Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Houston, you have a problem.
The TVA might be for sale. Word is President Obama is actually preparing a 2014 budget. The President's office is proposing to sell the TVA. Privatize it. Break it up.
Break up the TVA? Balderdash! It's a golden child of the New Deal and institutionalized government social programs. The TVA is also eighty years old.
So the TVA needs to get all dressed up and looking sexy for possible suitors. She might be 80 years old but a little lipstick on that old gal and guys are going to be knocking on her door. And here lies the problem for Clean Line Energy.
For the last year and a half Clean Line Energy has been proud to proclaim they have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the TVA. Clean Line has sounded like they have a guaranteed market for wind energy from the Oklahoma pan handle. Unfortunately for "Clean" Line, an MOU isn't worth squat as a legal document.
For the TVA to be sold, excess baggage from old political agenda's have to be discarded. The TVA has proclaimed they wanted to add more and more renewables to their portfolio in spite of no "public policy statement" or Renewable Portfolio Standard. FERC Commissioner John Norris praised the TVA last November for their commendable desires to add more wind energy from wherever they could find it. If you read this blog often, you might remember FERC Commissioner John Norris and his glowing praise for transmission and powerlines for renewable energy.
The Department of Energy and the TVA worked up a grandiose plan to sneak federal eminent domain through on this project through Section 1222 of the 2005 Energy Powers Act when "Clean" Line Energy was denied Public Utility Status by Arkansaw.
Like Keryn at STOPPATHWV points out this week wind energy is out and natural gas and nuclear energy is back in favor with the TVA. In order to make the company more attractive to be sold, the TVA is aligning themselves with natural gas and nuclear. The TVA has begun the process of creating a new long term plan for projecting demands and how it will be met with supplies. Wind energy is not apart of this plan.
The Scott Mansfield of Sierra Club as well as several other groups supported by the wind industry are not happy about this.
"We don't have any more room for hydroelectric dams in the Tennessee Valley," Mansfield said. "Renewables are very expensive. To get people to build renewables, you have to offer incentives."
In a desperate to prove their own relevance "Clean" Line Energy put out a Request for Information (RFI) late last week asking wind companies about their "interest" in the Oklahoma Pan Handle is Plains & Eastern Clean Line were built. Unfortunately, "interest" and commitment are entirely two different things.
Any Blowitoutyourars Wind Energy Company will express an "interest" and will likely inflate their "interest" to be four times greater than potential likelihood. Sure. If I was President of Blowitoutyourars Wind Energy Company I would not want to potentially be left behind. This RFI is non binding and confidential. As President of Blowitoutyourars Wind Energy Company, I'd express a far greater interest than actual so potential is not limited.
I suspect "Clean" Line Energy intends to take this information to the TVA and say "See. We can deliver and there is great interest from wind companies!"
The problem for "Clean" Line is the TVA is dressing themselves up to be sold. The TVA doesn't want to be saddles with 20 year Power Purchasing Agreements for high priced wind energy. EDP Renewables or any other wind company is not going to be buying the TVA. If it is sold, more conventional energy producing companies will likly buy the TVA.
Potential suitors for the TVA want to be able to sell energy at a competitive price. An unnecessary long term agreement to wind energy companies at uncompetitive prices will be seen as a liability. Potential suitors will also likely be more closely aligned with nuclear and natural gas energy production.
Last fall the TVA didn't give a damn about offering a competitive price to the consumer. Following a Warshington agenda of "clean" wind energy was the objective. Now the Boss at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue want to sell the TVA and priorities change! This is what happens when politicians attempt to pick winners and losers. Fortunately, the likelihood of the Plains & Eastern "Clean" Line being built are diminishing rapidly and this aerial sewer will not be built.
Fortunately, others are starting to see the ratepayers point of view. Whether it is Plains & Easter, Grain Belt Express, or RICL, these HVDC powerlines are not necessary. They are not needed. As ratepayers, we do not need to be saddled with these costs for high priced energy. As landowners we do not want to see these unneeded aerial sewers running through our farms as monuments to Washington greed coupled with corporate vultcher capital companies.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Here's an interesting story from www.cattlenetwork.com about farmer opposition in Kansas. Personally, I think its premature to say hvdc powerlines do not produce stray voltage that harm dairy cattle milk production. I'd be curious about the data and studies.
It's amazing just how much is written about stray voltage from hvdc powerlines being corrosive and harmful to pipelines. Sure, the Electromagnetic Field issue is different with a DC powerline as opposed to the traditional AC powerlines, but stray voltage is still an issue, as the pipeline industry.
