Sunday, January 27, 2013

Clean Line Energy, Personal Attacks, Personalized Opposition, and Social Media Rules

Make no mistake, this is not a person attack against any one person. Clean Line Energy is not a nameless and faceless organization. Like any other company this company is made up of people. These people need to be held accountable for what they say, and don’t say, what they distort, and hide from the public. It is wrong for members of this company to inaccurately present themselves in a manner to specifically sell this project to the public.

This is not about making personal attacks against individuals of Clean Line Energy, but it is fair to respond to the claims by members of Clean Line Energy. For instance, if a member of Clean Line Energy had told a landowner that the company had not applied with the Illinois Commerce Commission when Clean Line actually had filed with the ICC, would it be a personal attack to repeat what the Vice President of the company had said to an individual? No, this would be fair and accurate, and there are reports that this scenario actually happened.

Is it a personal attack or just speaking the truth to remind people the money behind Clean Line Energy comes from a billionaire in Texas and three billionaire brothers from Park Avenue, New York City? No, this is personalizing an ambiguous company.

It is not a personal attack against Hans Detweiller to remind people Hans hasn’t been completely accurate to say, best of all, residents in northwest Iowa would see no increase in their electric bills to pay for the project. Clean Line Energy has made similar implication in Illinois also but the company has been quietly seeking to have Illinois and other states pay for this powerline through our electric bills. Clean Line Energy has never publicly acknowledged they desire consumers to pay for their powerline. This is a misrepresentation at best. It’s a sell job by the Clean Line Energy salesman (Hans Detweiler). It’s the same sell job coal, nuclear, fracking, and whatever other business does to the public.

Why hasn’t Clean Line Energy’s spokesman explained why the company believes captive ratepayer should pay for a “Merchant Transmission Line” when the company supposedly accepts all the “risk and rewards”?

Why is he attempting to sell the public on this project and not talk about the costs to consumers?
Clean Line Energy is proposing 4,000 MW’s of wind energy in Northern Iowa. No, I do not live in Northern Iowa, but in Illinois, we are the recipient of this energy and a good portion of this unnecessary powerline. If each wind turbine is rated at 2MW’s, 4,000 MW’s of wind energy is 2,000 wind turbines. If each wind turbine requires 65 acres of land, that is 130,000 acres of additional wind turbines in Northwestern Iowa. That is an additional 203 square miles of wind farms surrounding the start of this powerline. Northwest Iowa residents will need to decide how many wind turbines in their back yard is too many?

In a recent debate about wind farms at the National Review Online Jimmy Glotfelty, a Vice President of Clean Line Energy made a comment about wind farms;

“You know…I agree with you….but the fact is, that there is not one single landowner that has been forced to put a wind turbine on his property. It is their land and their choice to make revenue (about 10k per turbine per year)…really no different from a cell tower or radio tower..”

(Go to the link above and read further.  I think somebody violated corporate social media rules @ National Review Online!)  I wonder if the Mr. Skelly made all their employees sign a paper promising they will not violate the company's Social Media Rules.  Good luck finding it on this link, but it's there!

Yes it is true, there is no imminent domain to force land owners to put wind turbines on their property. Yet, if Clean Line Energy is successful, Jimmy Glotfelty and Clean Line Energy will be forcing landowners to put this powerline allegedly for wind energy on our farmland. Yes, this is a personal issue for farmers and landowners and rather to talk directly to the farmers and landowners, Clean Line elects to talk to through the press or use surrogate companies like HDR Engineering to speak to the public.

It is understandable for the public along the route to find it offensive when spokesmen for Clean Line Energy intentionally speak in half truths. It doesn’t matter if it is coal, fracking, or wind energy. A con job is a con job. Clean Line Energy is using the same tactics to build this powerline as these other industries except Clean Line makes additional claims this is for ”clean” renewable energy.

While Iowa landowners have a choice whether or not to put windmills on their farmland, should RICL receive public utility status, Illinois farmers will not have this choice for the powerline for “clean” wind energy. Personally, I believe this energy is overpriced, but the spokesman of Clean Line Energy (Hans Detweiler, still has not told Illinois residents how much this electricity will cost us). I do not object to “renewable” energy, but I do believe it is time wind energy becomes competitive with other more economical forms of energy.

How much more does America need to accommodate the wind energy industry?

In the 1970’s PURPA was created, an act by Congress that allows the wind energy industry to not abide by the rules of other energy producers. Energy Companies are force to buy wind energy created by others. The Production Tax Credit was created with as the federal government subsidizing the wind industry. Then Renewable Portfolio Standards were created to mandate a certain percentage of energy must be from approved “renewable” sources. After that the wind industry told America it needs Long-Term Power Purchase Agreements where wind energy is bought with a surcharge premium. Now the wind industry is complaining because Alternate Energy Retail Suppliers are able to provide electricity cheaper by not buying the overpriced Long-Term Power Purchasing Agreements.

How much more does the industry need the rules bent in their favor?

When is it enough?

We are now asked to give our land for special powerlines allegedly for the “wind energy industry” when there is no guarantee this powerline will not be used by the coal industry. Really?

Have we not sacrificed enough and paid enough of a premium for wind energy?

Is it not time for the wind industry to compete on a level playing field with other forms of energy?
Must Illinois farmers be asked to sacrifice more for an industry that either cannot compete or is quietly making themselves rich off of consumers, deregulation and the ability to bend every rule in their favor?

Must Illinois farmers be forced to give up land for a powerline owner by venture capital billionaires who, if successful, will eventually sell the powerline for a larger profit?

Do we really need to “sacrifice” for billionaires Milchael Zilkha and the Ziff Brothers to make more money? No, this this is not a personal attack. It’s a legitimate question.

What assurances are there this powerline won’t be bought by a traditional power company and place 100% coal energy on this powerline? None. FERC has said Clean Line cannot discriminate or play favorites with potential suppliers. FERC has also said this powerline can have only one customer to supplier 100% of the power, even coal.

Have we not made enough concessions for the wind industry and those who desire to be associated with this industry?

While representatives of Clean Line Energy make claims that this powerline will make Northwestern Iowa wealthier, is this powerline really in the best interest of farmers and landowners along the line or in communities where there needs to be 130,000 acres of wind turbines? Has other industries made similar claims? Coal? Natural gas? Oil?

Have these claims ever found to be true?

Make no mistake, this powerline is the new frontline in America’s Energy War.

Is this a personal attack?  No.  This is personalized opposition to a company.  If this is a violation of a company's social media be it!  Somebody has to call it like it is.

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