Frequently Asked Questions
+ Who owns Grain Belt Express?
Grain Belt is owned by Invenergy Transmission LLC (“Invenergy Transmission”), an affiliate of Invenergy, a U.S. company with a successful track record building clean energy projects. In 2020, Invenergy Transmission became the full and sole owner of Grain Belt after acquiring the project from Clean Line Energy Partners. Invenergy Transmission has no affiliation with Clean Line Energy Partners.
+ What is Invenergy’s experience with constructing power infrastructure projects?
Invenergy has successfully completed more than 100 large scale power projects that are currently operating around the world.
+ Why is there a need for transmission lines like Grain Belt Express?
No matter what source of electricity, every type of power plant requires supporting infrastructure, for example pipelines that transport natural gas and railways that deliver coal. Transmission lines are required to transport the electricity generated by any large power plant no matter the energy source, but they are especially important when it comes to renewable energy. That’s because renewable energy “fuel” – wind and sunlight – can only be harnessed where it exists, oftentimes in remote locations. As demand for low-cost, homegrown renewable energy grows, long-distance transmission lines are needed to unlock some of America’s best wind and solar energy resources and deliver the power to consumers.
The U.S. Department of Energy and other government and nongovernmental organizations have stated a clear need for long-distance transmission projects, including high voltage direct current transmission lines like the Grain Belt Express.
+ Does Grain Belt Express have the right of eminent domain?
Grain Belt Express is a regulated public utility in Kansas, Missouri and Indiana, where it has the right of eminent domain. Linear infrastructure projects like transmission lines, roads, pipelines, water lines, and telephone lines are approved when they are in the public interest. In order for these projects to be completed, the right of eminent domain may be granted to obtain the land rights necessary to build the project. Grain Belt Express is committed to reaching voluntarily negotiated agreements with landowners and compensating landowners fairly. Grain Belt Express may seek to acquire an easement through eminent domain, but only as a last resort after exhausting all reasonable attempts at voluntary easement negotiation. Even under eminent domain, an easement grants rights within a certain parcel of land, but landowners still maintain ownership of their land and receive payment for the easement.
+ Who will build Grain Belt Express?
Grain Belt Express is committed to using qualified local and regional contractors, when appropriate and available, to build the project.
+ Will Grain Belt Express affect my electric bill?
If your local utility purchases power from Grain Belt Express, they will incorporate the cost savings from the project into their customers’ electricity bills. If your local utility does not purchase power from Grain Belt Express, your electric bill will not be affected by the project.
+ What is High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Transmission?
High Voltage Direct Current transmission is a safe, efficient, and cost-effective technology to deliver large amounts of electricity over long distances. HVDC transmission lines can transfer significantly more power with greater efficiency, on a smaller footprint, than comparable alternating current (AC) transmission lines. HVDC transmission is a proven technology that has been around since the late 1800s and the birth of the modern electric industry, and it is in use in the United States and throughout the world. Currently, there are more than 20 HVDC transmission lines in the United States and more than 35 across North America.
+ Is Grain Belt Express a regulated entity?
Grain Belt Express is regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission, the Missouri Public Service Commission, and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, and will seek utility status from the Illinois Commerce Commission. Grain Belt Express is also regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In addition, Grain Belt Express will obtain additional permits from a variety of state and federal agencies prior to construction.
+ When will Grain Belt Express begin construction?
A start date for construction has not yet been determined. The timeline of the project is dependent upon remaining regulatory and other permits and approvals in the project states, as well as easement negotiations and commercial discussions.
+ Who will benefit from Grain Belt Express?
Transformative infrastructure projects like Grain Belt Express are good for the communities where they are routed and for the country. Across the counties where the line is routed, Grain Belt will generate tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue to support local public services. With broadband infrastructure planned to be incorporated along with the transmission line, it will also enable rural high-speed internet expansions in communities along the route.
For workers across the Midwest, Grain Belt will be a major driver of job creation. In Kansas, Grain Belt represents a combined $8 billion in total economic investment between the transmission line and associated new renewable energy generation. Grain Belt represents an additional $1 billion energy infrastructure investment in Missouri.
Consumers in Kansas and Missouri alone are projected to see up to $7 billion in energy cost savings during the first 20 years of operations from low-cost, homegrown clean energy delivered via Grain Belt.
In Illinois, the project will also create 2,200 jobs, bring at least $1.2 billion in economic activity, and provide $33 million in payments to local governments over 20 years.
Finally, Grain Belt Express will contribute to clean air and clean water for people as a result of the new wind energy generation that could replace dirtier forms of electricity generation.
+ How many jobs will Grain Belt Express create?
Grain Belt Express will create thousands of jobs during construction, and hundreds of manufacturing, project support and operations jobs.
+ Is wind power cost effective?
In many parts of the US, wind energy is now the most affordable source of new electricity generation. American wind power saves consumers money and makes energy markets more competitive. Wind’s costs have fallen over 70 percent over the past decade as wind turbine technology has improved, leading more and more utilities and large energy users to add more wind power to their generation mix. Wind power also stabilizes electricity rates, as it is typically sold under fixed-price contracts and requires no fuel, protecting consumers from volatility in the price of fossil fuels.
+ What happens when the wind stops blowing?
Wind power works together with other sources of power generation to deliver electricity reliably. Utilities purchase renewable power to add diversity to their generation mix. When the wind blows, other power plants can ramp down and save fuel. Conversely, when the wind stops blowing, other sources of power generation – including solar, natural gas, coal, nuclear, or hydroelectric – pick up the slack.