Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Comments from the ICC Public Forum concerning Rock Island Clean Line Energy



Maybe we'll start posting a series of statements made at the wo ICC Public Forums held at the Mendota High School last fall.  These were some of the best speeches I've heard.  I applaud the Illinois Commerce Commission These forums were as close to true and actual public forums I've seen regarding Clean Line Energy.  It was good of the ICC to allow us to speak out our concerns.

Below are two speeches, or perhaps comments and opinions given at the Second public forum held at the Mendota High School.  But first, let's see the words of Jimmy Glotfelty, the CLean Line Energy Vice President, as he denies the claims made about the East Coast Governor’s letter that night in Mendota.  It’s very fortunate an individual had the governors' letter that night and chose to read from it.  

I think Jimmy’s wrong on this point, bending the truthiness a bit,but you be the judge.  While Clean Line like to portray Ratepayer Opposition as NIMBY’s, neither of these submitted comments sound like a backyard concern.  Here’s Jimmy’s comment in red then a comment by Mr. Simpson and another comment by Mr. Doughty, both concerned Illinois residents. 

Jimmy Glotfelty;
One final issue is a letter by many eastern governors that has been misconstrued in documents such as this. It's been characterized that the eastern governors do not support this project. It simply is not accurate.

In 2009, 10 eastern governors did write a letter to congress supporting renewable energy development. The governors expressed their support for renewable energy but opposed subsidies. Our project does not want or need subsidies. The governors' letter was written and sent prior to the development of our project. The governors' letter very specifically says, "We support the development of wind resource for the United States whereever they exist." We have copies of that letter here tonight if you all would like to see it at our table.

And now the Comments of Mr. Simpson later that night.

MR. SIMPSON:  I was going to talk about the eastern governors -- I happen to have the paper in front of me -- the 10 eastern governors. I'll read it as they wrote it to congress, second and third paragraphs.


"We write to encourage you to support strong new Federal policies to promote wind resources. In addition to recognizing the potential for wind resources in the Midwest, we believe that wind's resources of the eastern seaboard states, both onshore and offshore wind, represent one of our nation's most promising yet underdeveloped sources of renewable energy.

"At the same time we must express our concern about the significant risks posed by recent proposals regarding transmission that we believe would jeopardize our states' efforts to develop wind resources and inject Federal jurisdiction into an area traditionally handled by states and regions.

"Significant onshore and offshore wind projects have been proposed and planned for almost all of the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. Several of our states already have significant land-based wind projects installed or well underway and have established aggressive wind development goals.

"Moreover, the waters adjacent to the East Coast hold potential for developing some of the most robust wind energy resources in the world. Enough wind potential to meet total U.S. electricity demand, as Interior Secretary Ken Salvador has recently pointed out. Congress should put its full support behind the development of these resources."

 Wind power is intermittent in generation, may fail at any time, in night, winter, summer, and passing weather fronts cause swathes of generators to fizzle all at once for weeks on end. Grid managers dread that kind of catastrophic unreliability, but it is a daily reality for wind-generated power.  To avoid blackouts and overloads, the grid has too much generation with consumption on a moment-to-moment basis, not on a yearly basis.  Windmills generate power when the wind blows, often going dead when electricity is needed and overproducing when it is blowing. The stated output of wind generation is only available if the wind is blowing.

Germany and Spain leave us some very interesting information. They have invested heavily in wind and solar and are finding them to be unreliable and way too expensive. They're way ahead of us on this practice. Now Germany and Spain are going to more reliable sources for their power needs.
Thank you.
HEARING OFFICER BENSKO: Thank you.

 The Comments of Mr. Doughty ;
 
MR. DOUGHTY: Thank you to the Illinois Commerce Commission for holding another public forum. I agree and reinforce the reasons already presented by many of the previous speakers on why Rock Island Clean Line should be denied public utility status. I add a few more disturbing facts.

 According to the electrical engineers that I spoke with at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argon National Laboratories, there is significant energy loss that Rock Island Clean Line does not account for in the conversion to and from direct current.

There would be a 5 to 10 percent loss at the converter station in Iowa, then at least a 10 percent loss of electricity over the 500-mile high-voltage DC line, and then another 5 to 10 percent loss when inverting the DC electricity back to AC.

Add those together and you have about as much wind energy as experts say would be likely to be carried on this line maximum. The 20 to 30 percent gain in clean energy would be lost by the time it reaches Illinois, and none of that energy is left at all when transmitted another 1,000 miles to the East Coast, which is Rock Island Clean Line's target customer.

Rock Island Clean Line likes to claim that they can't bury the lines because the lines would get too hot. Well, that heat comes from the lost electricity. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated in their determination that Rock Island Clean Line wanted renewal energy preference because it would make the project more palatable to the stakeholders was not an adequate reason to restrict the lines to carry wind-generated electricity.

In addition, Rock Island Clean Line states in their ICC application that they would hook into high-voltage lines in Iowa which carry many kinds of generated power, including coal.

I ask the ICC to carefully look at how this massive amount of imported power equivalent a large generation plant would impact instate permanent jobs at local generation plants and in our local renewable energy development. And what will help to our electricity prices when we compete with this power being sent to a higher cost East Coast market?

Rock Island Clean Line has publicly stated this project is not financially feasible unless our electric rates go up about 50 percent. Yet their business plan was conceived before the natural gas boom and the strides in energy efficiency and solar energy.

 I urge the ICC to deny granting Rock Island Clean Line public utility status, and I urge the ICC to call a moratorium on all new proposed transmission lines in Illinois until we can evaluate all the projects collectively to assess the actual need, economic feasibility, environmental impacts, and especially the long-term costs to Illinois workers, consumers, taxpayers, and landowners.

HEARING OFFICER BENSKO: Thank you.
(Applause.)


Really Jimmy?  It doesn't sound like the East Coast Governors were just opposed to ratepayer financed projects. SOunds to me like the Governors opposed just the kind of project Clean Line Energy and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback supports.  I think at one time Illinois Governor Pat Quinn even supported RICL.  He really should think about changing his position now that it is very apparent Illinois residents largely oppose Grain Belt Express and the Rock Island "Clean" Line.

Person after person stating their comments before Hearing Officer Bensko, and none of them had "nimby" issues.  The residents of this state are very educated and well informed on this issue.  The message was clear.  We don't want Clean Line Energy in this state.

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