If you don't know it by know, National Grid is investing $40 million dollars into Clean Line Energy. National Grid, a Great Britain Company, is traded on NYSE and is something of a "legitimate" energy company.
This strategic move possibly explains some mysteries. For the last
couple weeks I have been asking myself why RICL has created two more shell companies
above the flagship company "Clean Line Energy Partners LLC”. There
is now Clean Line Investor Corp and Clean Line Investments LLC.
Why? My first guess was they want as many holding companies as possible
to pad the bills and puff up the “expenses”.
Now it appears that Clean Line was creating additional companies to make
room for NatGrid.
After reading the news that Nat Grid is making an investment in Clean Line,
I wondered if Clean Line Investments was created to invest in other companies
besides Clean Line Energy Partners, like NatGrid. Possibly Clean Line
Investments could purchase $40 million (or more) in NatGrid stock and NatGrid
returns the favor and invests $40 million in Clean Line Energy Partners
LLC. This does sound confusing. When
there are as many shell companies as there are involved with RICL, it's going
to get weird.
This could explain why there are now two shell companies above Clean Line
Energy Partners LLC. It would be a whole
lot simpler if Michael Skelly would have come to Illinois and explained his
company to use like the ICC intended.
Unfortunately he chose to play these games and we now have to speculate
on the companies motivations.
Regardless of shell companies and who is investing in what, this was an
interesting strategic move by Clean Line. There is a real public
perception problem for Clean Line with the company being owned by billionaire
Michael Zilkha and the Ziff Bros. of New York City. This creates a
problem for Clean Line to obtain the right of ways in Illinois for the RICL
Farmers and landowners have objected stating Clean Line desires to take the
land rights, in essence, the land itself and giving it to billionaires through
eminent domain. This is a public relations nightmare for the company
because it is true. RICL wants eminent domain power to take the land for
a nominal fee. Yes, RICL's owners are billionaires.
It's going to be hard for RICL to play the "good for the public"
card when a couple of billionaires will profit. If these venture capital
companies are allowed to sell the RICL powerline to the highest bidder, Michael
Zilkha will be hailed as a visionary, but his profit will come from the land
held by generations of farmers in Illinois.
This is clearly a public relations problem.
Now RICL is able to claim that National Grid is publicly owned.
Illinois residents can buy stocks at the New York Stock Exchange and invest in
National Grid. RICL would like us to think it's almost like investing
directly in Clean Line Energy Partners, but NatGrid's investment is only a
paltry $40 million.
Last I heard, the Rock Island Clean Line project is a $2 Billion
project! Clean Line has four of these sister projects. Rough math
here but 4 projects at $2 billion each and Nat Grid is investing $40 million
equates to a 2% investment.
Should the RICL project go through, their investment in Illinois Right
of Ways will likely exceed $80 million. NatGrid's investment won't even
cover half the cost of Illinois right of ways. Regardless if NatGrid's
investment is two companies investing in each other or an actual
partnership, a $40 million dollar investment is Mickey-Mouse-Cornflakes
insignificant. A 2% investment also does not make RICL a publicly traded
company or give RICL 2% legitimacy as a public utility company.