On Thursday, the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission approved a proposal to increase the public power agency’s renewable energy supply by purchasing long- term transmission service on the Grain Belt Express Clean Line (Grain Belt Express) transmission project.
The agreement between the Grain Belt Express and MJMEUC, a public power agency that serves 67 municipalities throughout Missouri, is expected to save Missouri municipal ratepayers at least $10 million annually when the project becomes operational, according to an analysis performed by MJMEUC.
The Grain Belt Express transmission project will provide MJMEUC member municipalities with long- term transmission access to wind energy from western Kansas, where power can be produced at some of the lowest costs in the country.
MJMEUC’s agreement for transmission service with Grain Belt Express, along with a power purchase agreement with a wind generator in western Kansas, will allow a number of MJMEUC’s member-city utilities to secure delivered wind energy at less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour for up to 25 years, if the Missouri Public Service Commission approves the Grain Belt Express Clean Line.
“The Grain Belt Express transmission project will help reduce electricity prices to consumers and satisfy increasing customer and business demand for clean energy,” said MJMEUC President and General Manager Duncan Kincheloe. “This agreement, along with a PPA for wind energy, will save our member utilities more than $10 million annually since it is timed to replace more costly power contracts for fossil fuel fired generation that will expire as this project is scheduled to come on line.”
Michael Skelly, President of Clean Line Energy, added “This is a great opportunity for thousands of utility customers across Missouri to access the benefits of low-cost wind power delivered directly to the Missouri grid. We are pleased to have the Missouri municipal utilities as a customer for the Grain Belt Express and look forward to applying for regulatory approval in Missouri soon. This is a great step forward for the Grain Belt Express.”
The initial subscriber for MJMEUC is the group of 35 cities known as the Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP) that procure all of their energy from MJMEUC. Chad Davis, MoPEP Committee Chair and Utility Director, Trenton Municipal Utilities, said “this agreement provides one more important tool to help us adjust our energy portfolio in the future when we need to meet changing regulations and a broad range of customer expectations at an affordable price.”
“Historically, the biggest challenge to adding renewable energy to our resource mix has been price and transmission,” said Kyle Gibbs, General Manager for Marshall Municipal Utilities. “This agreement solves both of those issues and delivers tremendous benefits to our member municipalities and their customers.”
The Grain Belt Express Clean Line is a transmission line that will deliver 500 MW of low-cost wind power from western Kansas to Missouri. The Grain Belt Express transmission project will also deliver power to the Illinois, Indiana border. Missouri is the last state of four states where approval is needed for the Grain Belt Express Clean Line; regulatory commissions in Kansas, Illinois and Indiana have approved the project.