Wind Energy Electric Line Project Faces Uncertain Future

O’Brien County, Iowa — A court ruling in Illinois has placed the future of the Rock Island Clean Line in jeopardy again.Rock Island Clean Line wind

According to court records, the Illinois 3rd Appellate Court has reversed the Illinois Commerce Commission decision granting Rock Island Clean Line a certificate of public need and necessity.

The Rock Island Clean Line is a proposed project to build a 500-mile-long electric transmission line through Iowa, starting in O’Brien County, to ship wind power generated in Iowa to Illinois, where it could feed into a grid serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, the District of Columbia, and eight other states in the northeast, according to court documents.

Earlier this year, the Iowa House passed a bill that would probably have doomed the project. Had the bill become law, developers of electric transmission line projects would have had three years to get agreements with 75 percent of affected property owners before Iowa regulators could have given developers eminent domain authority to seize the rest of the properties. The bill passed the House on April 5th on a 63 to 33 vote, and was sent to the Senate where it was assigned to the Government Oversight Committee, chaired by Senator Rob Hogg. Hogg did not take the bill up so it died in Committee.

Proponents of the $2-billion construction project say that if it’s not built, it would also place in jeopardy the fate of $7-billion worth of wind turbines in Iowa. Clean Line could appeal the decision to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Click here for the court decision.

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