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Grain Belt Express approved by Kansas Corporation Commission

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The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) on Tuesday granted a request to amend the existing regulatory approvals for the Grain Belt Express transmission project. The approval will give Grain Belt Express the ability to finance and construct the project in two phases, the first phase being from Kansas to the Missouri interconnection point, which will allow Kansas to realize the economic benefits of the line more quickly.

The KCC’s order stated, “The proposed amendment… is in the public interest because it expedites the benefits of the Project to Kansas, while maintaining all of the safeguards contained in the Unanimous Settlement Agreement…”

Grain Belt Express will open a path to market for 100 percent domestic wind and solar energy produced in Southwest Kansas, while creating 19,350 direct Kansas jobs from construction of the line and the new generation it is expected to enable.

Due to strong regional demand for affordable and reliable power, Grain Belt Express announced its proposal last summer to increase capacity on the line by 25 percent to 5,000 megawatts, with a total project investment of approximately $7 billion. Since then, this project reconfiguration and phasing proposal has been approved or acknowledged by state regulatory commissions in Indiana in January, Illinois in March, and now Kansas. The only remaining state, Missouri, held evidentiary hearings into the Grain Belt Express request earlier this month and is expected to issue a decision by late summer.

“Grain Belt Express will bring more reliable and affordable power to Midwest families and businesses, and will strengthen national security by increasing our domestic energy supply. The approvals over the last several months by regulators in Kansas and Illinois are crucial milestones and continue the project’s significant momentum,” said Shashank Sane, executive vice president and head of transmission at Invenergy. “Long-distance energy transmission is the missing link that will allow the Midwest to boost our homegrown energy supply to meet demand, improve affordability, and greatly enhance reliability. This approval brings the Grain Belt Express one step closer to providing these critical benefits and becoming a historic energy infrastructure solution for the nation’s heartland.”

The Kansas approval is just one of several key Grain Belt Express milestones that have taken place over the past year, including:

  • In January 2023, Grain Belt Express selected Siemens Energy Inc. to supply the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technology for Phase 1 of the 800-mile project.
  • In March 2023, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) voted to grant Grain Belt Express a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), marking the successful conclusion of a 2-year public input and review process.
  • In April 2023, Invenergy Transmission announced a long-term supply agreement with Prysmian Group North America to supply up to 12,500 miles of domestically manufactured overhead conductor cable through 2029 to support Invenergy’s portfolio of long-distance high-voltage direct-current transmission projects, including Grain Belt Express. As part of the agreement, Invenergy Transmission will provide upfront capital, which will allow Prysmian to invest $22.5 million to expand its existing Williamsport, Pennsylvania, manufacturing facility.
  • This month, Grain Belt Express surpassed 88 percent of the easements needed for the Phase 1 HVDC portion of the project.

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