November 11, 2014

County board approves tax abatement for wind energy project

By NICK SAMUEL | Morris Daily Herald | Nov. 11, 2014 |

MORRIS – Plans to construct a converter station and an overhead electric transmission line in Grundy County moved a step further Monday with the Grundy County Board’s approval of an abatement of property taxes between Rock Island Clean Line and the county.

The abatement states Rock Island Clean Line LLC will pay Grundy County an estimated $104,000 each year for the project up until 2032.

“I’m pleased the board decided to move forward with the converter station,” said Amy Kurt, manager of Clean Line Energy Partners, after Monday’s meeting.

Other major taxing bodies have agreed to a tax abatement for the Clean Line project, including Saratoga Grade School District 60C, Morris Community High School District 101 and the village of Channahon.

“The converter station will be located in the village of Channahon near those two school districts in Grundy County,” Kurt said.

Rock Island Clean Line will pay an estimated $100,000 each year to Channahon up until 2032 and make a one-time estimated payment of $1,755,000 to Morris Community High School and a one-time estimated payment of $2,745,000 to Saratoga Grade School.

On Thursday, the project moves to the Illinois Commerce Commission in Springfield for approval.

“All concerns are being decided by the ICC, including the route of the line and the need of the line; those are the two big things,” Kurt said.

The Rock Island Clean Line project, which is being organized by Clean Line Energy Partners, aims to deliver wind power from northwest Iowa and the surrounding region to communities in Illinois and other states.

The project includes the construction of a 500-mile direct current transmission line, starting in northwest Iowa and ending right outside of Morris, that will deliver 3,500 megawatts of renewable power to communities with a high demand for clean and reliable energy.

It also includes the construction of two converter stations, one in Grundy County and the other in Iowa.

Several aspects of the $2 billion project have been scrutinized by members of the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Farm Bureau, Commonwealth Edison, numerous landowners and some politicians – including state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris. The primary concern is the farmland the project will cut through in Iowas and Illinois.

The overall cost for the project is about $2 billion, with both converter stations costing about $300 million each and the transmission line costing about $1.4 billion.

But, not all board members were pleased with the project.

Eric Rasmusson, John Galloway and Doug Boresi voted no to the abatement for the project Monday night. John Almer abstained from voting.

“It’s not a proven entity, it’s not clean and it really competes with our local employment,” Galloway said after the meeting, referring to the local nuclear stations located in and around Grundy County.

Even if the ICC approves the project Thursday, it also would need to be approved by the Iowa Utility Board, as well.

URL to article: