Still seeking area contractors
Grain Belt Express Clean Line has contracted with the St. Louis-based ABB company to manufacture alternating current (AC) transformers for the Green Belt collector system proposed project. The company is still seeking Mexico and Audrain County contractors and businesses interested in bidding other Clean Line project plans.
Clean Line representatives visited Mexico in June at the Elks Lodge to bring public awareness to the project. The corporation plans to hold an Open House meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. July 31 in Mexico at the Knights of Columbus Hall, to present more information about the project and collect feedback from area landowners that will help the company refine the potential routes and ultimately select a proposed route for approval with the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Grain Belt Express Clean Line is an approximately 750-mile overhead, direct current transmission line that will deliver low cost, renewable energy from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and states farther east. The project’s AC collector system will connect roughly 4,000 megawatts of power from new wind farms in Kansas to the direct current line. A network of potential routes for the transmission line will be available at the July meeting.
"Right now we have potential routes still under review and we’re inviting landowners to attend Public Open Houses across the state to view our planning corridor and provide feedback. We have potential routes near Mexico and Audrain County, and look forward to gathering feedback at our upcoming meeting in Mexico," Clean Line Energy Director of Accounts Services Kelly Cooper said. She noted that the ABB agreement was "just a small piece of the bigger puzzle."
According to Cooper, ABB plans to manufacture the transformers at its St. Louis facility. The meeting held at the Mexico Elks Lodge attracted local and regional businesses that could participate in the development, construction, and maintenance of the project. Area business representatives attending included those involved in surveying, equipment rental and concrete.
“We are committed to sourcing materials and services for the Grain Belt Express Clean Line from companies in the project area, and our alliance with ABB in St. Louis is a prime example of the local economic opportunities the project will create in Missouri,” said Clean Line President Michael Skelly. “We look forward to identifying and working with many other local businesses in the project area as we move forward with developing, constructing, and operating the Grain Belt Express Clean Line.”
Missouri Department of Economic Development Acting Director, Mike Downing said, “We applaud Clean Line’s plans to use local suppliers and appreciate its efforts to ensure Missouri businesses and workers benefit from the Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission project.”
The Grain Belt Express Clean Line will move wind energy from its source in the grain belt of the country to markets with strong demand for low-cost, clean power. The transmission line and associated wind farms in Kansas will create hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs in Missouri and the surrounding region, reduce pollution and water usage, and provide local benefits through property taxes.
“ABB is excited to be involved in a project that will deliver low-cost, clean energy to Missouri, where we have two large manufacturing operations that support the wind energy and transmission industries,” said Richard Bocim, ABB’s vice president of commercial operations – transformers. “Our agreement with Grain Belt Express Clean Line will represent 20 jobs in our St. Louis manufacturing facility.”
"We were very pleased to recently announce our partnership with ABB as the preferred supplier to manufacture alternating current transformers for the Grain Belt Express Clean Line’s transmission collector system," said Adhar Johnson, manager, Grain Belt Express Clean Line. "We are committed to using qualified local and regional contractors when possible to assist in the development, construction and maintenance of the transmission line. The local Business Opportunity meetings we hosted in June in Mexico and neighboring communities allowed us to meet with nearly 90 local business representatives to learn more about their capabilities."
Johnson said Grain Belt Express will create approximately 5,000 construction jobs across the project area, and "we look forward to working with additional partners for various aspects of the project."
To learn more about the Grain Belt Express Clean Line, visit www.GrainBeltExpressCleanLine.com.