as coal or nuclear generation enters the transmission grid at a fixed location and is delivered to customers, the wind power delivered by the Grain Belt Express will enter the grid at two locations depicted in the map below and flow through the existing transmission grid to homes and businesses.

Overview map of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line

Measuring the Reduction in Wholesale Prices
In order to quantify the benefits of the low-cost power delivered to Missouri and Illinois, Leidos used a program widely used in the electricity industry to simulate the wholesale electricity markets, called PROMOD.  Leidos Engineering confirmed that the low-cost energy injected into the grid by the Grain Belt Express will cause wholesale prices for electricity to fall by millions of dollars in the first year of operation in Missouri and Illinois. The study first projected the hourly behavior of the eastern portion of the U.S. power grid, including Missouri and Illinois. After establishing a baseline model of the wholesale market, the program was conducted again, this time including the wind energy that will be injected into the existing transmission system by the Grain Belt Express project. The result shows the impact of the project on the behavior of the electricity market for the entire year.

The low-cost power delivered by Grain Belt Express replaces more expensive generation that would have otherwise been used to supply the electricity demand for the region.

A new source for renewable energy
In addition to providing low-cost power to Illinois and Missouri, the Grain Belt Express will help both states meet their growing demand for new renewable energy resources. Demand for new renewable energy resources is driven by the states’ renewable portfolio standards, and by the public interest in obtaining more energy from environmentally friendly resources. The Grain Belt Express will enable the development of new wind farms that need the Grain Belt Express to deliver their cost-effective wind energy to energy markets in Missouri and Illinois. The Grain Belt Express is an important part of Missouri’s and Illinois’ energy future.