Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Farmers Opinion of Wind Energy Transmission Line Across Iowa

Here we go again.   It amazes me how many times we find clean line spewing forth the same drivel and a reporter somewhere laps it up. 

"Clean Line’s Regional Manager, Beth Conley, says the project will increase the capacity of Iowa’s wind energy industry, because it creates a way to deliver electricity to states further east.
"A number of those states have passed renewable portfolio standards, that will require them to have so much of their energy from clean or renewable sources, by--some as early as 2015," Conley said. 
She adds that eastern states don’t have the capacity to create that wind locally—Iowa does. "

This is just one great, big lie, but Clean Line continues to spin for the media, and the media continues to buy it because they won't look outside their region to verify these baseless claims.  Where exactly is the demand for this energy?

Which state is demanding wind energy from Iowa to meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard?

I know it isn’t Illinois.
It isn’t Indiana begging for wind energy from Iowa.
Ohio would rather generate their own wind energy and pay a small premium rather than buy it from Iowa.

What eastern states “needs” this wind energy because there is a surplus of wind in Iowa?

The truth is there is none.  No one is crying for this potential wind energy.  No one is demanding it.  The notion that RICL is needed because there is simply no other way for eastern states to meet their legislated Renewable Portfolio Standard without wind energy from Iowa is a myth.  This is a classic cram-it-down-their-throats surplus exonomics.

Heck, sounds to me,  PJM is concerned about receiving too much wind energy from Iowa and the MISO RTO.   Sounds to me like PJM wants to balance imports rather than receive 1/3 of the imports from one powerline.

None of these states have expressed a desire for Clean Line to provide renewable power.  PJM is concerned about what imports of that magnitude will do to reliability and prices.  Eastern states are quickly developing their own local renewables and looking at offshore wind to meet future goals.  Clean Line's insistence that "states further east" want this power is complete fantasy.  

Here are some potential media sources for a good reporter:  eastern state governor's offices, PJM, other renewable projects like Lake Erie CleanPower Connector is a closer and more economical alternative for eastern states.  Atlantic Wind Connection is another east coast option to provide renewable energy for eastern states new the demand.  Actually, RTO INSIDER has been providing the best reporting on PJM concerns.

There are many many more sources than Beth Conley or Hans Ditweiler, the lobbyists for Rock Island Clean Line.  One just has to look a little and dig a little. 

On another note, this farmer, Jay Hofland, is become the typical supporter for RICL.  More and more we are hearing the “I support RICL because construction of this powerline will put money in my pocket.”  Come on Beth. Can’t you find supporters for your project who aren’t profiting from the construction, paid lobbyist for the wind energy industry, or college students who think the earth will die without this powerline?  Seriously, as the supporters for RICl are coming from the “Money-In-My-Back-Pocket” crowd.

What happens after this purposed powerline is built?  Where is the economic advantage at that point?  Who profits once it is operation?  Southwire, the cable company moves on.  The cement companies move on to the next project.  The China company who built the towers (lattice and monopole) forget about the RICL contract.  Where is the economic gain?

I can tell you where the economic loss will be.   Every one of the farms this aerial sewer crosses will be seeing an economic loss for perpetuity.  Will there be lower energy prices in Illinois because of this project?  I didn’t see Beth Conley talk about it.  Heck, she didn’t even acknowledge the increase in energy production the boom in the natural gas industry has created.

While reporters are asking questions and looking for answers, here’s one for RICL.  What’s your plan should Iowa and Illinois utility commissions deny the company public utility status and eminent domain powers?  If there a planned federal back door miss-use to eminent domain for Illinois and Iowa like what they are doing in Arkansas?

There is just so much that can be reported about RICL beyond the notion that eastern states will be forced to buy power across the RICL transmission line because their Renewable Portfolio Standard says so.

OK here’s one last suggestion for any reporter looking into RICL, Besides BLOCK RICL.  Who owns BNSF railroad?  Berkshire Hathaway.  Who owns MidAmerican Energy? Berkshire Hathaway.  Have you heard about the idea of BNSF rail right of ways carrying wind energy across Iowa?  Hmm?  No?  Try this one last link.  All Aboard the Wind-Powered Railway!

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