Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Plains & Eastern Clean Line Sends out a RFI Lifeline as TVA Prepares to be Sold

A few of us have been watching this for a couple weeks now and figuring it would eventually reach Plains & Eastern Clean Line.  It would appear last week the call came and news reached Clean Line Energy.

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.   

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