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Local

Clean Line Energy puts its money where its lines are

As required in Iowa, firm offers to also pay local taxing bodies

This shows the potential size and type of a typical monopole structure that Clean Line Energy is proposing it may use for its transmission line.
This shows the potential size and type of a typical monopole structure that Clean Line Energy is proposing it may use for its transmission line.

Grundy County and several other local taxing districts have the state of Iowa to thank for a likely influx of money that should be headed their way.
 
The money – expected to be around $140,000 a year for 20 years – will be paid by Clean Line Energy for two decades after the electric transmission line proposed by the company is commissioned for service. The funds, according to the agreement the Grundy County Board approved Tuesday, will be remitted to the county and then distributed to impacted taxing bodies based upon property index numbers.
 
Doug Jones, the regional outreach manager for Clean Line Energy, explained to the board that the funds the company is offering to pay are based on a fee of $7,000 per linear mile of transmission line. It is anticipated there will be about 20 miles of line in Grundy County.
 
The offer is being made, Jones explained, because a statute in the state of Iowa requires such a fee be paid for transmission lines in lieu of property taxes. The company felt it would be fair and equitable, therefore, to make the same payments within Illinois. Neither Grundy County nor any of the impacted taxing districts within the county tax transmission lines or utility easements.
 
In exchange for the financial gain, the agreement notes, “the county shall cooperate with the developer on a good-faith basis and provide positive assistance as necessary (such as with public hearings) during the pre-construction, construction, and operational phases of the project. This support will specifically include working with the developer to secure a necessary county road use agreement.”
 
Clean Line Energy is developing a 500-mile, high-voltage, direct-current electric transmission line to connect wind generation sites in northwest Iowa and bordering states with energy demand centers in Illinois and farther east. A portion of the project will be constructed in Goose Lake, Aux Sable, Saratoga and Nettle Creek townships, with a substation located at the old Collins Station site.
 
Additionally, the company has approached the village of Channahon about siting an electricity converter station in a rural portion of the village. Jones told the Channahon Village Board Monday the company would like to build the converter station on an 85-acre piece of land owned by Five Star off Bungalow Road, near the business Utility Concrete.

The entire Clean Line Energy project would be privately financed using direct current, which is more efficient than transporting alternating current. DC also leaves a much smaller footprint than AC and has improved reliability. Wind energy is also much more environmentally friendly.

If the project goes through, construction could begin in 2014 and the system could go online late in 2016.

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