Tri States Public Radio Staff
Illinois Rivers Project
Wed October 3, 2012
Ameren Selects Route for New Transmission Lines
The Illinois Commerce Commission will soon be asked to approve the route for new transmission lines that will stretch from the Mississippi River to the Indiana border.
Ameren Transmission Company is calling it the Illinois Rivers Project. It will run near communities such as Quincy, Pawnee, and Mt Zion plus there will be a branch extending north from Meredosia to Ipava.
Ameren Transmission’s Leigh Morris said the lines will help bring renewable energy to Illinois and other states that will be requiring utilities to achieve certain standards.
“For example, in Illinois (by) the year 2025, 25% of the energy that Ameren Illinois delivers must come from renewable sources,” Morris said.
Morris said the company came up with its preferred route after holding public forums and conducting extensive research that included flying over the route in a helicopter. He said the company tried to stay away from farmland and residential areas but those could not be entirely avoided in the 330-mile corridor.
Morris said the preferred route will be submitted to the ICC in November. He said the commission will then have a maximum of 225 days to review, hold hearings, and otherwise gather information before issuing its final order on the route for the lines.
“They either have to approve a route or they would have to reject the petition,” Morris said. “To reject the petition they would have to say the project is not necessary or the company cannot afford to build it.”
Morris said land owners who will be impacted by the route will be contacted once the ICC announces its decision.
He said the cost is not yet known but he believes the price tag will probably be around $1 billion.