Clean Line Energy announces agreements with Missouri manufacturing companies
Attendees at the Clean Line news conference January 30 included (left to right) Mike Skelly, President of Clean Line Energy, Roger Roundhouse, General Cable Sr. Vice President, Mike Downing, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Diana Rivera, Grain Belt Express Clean Line Director of Development, William Tolley, President Hubbell Power Systems, and Jeffrey Weingarten, Vice President and General Manager – Distribution Transformers of ABB, Inc.
Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Mike Downing Thursday announced agreements between AIM members Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC and Missouri-based manufacturers ABB, General Cable and Hubbell Power Systems, Inc. to build power lines and transformers for wind-powered energy transmission across northern Missouri.
The three Missouri businesses employ about 1,000 people. The announcement came during a morning news conference at the ABB plant near Jefferson City.
The Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission line project is an approximately 750-mile overhead, direct current transmission line that will deliver up to 3,500 megawatts of renewable power from western Kansas to communities and businesses in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and states farther east. The project represents an approximate $500 million investment in Missouri, and Clean Line is committed to sourcing products and services from manufacturers and contractors in the state.
Clean Line designated ABB in 2013 as the preferred supplier to manufacture alternating current transformers for the Grain Belt Express transmission collector system, where new wind farms will connect to the project in Kansas. ABB plans to manufacture the transformers at its St. Louis facility.
“ABB is the world’s top provider of power grid equipment and services. More than 70 percent of all the high-voltage transformers on the North American power grid were built by ABB or its legacy companies,” said Jeffrey Weingarten, Vice President and General Manager- Distribution Transformers of ABB, Inc. “We strongly support alternative sources of energy like wind and solar, though these renewables must have new power lines to transmit their power to the grid. ABB is pleased to partner with Clean Line Energy as the preferred provider of medium power transformers for the Grain Belt Express Clean Line initiative.”
General Cable will manufacture the steel core for the transmission line conductor and manage ongoing inventory and logistics at its Sedalia facility. General Cable supports Clean Line’s goal of developing a local supply chain and will purchase aluminum rod by partnering with Noranda Aluminum. The partnership will support an expansion of Noranda’s redraw rod production capacity at its aluminum smelter near New Madrid.
“General Cable and our 185 associates at our Sedalia manufacturing facility are very pleased to be part of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line project,” said Roger Roundhouse, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Electric Utility Products for General Cable. “Not only will it provide a steady stream of work to our plant for two years, but it will also offer us a source of lower-cost power to our facility and other manufacturers in Missouri, and create construction jobs.”
Hubbell Power Systems, Inc. has been designated as the preferred supplier of insulators and hardware for the Grain Belt Express transmission line. HPS will manufacture the hardware and the core of the polymer insulators at it Centralia facility and establish a supplier base within the project area to source raw materials from local businesses, including companies in Illinois and Indiana.
To support Grain Belt Express, HPS will invest $9 million in its Centralia plant, where the company employs approximately 600 people. The Grain Belt Express partnership will create an estimated 52 jobs at the Centralia facility for at least two to three years.
“We are pleased that Clean Line decided to work with Hubbell Power Systems to manufacture the conductor hardware assemblies and the polymer insulators for the Grain Belt Express transmission project,” said Hubbell Powers Systems, Inc. president William Tolley. “New energy infrastructure projects like the Grain Belt Express are critical to our investment decision making process.”
In addition to supporting Missouri’s manufacturing base, the Grain Belt Express will create hundreds of construction jobs in Missouri. The project will spur demand for roughly 2,000 new wind turbines and will also create jobs for Missouri’s wind energy companies. According to the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2011, there are 12 manufacturing companies in Missouri that are involved in the wind energy supply chain. ABB Inc. in Jefferson City manufactures transformers for the wind energy industry and is just one example of a Missouri business that could benefit from the wind industry’s growth.
“Clean Line Energy is committed to sourcing as many of the needed materials as possible from local companies in the Grain Belt Express project area,” said Clean Line president Michael Skelly. “We are excited to work with ABB, General Cable, Hubbell Power Systems, and their suppliers, on a project that will power Missouri homes and businesses with clean energy. We believe it is increasingly important to invest in energy infrastructure that will contribute to local economies and create new jobs in communities across Missouri and the region.”
The Grain Belt Express Clear Line will deliver up to 500 megawatts of low-cost, clean power to consumers and businesses in Missouri and provide enough energy to the surrounding region to power more than 1.4 million homes.
Clean Line estimates that property taxes on the transmission line will generate millions of dollars annually in Missouri and will be distributed to counties where the line and converter station are located.