'Looking to Missouri to build America's grid'

Grain Belt Express project to use Missouri companies

Mike Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy, announced Thursday that it had made agreements to benefit Missouri manufacturing companies. The agreements involve ABB, General Cable and Hubbell Power Systems.

Mike Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy, announced Thursday that it had made agreements to benefit Missouri manufacturing companies. The agreements involve ABB, General Cable and Hubbell Power Systems. Photo by Julie Smith.

A partnership announced Thursday could lead to a $500 million investment in Missouri, as Clean Line Energy seeks to build a 750-mile overhead transmission line through four Midwest states.

With representatives from ABB, General Cable, Hubble Power Systems and the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Clean Line Energy officials announced the partnership to have the three companies provide needed parts for the transmission line. Diana Rivera, director of development for Clean Line Energy, said the project would provide clean energy at a low cost, while creating jobs and generating new property tax revenues for communities within the state.

But opponents of the project say the project will devalue existing property and provide little benefit to the state.

The group Block Grain Belt Express-Missouri stated on its website that the project proposes a high voltage direct current transmission line, which would provide power to states east of Missouri and fail to provide any product to the state itself.

“What this means to those of us along this proposed route is that Clean Line Energy wants to put towers and (power lines) across the countryside, right outside our doors, where we work and where our children play,” states the group’s home page. “The developer of this project, Clean Line Energy Partners, claims that cheap, clean energy will be provided to you along with promises of thousands of jobs as well as large sums of money for the local economy in the form of taxes. However, do not be fooled by these empty claims and false promises.”

Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said the project would bring good jobs to the state, as well as increased sales for local companies and increased property tax revenue for communities throughout the state.

“The country is looking to Missouri to build America’s grid,” Downing said.

The project will create about 78 full-time jobs for the life of the project, which is expected to take two or three years. The project will add at least a dozen jobs at ABB’s St. Louis plant, where the transformers used in the project will be made.

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