A friend in the pipeline industry explained it to me this way. A pipeline wants to be the most negatively charged thing in the ground. Like a direct current powerline, the gas is flowing one way and can create a negative charge. When a hvdc powerline is much more negatively charged. When there is short or stray voltage (and there always is some to a varying degree) , the powerline can be a far greater negative charge than the pipeline. To put it in simple terms, this reverse flow of charged atoms away from the pipeline causes to pipeline to corrode.
It's amazing how little documentation there is about the potential health hazards hvdc is to people, but there is so much written about the hazards of hvdc to an inanimate object like a pipe.
Just google "hvdc corrosive pipeline"
The internet is littered with studies like this one.
One last comment about pipelines. Is the Rock Island Clean Line really going to locate next to the Northern Borders pipeline or is the proposed right of way going to change again for the "safety" of the pipeline? Would RICL desire to place the pipeline in the middle of the field, well away from the fence line for the "safety" (potential future liability) to the pipeline?
But no....according to "clean" line there is no hazard to people or dairy cattle. Pardon me, I am having difficulty suspending my ability of disbelief to accept the claim stray voltage from a hvdc powerline is a problem to pipelines but not to dairy cattle.
Next week I'll probably read claims from hans&franz that living near a hvdc powerline cures gastroenteritis.
Ok, I have a question. Suppose a HVDC powerline (RICL) is running parallel to an existing natural gas pipeline (Northern Borders). Because of stray voltage issues and pipeline corrosion, the powerline elects to seek a right of way 1000 feet away from the pipeline.
Sure the powerline only wants to purchase a 200 foot wide right of way but they are effectively recieving a 1,200 foot wide right of way. That 1,000 feet between the two right of ways is effectively useless. You can't build on it and develope it. No other company will seek a right of way between to two right of ways.
If there is a 1,000 foot gap between two right of ways and the HVDC powerline is only buying 200 feed width of right of way, the powerline company is effectively recieving the extra width that is five times larger than the 200 foot right of way for free.
If a powerline company thinks they can get away with this, they better think again. Powerline executives better ask themselves this simple question. What is a local county court going to determine in an eminent domain case? I'll give you a hint. The court is going to say buy the real right of way 6 times larger than the company intends at a FAIR price for a right of way.
The damages to the property value isn't going to be a few poles. It will be much much wider than 200 feet.
I am speaking from personal experience, here. Another farm of my family has 3 or 4 pipelines next to each other plus a 100,000 volt powerline. Two of the pipelines and the powerline lies on our property. The other pipelines are on the neighbors property and come up to a quary pit. When they start taking up more than their right of way, land gets used up quickly.
There is literally no more room for another right of way. To the north is a enormous pit mine. To the south are some massive hills, farm buildings and houses. The next company that thinks they need to put a right of way through this corridor is going to have to think again. The right of ways will have to start piling up on top of each other. There is no more room.
Now I seriously doubt RICL will change their mind and move the powerline to the south of the Northern Borders pipeline and on to my property. There is a mountain of overburden from a gravel pit a few miles to the west of Prairie Center. RICL will have to go to the north of that pile and it is unlikely they would the cut back south and affect me directly, but if they did, we wouldn't be talking about a paltry $8,500 per acre for a 200 foot right of way. We would be starting at $45,000 an acre and the right of way would start at the edge of the Northern Borders pipeline right of way.
If RICL or Duke or any other powerline company thinks they can just take more land than their allotted right of way, they had better think again. We've grown tired of this nonsense.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Seriously, damage to tile is not going to be known immediately. Damage will more likely be cause by the ripping with a subsoiler than the installation of the monopole towers. In a ROW easement agreement, make sure to protect yourself for damages found after the contractor is back home in Nebraska.
Chisel plowing with a subsoiler is another issue that should be specified in a ROW easement agreement. It requires serious horsepower to run a subsoiler 18 inches deep. As farmers, you know who to contract this out to much better than a utility company, and besides, it’s your land. Chose the custom operator. Chisel plowing with a subsoiler that deep is going to require multiple passes over two or three years. List the custom operator who will do the subsoiling and force the utility company to pay them directly.
The utility company is not going to disagree to this. They are not going to like it, but as my past experience with the fences in the pasture, they will go along with it. They will agree to get the deal done. While it’s in the utility company’s interest to get a powerline built and move on to operation, no utility company is willing to go to court over eminent domain for such trivial matters.
