A company based in Houston, Texas, is planning to build an overhead high-voltage transmission line from northwest Iowa to Illinois and other states east of the Mississippi River. The power line would deliver electricity from wind turbines in northwest Iowa to cities in Illinois and Eastern states.
Clean Line Energy is the company wanting to build this transmission line, and the project is called the Rock Island Clean Line or RICL project. If built, the line would cross 16 Iowa counties, would stretch 500 miles and involve over 1,000 landowners in Iowa. Some say up to 2,200 landowners in total.
Starting in O'Brien County in far northwest Iowa, near Sanborn, the line would travel 375 miles in Iowa, cross the border near Davenport, and go another 125 miles in Illinois, ending up at Morris, Illinois. The line would deliver electricity to Illinois communities, including the Chicago area.
The company is holding public information meetings this fall in Illinois and in Iowa regarding RICL. This week, the latest series of meetings is being held in Iowa. They are Dec. 3 in Benton County and in Linn County, Dec. 4 in Jones County and Cedar County, and Dec. 5 in Scott County. The project has to be approved by the Iowa Utilities Board before the power line can be built. Beginning with this fall's public information meetings and then moving through the approval process, the line could take five to seven years to complete.
Some landowners see Rock Island Clean Line as good for Iowa, others are against it, and many still haven't decided
Some farmers and landowners in Iowa have already signed an option with Clean Line Energy. The company has an option on their land for possible construction of the line. People who favor this power line view RICL as a source of employment for Iowans and as a source of property tax revenue for the counties it would run through. Other farmers and landowners are against the line. They see it as a company trying to take private land for the company's benefit. Some also object that the line would cut across prime farmland.