Wind energy firm trying again for approval of cross-country line

A renewable energy company again faced opposition from landowners Monday as it tried for the second time to win one of the final pieces of regulatory approval needed to carry wind power east from the nation’s heartland over one of the country’s longest transmission lines.

Missouri utility regulators began hearing testimony on a request from Clean Line Energy to build a high-voltage transmission line from western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois to an Indiana power grid that connects with eastern states. Along the way, the line also could supply power to the equivalent of 200,000 Missouri homes.

The Houston-based company already has won approval from other states for its 780-mile-long power line. But the Missouri Public Service Commission rejected its request in July 2015 while questioning its local benefit and the burden on landowners in its path.

So Clean Line Energy retooled its proposal and is trying again — this time, attempting to persuade regulators of its need by lining up dozens of Missouri municipal utilities as customers and expanding landowner protections.

The power line, dubbed the Grain Belt Express, has come to highlight one of the toughest challenges for those seeking to nudge the U.S. toward a greater reliance on renewable energy.

The Missouri regulatory hearing is scheduled to last a full week, and a decision may not come for several additional weeks or months.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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