I wonder if Clean Line knows they have to pay for damages to the entire property’s value and doesn’t want to admit it, or are they just that stupid. The line between deceitful and foolishly naïve is often blurred. They act like this is their first attempt to a Right of Way purchase in Illinois. Actually it is Clean Line Energy’s first ROW purchase, and they are in way over their heads.
The opinions above are that of one individual. Ultimately it is best to hire a lawyer negotiate a Right of Way Easement. Do not attempt to negotiate yourself with a utility company. List above are suggestions on how to handle matters of damages to the land. Matters of Right of Way negotiations are done with real public utilities recognized by the state. To date, "Clean" Line Energy is not a real public utility recognized by the state of Illinois. Therefore, the commentary above should not be considered an approval of the company or an expectation the state will consider the company a public utility. The commentary above is only states as the timeliness of the subject matter considering AIMA's. It is the opinion and hope of the author that Rock Island Clean Line or any other subsidiary of Clean Line Energy Partners NOT be considered a public utility in Illinois.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Presidential Memorandum -- Transforming our Nation's Electric Grid Through Improved Siting, Permitting, and Review
Then comes the shakedowns and bribes? The government looks out for their own, but the public is supposed to relent quietly because "clean" wind energy is the best for society.
Finally, the Interior Secretary Salazar says;
"So here's the deal: I want $60 m [million] and I want it now."
Saturday, June 8, 2013
It's an 8 page c&p document that is non binding unless directly listed in a Right of Way Agreement and RICL's guy is parading like it's a blessing of approval. It was a tad overkill with the pr work.
What is going to happen this week? I'm guessing headlines will read "Hans jumps the shark". If you're going for over the top, spike the football, go ahead, go all out, and jump the shark,
Seriously, google the name of any Illinois utility company and "aima". Good luck finding another company so proud as RICL to have completed a mandatory project.
Suggestion for "clean" line energy. Watch how other REAL energy companies conduct themselves. You might want to copy what works....never mind. What you all are doing now works for me. The bragging about obtaining an AIMA was a bit foolish. Go ahead. Jump the shark!
* Jumping the shark - a term to describe a moment when something that was once a part of pop culture has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
OK, here's some interesting quotes from what I've been reading. One is about Plains & Eastern Clean Line, a sister project to the Rock Island Clean Line (RICL or BLOCKRICL). Others are from articles and blogs for and opposing FERC Order 1000. Still others are classic economic literature and author Ayn Rand.
Perhaps this a good example of the crazy merry-go-round in my head. While reading this, think about wind energy, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), 20 year Power Purchasing Agreements, the Illinois Power Agency (IPA),FERC, Order 1000, transmission lines for "wind" energy, the sacrifice Illinois landowners are being asked to make, PURPA, PUCHA repeal, and all the other concessions (protectionism) we give the wind industry, and oh yes, lets not forget "Clean" Line Energy and the Rock Island "Clean" Line (RICL). Oops, I almost forgot cost allocations.
My gosh! This is absurd! Look at all the protectionism the wind energy industry gets. That entire paragraph above is protectionism for one industry. How much more sacrifice do I need to make?
Consider this some odd experiment in abstract cut & paste.
“Regular people only need to understand that this is likely the most progressive clean energy action the federal government will take this year.” – Center for American Progress
“Not only is the wind power ‘made in Oklahoma,’ so too is the natural gas power that will power generators needed to fully utilize the transmission line capacity available when the wind does not blow,” said OCC Vice Chair Bob Anthony
OCC Chair Dana Murphy noted that the new transmission-only utility it will also require a new kind of regulation
“We have seen very little opposition,” Glotfelty said.
“We’re not here to solve all the problems,” (Glotfelty) said
To paraphrase the villain Ellsworth Toohey in Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead: “Just listen to any bureaucrat, and if you hear him speak of ‘broad cost allocation’ — run. Run faster than from a plague.”
Every major horror of history was perpetrated—not by reason of and in the name of that which men held as evil, that is, selfishness—but through, by, for and in the name of an altruistic purpose. The Inquisition. Religious wars. Civil wars. The French Revolution. The German Revolution. The Russian Revolution. No act of selfishness has ever equaled the carnages perpetrated by disciples of altruism. Nor has any egotist ever roused masses of fanatical followers by enjoining them to go out to fight for his personal gain. Every leader gathered men through the slogans of a selfless purpose, through the plea for their self-sacrifice to a high altruistic goal: the salvation of others’ souls, the spread of enlightenment, the common good of their state.
[J]ust listen to any prophet and if you hear him speak of sacrifice—run. Run faster than from a plague. It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.
Ayn Rand www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/excursions/ayn-rand-altruism-part-3