Monday, December 24, 2012

Clean Line, FERC, in Plainer English



This is a summary of the next post in more plain English.  Clean Line Energy has petitioned FERC (Washington regulators) to allow them to distribute the cost of their powerline across an entire region, like PJM.  Some states have a "Renewable Portfolio Standard" that mandates a certain type of "clean" energy.  Some states have an RPS as guideline.  Some states legislatures and lobbyists have not written an RPS.  They really are silly.

So now Clean Line is asking FERC to recognize one state's RPS and mandate that the entire region or even both regions should pay for all or part of a powerline. 

Clean Line wants to have it both ways.  As a Merchant Transmission Line, they accepts all the risks and rewards, but Clean Line would also like their costs socialized and attributed to the ratepayers across the entire region. 

Illinois potentially could have a scenario where we are as consumers pay for a powerline across Iowa in the MISO region to send the electricity to New England states.  We could potentially be paying more than twice the market price for energy for electricity that we do not need and also pay for the construction of the powerline!

Why is Clean Line asking for assistance in building their 4 powerlines?

Good question.  Hans Detweiler has gone across Illinois assuring us the financing is in place. So why ask the feds to have an entire region's ratepayers subsidize the powerline's construction?  Is the funding really there?

Good question?   No one has told me what the ICC is thinking and RICL refuses to let the public see their financial model.  However, if one looks at the line of questions the ICC has asked RICL, it shows there is a concern about RICL's potential costs, debt, and profit.  First review of the ICC's questions, I thought "boy, these are softball questions".   I later realized the questions weren't soft.  The answers were softball answers.  The answers lacked details.

Clean Line petition to FERC is also a test of FERC's Order 1000 and the federal government's abliity to mandate a region respect a states Renewable Portfolio Standard.  This could also be a court challenge involving several groups resenting being forced to respect another state's policy.  The "virtues" of wind energy is todays challenge, but what will be tomorrow's challenge?  Will another state create a public policy based on the "virtues" of coal energy?
Soooo...why is Clean Line now asking FERC to make entire regions pay for their projects?

Could Iowa residents protest having to pay for this powerline?

Could West Virginia's resident protest believe Illinois RPS is based on lobbyist and dirty Chicago politics?  Clean Line and FERC could be making a real mess as they force us to go down this road.

And why didn't Clean Line go down this road when it originally applied to FERC?

How much is the energy going going to cost us? 

We will be paying  even more if we are going to have to also pay for their powerline.


Merry Christmas.


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