UPDATE: Neighbors United, which is a collective group of Northeast Missouri citizens and landowners in opposition to the Mark Twain Transmission Project has issued a statement regarding the decision of the PSC.
“While Neighbors United is disappointed that the PSC has voted to grant a CCN for the Mark Twain Transmission Project, we are heartened that this approval is conditioned upon ATXI obtaining assent from all five affected County Commissions, which they do not have. Adair, Schuyler, Marian, Knox, and Shelby Counties have formally opposed this unnecessary and expensive project from the very beginning, and continue to oppose the MTTP in support of landowners and property rights. Neighbors United will continue our fight against the use of eminent domain by a private corporation for financial gain.”
Posted at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, 2016
JEFFERSON CITY—The Missouri Public Service Commission has approved an application filed by Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI) seeking a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to construct a 95 mile electric transmission line (known as the Mark Twain Project) in northeast Missouri. As part of its decision, the Commission has imposed a condition whereby ATXI would need to acquire county commission permissions (assents) before the certificate takes effect. The Commission’s vote was 5-0.
“ATXI does not have assent from any of the counties through which Mark Twain would run,” said the Commission. “ATXI must get assent from each county through which Mark Twain would run before the certificate becomes effective. The Commission believes the plain language of §229.100 RSMo and its own rules require as much. If, however, a reviewing court determines that §229.100 RSMo does not require ATXI to obtain these assents, this condition will, of course, be null and void.”
The Commission, based upon the evidence in the case, determined that ATXI has shown it is entitled to a CCN. “ATXI has shown a need for Mark Twain, qualifications to own and operate it, the financial ability to build it, the economic feasibility of building it, and the public interest that would be served by building it. Notably, there is a benefit to Missouri ratepayers if this CCN is granted.”
The Commission determined in this case that the project is in the public interest because it is needed to: 1) Promote grid reliability; 2) Relieve congestion; 3) Promote renewable energy; 4) Meet local load serving needs; and 5) Provide downward pressure on customer rates.
“The Commission has great sympathy for the affected individual landowners, particularly those in the Amish and Mennonite communities who have certain values and beliefs that are in conflict with the project,” said the Commission. “But the Commission must balance the direct but narrow property interests of a few against the indirect but broad economic and environmental interests of the general public.”
The ATXI 345-kV electric transmission line (the Mark Twain Project) is approximately 95 miles in length, running from the new Maywood Switching Station near Palmyra, Missouri, through Marion, Shelby, Knox and Adair counties to the new Zachary Substation, located near Kirksville, Missouri. The transmission line would then continue north through Adair and Schuyler counties to the Iowa border. ATXI would also have a 2.2 mile 161-kV connector line, a substation and related facilities.
The Mark Twain Project stems from a study conducted by Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO). In 2008, MISO began an extensive study of the regional electric transmission grid to identify transmission needs and develop a planning process to construct transmission projects to meet those needs.
In 2011 and updated in 2014, MISO identified a “multi-value portfolio” (MVP) of 17 transmission projects that would increase the overall reliability and efficiency of the regional transmission grid, meet public policy demands for renewable energy, and provide economic benefits in excess of the portfolio costs. ATXI’s Mark Twain Project consists of the Missouri portion of two of those MVP projects.