If you live in Audrain County and aren’t aware, industrial solar farms, nearly 400 ft. tall wind turbines, and approximately 160 ft. tall transmission towers carrying 2,500 MW of power through their lines, are being planned for your near future.
While the solar farms and wind turbines are voluntarily leased out on their land by your fellow landowners, the transmission line from Grain Belt Express is not.
Instead, Grain Belt Express is forcing its way across Missouri and through Monroe, Audrain, and Callaway Counties via eminent domain.
The Solar Farms, Wind Turbines, and Transmission Line Relationship
While some residents have no problem with wind turbines and solar farms, but are against the transmission lines, what they don’t understand is that all of these companies are connected.
The solar and wind companies need the transmission lines to move their generated electricity. The transmission lines need the wind and solar farms to use their lines to move the electricity.
If you are a farmer or landowner thinking of leasing your land to industrial wind or solar project developers, keep in mind that when you open the door to one of these companies, you open your door to ALL of them, including ones that can use eminent domain to take your property for their profit.
Given how intentionally discreet these companies tend to be with the details of their projects, here are the projects in Audrain County we know about:
• Huck Finn Solar Project (EDF Renewables/Ameren Missouri): ¹2,500 acres on the border of Ralls and Audrain Counties, with an estimated 2,050 acres in Audrain County and 450 acres in Ralls County
• Envoy Solar (Azimuth Renewables/Birch Creek Development): ²438 acres with 128,000 solar panels located south of Vandiver Village and Norfolk and Western Railroad, east of the A.P. Green facility and west of Highway 54 in Mexico
• Firebrick Wind Project (Cordelia Power/Tenaska): ³100 wind turbines nearly 400 ft. tall will be erected east of Mexico on 30,000 acres as part of a 30-year project. The project began in Jan. 2020 with the first landowner signed up in Feb. 2020. Construction is set to begin in 2025 and become operational in 2026.
• Grain Belt Express is attempting to use eminent domain through Missouri and as part of their 40-mile ‘Tiger Connector‘ high-voltage transmission line with nearly 160 ft. towers through Monroe, Audrain, and Callaway County. The line will carry renewably generated electricity that will connect with the McCredie and (under construction) Burns substations north of Kingdom City
• Altona Solar: 300 acres north of Centralia is currently under construction. Locals say the developer is seeking additional land.
*All of the above information regarding the wind, solar, and transmission line projects will be updated as more information and updates are known.
Sources: ¹https://www.eqmagpro.com/solar-project-coming-to-audrain-ralls-counties/ and https://www.wgem.com/2022/07/29/ameren-missouri-build-largest-ever-solar-facility-ralls-audrain-counties/
²https://www.centralmoinfo.com/mexico-approves-solar-farm/, https://kxeo.com/2023/04/12/mexico-city-councils-approves-permit-to-construct-solar-farm/, and https://azimuth-renewables.com/envoy-solar/
³https://www.vandalialeader.com/index.php/cordelio-power-shares-progress-on-firebrick-wind-project/, https://www.power-technology.com/marketdata/power-plant-profile-firebrick-wind-farm-us/, and https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1FNQ4I7W5wY46qc3yV70GKa02gFh4Vq8&ll=39.25550560731583%2C-91.59370138888889&z=13
Firebrick Wind Project Location Details
Details of where this wind farm or wind turbine locations will be are currently unknown. When we inquired to the writer of the most recent article about this project we could find in ‘The Vandalia Leader’ from March 2023, we were told he “couldn’t get any definitive answers on exact locations. Cordelio would only say that the leased properties were close to Vandalia city limits.”
In our research, we found that the ‘Northeast Missouri Wind Info.‘ site shared the map below regarding permits they found for proposed wind turbine projects in Audrain County as of 6/15/22. This may give some idea of where the turbines could be put up.
Grain Belt Express and Tiger Connector Details
In addition to the wind and solar companies trying to force their way into Audrain County through their deceptive ways, the county has also been targeted by Grain Belt Express.
Grain Belt Express is trying to run a 5,000 MW high-voltage transmission line to carry wind turbine-generated electricity through Missouri from Kansas to Indiana. Along that route, they are trying to connect to the McCredie power substation, and the new Burns substation if approved by grid officials, to offload their electricity via the ‘Tiger Connector’.
This line, proposed to be built near our homes and across our fields and pastures on approximately 160 ft. tall towers, will carry 2,500 MW.
At a Public Service Commission (PSC) hearing in March ’23 on approving Grainbelt’s request to run their ‘Tiger Connector’ line, many landowners spoke out against it, sharing their bad experiences with Grain Belt Express.
From seniors being threatened to landowners being lied to about being the only ones to not sign their agreement, there were a number of stories depicting what kind of company Grain Belt Express is and how they feel about those whose land they want to take.
