MPUA continues to endorse Grain Belt ProjectMarch 2023
(Columbia, MO) – Missouri’s hometown electric utilities have reaffirmed their support of the Grain Belt Express transmission project (Grain Belt). A resolution affirming continued support of the project was passed March 9 by the MPUA Board of Directors that represents 120 hometown utility members.
The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) held local public hearings about proposed modifications to the Grain Belt project on March 6-8. Grain Belt Express LLC requested the relocation of a Missouri converter station to Monroe County, an increase to the station’s capacity, and relocation of a 40-mile portion of AC tie line known as the “Tiger Connector”, to connect to an existing Callaway County substation.
“During Grain Belt’s long process of obtaining public, regulatory and legislative approvals, MPUA and our utility members have constantly let the public, agencies and lawmakers know that the transmission project represents millions of dollars to be saved every year for 39 member communities in Missouri,” said John Twitty, MPUA President and CEO. “Those savings will mean lower cost energy for more than 350,000 Missourians, for more than 20 years.”
In June 2016, the Missouri Electric Commission (MEC), a joint action agency of MPUA, approved a proposal to purchase long-term transmission service on the Grain Belt transmission project, to increase the agency’s renewable energy supply by allowing delivery of affordable wind power. Access to electric transmission is increasingly more difficult to find with many congestion points on Missouri’s grid. The PSC granted a certificate of convenience and necessity to construct the Grain Belt Express in March of 2019. The project has been studied for more than seven years, involving countless hearings, testimony, and agreements negotiated to protect consumers and landowners, and determine a fair path forward.
The Grain Belt Express project is expected to bring more than 1,500 jobs and $500 million in infrastructure investment to the state, while requiring no state subsidies. For MPUA communities, timing of the project will replace more costly power contracts set to expire as the transmission project is scheduled to come online.