Purchase photos

Power line developer files application

7/25/2013

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

The developer of a 750-mile, 600,000-volt power line has asked the Kansas Corporation Commission for permission to build the Kansas leg of the project.

The Grain Belt Express Clean Line, as it's called, would include 370 miles of line in Kansas.

The line is designed to pick up electricity from wind farms and ship it northeast into Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. None of the power would be made available for use in Kansas.

Developer Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, based in Houston, last week filed its application to build the line in Kansas, originating in Ford County before meandering northeast.

In the area, the line would pass through Barton, Russell -- approximately 2 miles east of the city of Russell -- and Osborne counties before heading east.

In setting up the timetable for the application, the KCC set a series of four public meetings in cities near where the line will go.

One of the meetings is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 20 in the Ruppenthal Middle School auditorium in Russell. Meetings also are set for Aug. 12 in Seneca, Aug. 14 in Beloit and Aug. 22 in Kinsley.

During the first hour of the meeting, there will be a question-and-answer session with representatives of Clean Line and the KCC staff.

KCC commissioners won't be involved until 7 p.m., when they will convene a formal hearing, complete with a court reporter.

The line is markedly different than most of the massive transmission lines that recently have been built, in that electricity will be converted into direct current -- rather than the more common alternating current in use in homes. The idea is to improve transmission efficiency.

The structures supporting the lines will be massive.

In its filing, Grain Belt said it intends to use both lattice and steel monopole structures, 100 to 175 feet tall, "with taller structures potentially required at river crossings and in certain other situations such as where longer span lengths are required."

Foundations will be 3 to 6 feet in diameter for lattice structures and 7 to 11 feet in diameter for monopoles.

Poles will be spaced from 1,200 feet to 1,500 feet apart.

Grain Belt isn't planning to build any wind farms, and none are in planning to feed into the line.

"The Grain Belt Express Clean Line will enable new wind farms to get built that cannot be built today due to a lack of transmission infrastructure to deliver the energy," spokeswoman Sarah Bray said.

Construction is scheduled to start as early as 2016, with completion as early as 2018.

The KCC has opened a public comment period on the application. Comments can be submitted in writing through Aug. 28.

A decision on the line must be made by Nov. 12.