Sunday, January 5, 2014

National Grid, Chris Huhne, Clean Line Energy, & Michael Zilkha, and Zilkha Biomass

Did you ever have something eat at the back of your brain.   It just won’t go away.  You’re sure there is more to the story but just don’t see the missing link?  What a minute?  That sound like the history of “Clean” Line Energy with lies, distortion, and half-truths.   A new twist in this attempted swindle with Clean Line Energy and their investor, National Grid would not be surprising.
Michael Zilkha of “Clean” Line Energy and former owner of Horizon Wind Energy, also owns another company called Zilkha Biomass Energy.  The updated organizational chart shows Michael Zilkha as a co-owner.   Being this is a Clean Line Energy Partners LLC org chart, it doesn’t show Michael Zilkha other private interests.   Zilkha Biomass makes a wood by-product pellet that is burned as biomass.  Best I understand it, biomass is a process form of dead plants that is burned instead of burning coal as a fuel to turn turbines.  This never made sense to me.  How is burning one form a carbon “clean” while burning coal is considered dirty?

So anyway,  Zilkha Biomass Energy hired Chris Huhne, a disgraced British Energy Minister to be Zilkha’s main man in Great Britain last August.  Huhne, a former British Energy Secretary went to jail for several months for lying, or “perverting the course of justice” .  As I understand it, Huhne convinced his wife to admit to taking his video speeding tickets.  Several years later the wife learns Chris is having an affair.  In an attempt to get publicly embarrass him, she tells a blog or paper about their little conspiracy.  The entire affair turns out badly for both of them as they both go to prison for lying to the court system.  British blogger Guido Fawke goes crazy reporting Huhne’s problems as he is sentenced and goes to prison.  
Chris Huhne got out of prison this last summer.  In August he gets hired by Zilkha Biomass Energy as their Great Britain/European  manager.  Huhne , the former Energy Secreetary gets paid £100,000 for working 2 days a week in a sweetheart deal with Zilkha.  
So this has been eating at me since September.  Why does pissant Zilkha Biomass need a Great Britain European manager?  I can understand hiring former energy bureaucrats.   Clean Line hired Jimmy Glotfelty shortly after he left Washington and the Bush/Cheney Administration.   Zilkha is rather small company in the tiny niche biomass industry.  As far as I could tell Zilkha Biomass isn’t a big business and I question their involvement in the European market.  Hiring a big named disgraced former Energy Secretary made the news in a big way in Great Britain as the next chapter in the Chris Huhne Scandal.   
Why Zilkha Biomass?  What’s in it for Zilkha to hire a national embarrassment?  An overpaid two day a week job seems fishy.   It’s understandable for Clean Line Energy to hire a governmental bureaucrat like Jimmy Glotfelty but why a disgraced Martha Stewart white collar criminal.  It would be comparable to Clean Line Energy hiring Rod Blagojevich to be the RICL Director of Development.  Maybe this just needs to be classify this under things that make you say WTF.  Something is hinky here and I can’t place it. 
Then last month we learn from Michael Skelly’s testimony at the ICC that National Grid, a Great Britain utility company has a preconstructional option to buy RICL or any other Clean Line Energy Partners LLC projects. 
ILA Attorney Q. About that topic. My question is, is it part of Clean Line's business plan to contemplate selling Rock Island or one of the other projects after they are operational and built?
Michael Skelly A. Well, the optionality that Grid has or the right they have to purchase a project is preconstruction. So does that answer your question?
ILA Attorney Q. Well, that answers part of it. Is it -- so I think that certainly answers it for National Grid.  But would Clean Line otherwise -- do they otherwise have any plan to consider selling any of the transmission lines that are in development if they're completed and made operational?
Michael Skelly A. Some of this hinges around the definition of "selling," which sounds like a0 nonsensical thing, but when you're a company and you're raising money, you're selling part of the company. So in that sense, yes, we have plans to sell part of the company along the way.
National Grid didn’t hire Chris Huhne. 
Clean Line Energy Partners LLC didn’t hire Chris Huhne to be the company’s European manager, but another company owned by Clean Line Energy lead investor hires Chris Huhne for a 2 day a week executive job.
After learning about so many underhanded tactics of Clean Line Energy and the wind energy industry, I just have to wonder if there is a greater connection between National Grid and Chris Huhne and Zilkha Biomass is just an American middleman in this deal.  No, there is no proof of a direct connection between Chris Huhne and National Grid, just an indirect connection through Clean Line Energy and Zilkha Biomass.   Like Hans Detweiler the Director of Development for the Rock Island Clean Line projctc for Clean Line Energy  said at the hearing before the Illinois Commerce Commission, “If somebody said it to me in a tavern I wouldn't argue with them, but I don't have firm evidence that I recall on that.”
Why would a British utility company want to hire a disgraced former energy bureaucrat?  I don’t know, but a large British Utility company quietly hiring a “rehabilitated” bureaucrat  make more sense than Zilkha Biomass hiring Chris Huhne as the “European manager”.

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