Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why I Support Block RICL

I am an Illinois farmer who is being affected by the Rock Island Clean Line.

This is not my first right of way situation. Growing up on the farm that has been in our family for generations up to 2011 I have seen 3 pipeline and 1 powerline come through are 2 properties.

Before that my grandfather or great grandfather have another pipeline projects come through the farm.

As a resident of Illinois, I am greatly embarrassed we have another incompetent governor from Chicagoland.

Governor Pat Quinn was once president of the Citizens Utility Board, an alleged consumer watchdog organization looking out for Illinois residents and guarding against high utility prices. Maybe it's a natural part of becoming governor. Maybe it comes from being a Chicago Democrat (note: Quinn resides just outside Chicago in suburban Oak Park), but this governor is not working in the best interests of downstate Illinois residents.

Clean Line Energy has proposed a high-voltage, direct-current power line from northwest Iowa to Morris. The power line will be like those big huge erector set towers on Route 71 between Newark and Yorkville.

From Morris, the electricity is intended to go to the East Coast states … or Chicagoland. Clean Line Energy claims the power will come from windmills, but the power will be "augmented" with power from coal-burning power lines.

Governor Quinn has come out in favor of the proposed Rock Island Clean Line. This power line is not needed, is bad for Illinois, and bad for the nation. The RICL admits at today's electricity prices less than $30 per megawatt hour, the project is not profitable. Electricity needs to climb another 50 percent to $45 per mwh to make this project viable.

Illinois has a surplus of electricity. Exelon is looking to sell electricity to the East Coast states, because Illinois is producing more electricity than it needs. Illinois also has enough electricity from windmills. Every year Illinois is adding more windmills. In spite of what Gov. Quinn believes, Illinois does not need to pay 50 percent more for electricity to buy this from Iowa wind farms.

Yes, RICL is not proposing an increase in electricity rates to pay for this line — yet. However, I have not heard RICL state how much subsidies, tax incentives, or federal loan guarantees they will receive to build this power line.

Whether we are paying for this power line through taxes, higher electricity rates or defaults on federally guaranteed loans, we do not need to be wasting our money like this. This is unsustainable federal spending on sustainable energy. In spite what politicians and the governor might think, tax money is still our money. We have a right to balk when politicians throw it away like this.

If RICL is granted status as a public utility, given the ability to go to court, and seek eminent domain to take landowner's land rights to build this power line to Chicagoland, there is a potential of 12,000 acres of landowner rights to be given to one privately held company.

The RICL is not a publicly-traded corporation, but rather a privately-held company. If profits are made from this, it will go into the pockets of an individual. You or I cannot buy stock in RICL.

If RICL fails, which it most likely will at the current electricity prices, what happens to the right of way taken away by RICL. The power line and right of way will be given to the creditors and sold to an actual public utility for pennies on the dollar. If eminent domain is used by the government and RICL, the landowners will never get the land rights taken by RICL back.

While Gov. Quinn supports this power line, it clearly will hurt Illinois' wind energy industry. If you listen to RICL, Northern Illinois does not have any wind suitable for windmills. The RICL also would have Illinois residents believe there are no winds on Lake Michigan. The owners of RICL probably have never been to a Cubs game, traveled up Route 39, or visited the Windy City.

If the governor was looking out for Illinois' best interest, he would realize this power line will discourage Illinois' own wind energy industry. There is no logical sense to wheel electricity from northwestern Iowa to Illinois when the same wind blows here every day.

This project is very likely the nation's next Solynrda, a failed marriage between incompetent politicians pushing sustainable energy beyond current technology and what the market will pay coupled with bad business.

If Illinois residents are later forced to buy this Iowa wind electricity at $45 MWh (or more), the electricity is overpriced. We can live better without it. Illinois does not need wind energy from Iowa. Yes, this project creates jobs in Illinois to build the towers and string the line. Yes, the wire will create more jobs and be made in Illinois. Yes, there is a potential for local governments to receive property tax monies from this project.

Unfortunately, Gov. Quinn is in favor of unsustainable government spending on this sustainable energy project with all the stupidity of a Chicago politician.

According to Josiah Neeley, policy analyst in the Armstrong Center for Energy & Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, coal, natural gas, and petroleum liquids received $0.64 of federal subsidies per megawatt hour in 2010. Wind power received a whopping $56.29 per megawatt hour in 2010. Unsustainable government spending on "sustainable" energy is just another form of corporate welfare.

This project is a loser at current prices, supply of electricity and demand for that electricity in Illinois. As residents we need to oppose Governor Quinn, Clean Line Energy Partners and block RICL.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again for providing data that exposes RICL for who they are private investors hiding behind a "Clean Energy Curtain"