Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Basic Questions for Michael Skelly about RICL/GBE Reliability


I have a question.  Lots of questions actually.

What’s the backup plan if RICL goes down?

Where is this energy going to go if RICL were to have a malfunction and go down?

Seriously, how does RICL increase reliability or even maintain the current level of reliability?  

3,500MW’s and if the convertor station at the east end of the line takes a crap, what happens? 
If 3,500 MW’s of juice is going through Channahon to the east states, and the flow of juice stops, is there enough backup generation to handle the loss of RICL? 
Will this cause a rolling blackout on the east coast?

As I understand the “grid” there is multiple powerlines to transport generation from point A to point B.  One transmission line going down shouldn’t cause a major catastrophic failure. 

RICL does not have an alternate route.  If RICL is providing the energy of “three times the Hoover Dam” and the plug is pulled, that energy will not flow to the eastern states.  So what happens?

Will MISO and PJM tell us we “need” to build another powerline?

And what about Iowa?  As I understand it, the energy will feed into MISO from new generation, whether it is coal, wind, or methane gas from confinement cattle operations.  Being a HVDC powerline, the operator can easily adjust the amount of energy being admitted and transmitted through the line.  As I understand it there won’t be a separate infrastructure transmission system built solely feed RICL.  Rather, RICL can draw the specific amount of energy being generated by its suppliers.    Suppose Blow-It-Out-Your-Hole Wind Farm produces 150 MW’s of energy consigned to RICL. 

RICL draws off 150MW’s of energy from the MISO transmission system.  Mid-States-Coal build a big coal plant and produces 1,500MW’s of energy and RICL draws off another 1,500MW’s off the MISO system.  Nuke’m Energy builds a nuclear plant in Iowa because it’s frowned upon in Maryland and provides another 1,500 MW’s into the MISO system and RICL draws a total of 3,150MW’s in this example. 

SO what happens in MISO is RICL goes down?  Can MISO handle an immediate influx of 3,500 MW’s of energy?  Can Nuke’m Energy and Mid States Coal shut down fast enough so as not to overload MISO? 

Will a wayward pigeon in Channahon cause a brownout in PJM states and a blackout in MISO states as too much energy is being generated and nowhere for it to go?  Will consumers and ratepayers be asked to pay for backup routes and precautions?  As a ratepayer, I’d like to know how much this Merchant Transmission Line will cost us.

The industry has a term for such costs.  They call it “but for” costs.  This substation and switching would not be necessary “but for” RICL.  This additional powerline through Indiana would not be necessary “but for” RICL.   Before any state approves RICL or GBE, it would be prudent to ask these questions and know what the true costs will be for the consumers.

No.  I’m not predicted this will happen.  I’m not saying RICL will reduce reliability in energy transmission in Illinois, but I haven’t heard these questions fully answered yet and we need to be sure there are no additional costs that consumers will be required to pay but for RICL/GBE.  Not to give CLE too much assistance, but it probably would be a good idea for RICL to put this information on their website.  ;}

It would relieve consumer worries about this powerline.

Perhaps CLE should focus on generation in Iowa between Kansas and Spencer County Iowa.  Each of Clean Line Energy's projects (RICL, and GBE) can act a backup for the other powerline.  1750 MW's can go to RICL and 1,750 MW's can go to GBE.  If one powerline goes down, there is still a backup powerline that can handle 3,500MW's of energy.  Of course that would be less cost effective, basically running each powerline at half capacity, but wouldn't it provide greater reliability to ratepayers in MISO, PJM, and SPP?

 Now that I think of it, it's interesting to see RICL being marketed by CLE as Northern Iowa and into South Dakota and Minnesota.  I don't recall RICL being markets south, towards the Grain Belt Express and into central and southern Iowa....interesting.

OK one more question.  Where is the application to FERC for the Grain Belt Express?  Isn't it a tad premature to ask for Kansas Corporation Commission to approve the Grain Belt Express when Clean Line Energy hasn't received approval from FERC?  If I was Kansas, I'd tell Mr. Skelly to comeback when they properly had their ducks in a row.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps GBE has not asked FERC for approval to negotiate rates because the project does not intend to operate as a merchant, but instead has aspirations to become a reliability or economic project whereby it would be paid for by ratepayers? So, what ARE you intentions, GBE? Inquiring minds want to know...

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