One farmer who was concerned about some trees his cattle calved in being removed for the transmission line, was told by Grain Belt Express that the line wouldn’t be moved to accommodate his cattle.
In conclusion, a privately owned, FOR-PROFIT company is trying to FORCE Audrain County and residents from neighboring counties to give up their land for this transmission line, so the company can make money on the renewable electricity generated that it is mostly sending out-of-state, from wind and solar projects most people don’t want.
In October ’23, despite hearing numerous landowners’ testimony, a four-day hearing where many organizations and others spoke out against the line, and with few customers to justify the transmission line, the Missouri Public Service Commission chose to approve Grain Belt Express’ request to build the Tiger Connector.
Their Gain is Our Loss
With their nearly $50,000 per acre government subsidies to develop these areas into green energy, this is not something that only a few companies will be partaking in. Nor will it be going away anytime soon.
Instead, there are too many companies to count out there actively discreetly looking and seeking out landowners to solicit for the development of wind and solar. We hear about new ones sending out letters all the time, especially targeting seniors, trusts, and out-of-state landowners.
Many of these companies are subsidiaries and LLCs with U.S. addresses under an umbrella of a foreign-owned company. They also have no long-term history to prove that they keep the promises they tell everyone.
At a meeting at the capital, a lobbyist for the solar industry stated that their goal is to acquire 80,000 acres in Missouri for solar. We’re not sure if that was just his company or the entire solar industry, but either way, that’s a lot of farmland land and landscape going to be affected.
Educated Residents Are Their Biggest Fear
Education about this industry, its tactics, and its dirty little secrets are these companies’ biggest fear, which is why this information MUST be read, shared, and action taken NOW.
As if using our own tax money to take our food-producing farmland, potentially jeopardizing our health, destroying the land and our views, as well as negatively impacting our property value wasn’t bad enough, make sure you read our ‘FACTS’ page here, for more information.
Not Acting is Not an Option
The only way to defend this invasion is for everyone in Audrain County to speak up. Let every local, state, and U.S. representative and decision-making committee listed below know your opposition to these unreliable, intrusive, and potentially harmful tax-payer-funded projects.
This is a massive invasion that is quietly and quickly taking place. As you read this, landowners, quite possibly those around you, are being solicited to lease out their land to wind turbine or solar farm developers for 30+ years.
You may also be unaware that your neighbor has been approached and is selling off their land rights to a transmission line company that may be planning to put their towers near your house.
You’ll have no idea any of this is even a possibility as you look out over your yard at the neighboring field or pasture, enjoying your hard-earned rural view.
Unfortunately, this is a very real possibility for many rural residents and why not acting to protect your county and beloved views is not an option.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Contact your local county commissioners and tell them you DO NOT WANT wind turbines, solar farms, or the Grain Belt Express transmission line in your county.
Let the commissioners know that you don’t want this ugly, unreliable, and dangerous alternative energy taking up our valuable farmland, reducing our property values, and turning our beautiful county into a potentially polluted industrial green energy mess.
Here are the Audrain County Commissioners and their contact information to let them know how you feel about wind, solar, and transmission lines flooding into Audrain County.
Western District Commissioner
County Commissioners Main Phone Number: 573-473-5822
Address: Audrain County Courthouse, 101 N. Jefferson St., Mexico, MO 65265
Contact your state and U.S. representatives and senators and let them know you oppose these companies destroying your beautiful county.
Audrain/Randolph/Monroe/Ralls/Macon/Shelby/Marion/Adair/Knox/Lewis/Schuyler/Scotland/Clark County residents contact Cindy O’Laughlin via her contact page here, and by phone at 573-751-7985
Show your support by reading over this entire website to get all the details of what’s happening. Spread the word by putting up a yard sign, and talking to friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors about how big and serious this issue is. Make your opposition known to your county commissioners and U.S. and state representatives and committees.
Sign up for our newsletter here to get the latest updates about local and state happenings related to our fight against wind, solar, and transmission lines. You’ll also be notified of upcoming meetings and Capitol visits to urge our state legislators to pass laws helping us to have a say against these corporations that are invading our counties. Updates and information will also include what is happening in Callaway County.
Visit the websites below to get updates and learn more:
(Local, national, and worldwide news on wind, solar, Grain Belt Express) Facebook Page: Audrain County, MO•Grain Belt & Solar Invasion
(Worldwide victims of Industrial Wind Turbine Syndrome) Facebook Page: Victims of Industrial Wind
(Updates about life for one family in Australia living next to a wind farm) Facebook Page: Diary of a Wind Farm Neighbour
(Northeast Missouri wind turbine fight, progress, and living with wind turbines) Website: Northeast Missouri Wind Energy Information
(Robert Bryce is an author, journalist, film producer, and podcaster who has been writing about energy, power, innovation, and politics for more than 30 years) Substack Articles: https://robertbryce.substack.com/archive