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Meeting upcoming on electric line

8/14/2013

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

A series of public hearings have been scheduled in connection with a request to build a massive power line across much of Kansas.

The Grain Belt Express line will cross Russell and Osborne counties, transporting 600,000 volts of electricity from not-yet-constructed wind farms. The electricity ultimately will be delivered to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

None of the power will be available for use in Kansas.

But because the line would cut across a long section of Kansas, a series of public hearings have been set by the Kansas Corporation Commission.

One of them will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ruppenthal Middle School in Russell.

Comments on the power line and its route are being sought by the KCC, which already has found the project to be in the public interest. The focus of the hearings will be on its location. Comments also can be made in writing through Aug. 28.

Each of the meetings will follow the same setup, that of providing time for developers of the line and KCC staff to answer questions.

A formal section of the hearing starts at 7 p.m., at which time public comments can be made.

Grain Belt Express representatives will be at the meeting sites from 4 to 6 p.m., and will have detailed maps available for viewing.

The line itself will originate near Spearville.

While the line only will transfer power out of Kansas, it's also going to use direct current to make the transfer. The idea is to make the transfer more efficient.

But it's also massive, carrying nearly twice the electricity an alternating-current line carries.

As a result, the lattice and steel monopole structures to support the lines will be 100 to 175 feet tall, with taller structures in some locations.

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

So far, developers don't have any electricity to feed into the line, which will enable wind farms to be built. Construction is planned to start in 2016.

In addition to the upcoming series of public meetings, the KCC plans to conduct what it calls a technical hearing Oct. 8 in Topeka.

While it's open to the public, KCC staff, developers and other participants will testify.