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RICL files route with ICC

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 2:45 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO — On Wednesday, Rock Island Clean Line (RICL) LLC requested public utility status and approval to build a 3,500 megawatt transmission line in northern Illinois.

Both the preferred route and the alternate route cut directly across the northern townships of Bureau County, from Fairfield Township on the west to Clarion Township on the east.

Rock Island Clean Line, an affiliate of Clean Line Energy Partners, based in Houston, Texas, has been looking at possible routes to carry electricity produced from wind farms in South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa to Illinois and eastward. The overhead high voltage direct current transmission line would be about 550 miles long and carry up to 3,500 megawatts of electric power.

According to a press release issued by the company, the Rock Island Clean Line will decrease the annual cost of wholesale electricity used to serve Illinois customers by an estimated $320 million in its first year of operation. Additional economic benefits in Illinois include a direct investment of about $600 million in the state, creating hundreds of jobs for the construction of the transmission line, supporting jobs in the manufacture of equipment for wind farms that will generate power for the line, and providing revenue to local taxing districts.

“The Rock Island Clean Line transmission project is good for Illinois because it creates jobs, benefits consumers by introducing new renewable energy supplies, and significantly reduces pollution,” said Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy.

In its application to the Illinois Commerce Commission, Rock Island formally requested approval of a route for the line.

The preferred route enters Bureau County in Fairfield Township, just south of Route 92. It angles slightly to the south as it moves east across the county, through Greenville, Walnut, Ohio, LaMoille and Clarion townships.

The alternate route enters Bureau County, also in Fairfield Township, but more to the south, just west of New Bedford. It moves straight east until it finally meets up with the preferred route southeast of the village of LaMoille.

For many months, some area residents have been opposed to the project. Signs urging residents to “Block RICL” can be seen along Route 92, among other areas. The Bureau County Republican has hosted a variety of Letters to the Editor from residents who both support and protest this effort.

In Saturday’s BCR, read more about the response to RICL filing.

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