Talks with local businesses about transmission line project

Some 20 Mexico area businessmen and businesswomen – including engineers, environmental consultants, concrete and road restoration companies – attended a meeting Tuesday evening at the Mexico Elks Lodge to learn about the Grain Belt Express Clean Line Energy transmission project.
The Grain Belt Express Clean Line is a 700-mile overhead, high voltage direct current transmission (HVDC) line that will deliver 3,500 megawatts of low-cost wind power from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and states farther east.
HVDC is proven the most efficient and cost effective technology to move large amounts of power over long distances due to its lower electricity losses and smaller footprint than comparable alternating current (AC) lines.
Clean Line representatives are meeting with local businesses throughout the state involved in surveying, geo-technical engineering, aggregate and concrete, construction equipment rental, trucking and fueling, clearing and grading, restoration services, road construction and many others that can support the transmission line project.
Clean Line's mission is to connect abundant, renewable energy resources to areas that have a high demand for clean, reliable energy. Clean Line is developing a series of transmission projects to move renewable energy to market.
Adhar Johnson, manager of Grain Belt Express Clean Line, told The Mexico Ledger (following the Tuesday meeting) that the company is committed to using vendors and suppliers from the project areas, "so the benefits will be as local as possible."
Johnson also noted that a network of potential routes has been identified for the transmission line and will be presented at a host of Public Open Houses being scheduled in the next weeks.
"The potential routes are still under review at this time and are subject to change based on public feedback. So, we are inviting landowners with property within 'planning corridors' centered around each potential route to provide their input," Johnson said. "At each Public Open House, we will provide information about the Grain Belt Express Clean Line project and collect feedback that will help us refine the potential routes and ultimately select a proposed route to file for approval with the Missouri Public Service Commission."
Johnson said their goal is to route the lines in areas with the least amount of impact on landowners.
"We've been working on this for about two and half years in Missouri. Today's meeting was to let us get to know the local businesses interested in getting involved in the project," Johnson said. "We just want them to know what we are working on and give them the opportunity to bid into the project."
Johnson said the entire project could create as many as 5,000 jobs.
"We're not hiring local companies yet. We are on a timeline and look to start construction as soon as 2016," Johnson said. "We're still in the development phase, but it's never too early to see who can be a part of the project and to get people involved along the way.
"Clean Line is committed to using qualified local and regional contractors in Missouri to assist in the development, construction and maintenance of the transmission line, whenever possible."
Clean Line representatives met with Moberly and Chillicothe businesses Wednesday and a meeting is scheduled today in Hannibal.
To learn more about the Grain Belt Express Clean Line and local business opportunities, visit the websites and / or