Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Clean Line Dir of Development can supply $20/MW Wind from Kansas

Grain Belt Express says wind energy can be produced and sold for $20/MW from Kansas wind farms! 

This probably wasn’t a headline making news article, but The St. Joseph Missouri News-Press Now quotes Clean Line Energy’s Grain Belt Express Director of Development, Mark Lawlor as saying wind energy can be generated for $20/MWH and sold over GBE for another twenty bucks, with a total cost of $40/MWH.

HOLY CA-CA!!!!  Here’s a quote from the paper.

“This will be clean, cost-effective energy,” said Mark Lawlor, Clean Line’s development director. “It will pay about $30,000 per mile in taxes, which will mostly go to schools. Missouri will be able to buy about 500 of those megawatts.”

The electricity will cost about 2 cents to produce a kilowatt hour and another 2 cents a kilowatt hour to transport, Mr. Lawlor said.

That’s a very economical competitive price.  Seriously, the paper quotes and attributes Mark Lawlor to making such an outlandish claim.  It’s surprising partly because, for one thing, Clean Line Energy Partners (CLEP) has given no confirmation how much wind energy will cost over the Rock Island Clean Line (RICL).  Second, CLEP will not say how much they will charge for their services over RICL.  Keep in mind GBE is about 50% longer than RICL (more overhead).  Third, cost estimates have only gone up as more equipment is added to these proposed projects for reliability.  Finally, (fourth) with the Big Sky Wind Farm going bankrupt in Illinois and changing ownership while selling energy at the Locational Marginal Price (LMP or the open market price), it was easily interpreted that wind farms cannot compete without sweetheart 20 year Power Purchasing Agreements at premium prices.

Is Mark Lawlor suggesting the wind blows so much more in southwest Kansas, that wind energy can be competitive at lower prices to cover fixed costs more easily?

The claim by Lawlor that wind energy wheeled over the Grain Belt Express will be charged $20/MW is also most interesting.  (2 cents per kilowatt equals $20 per megawatt.)  The best and most reliable reference from CLEP to an actual charge for one of their transmission projects was previously at $25/MW.  If you can’t believe a Clean Line Energy report to MISO as being half hearted close to accurate, what can you assume to be a fairly accurate forward focused projection? 

So Mark Lawlor claims wind energy from Kansas can be generated for $20/MW and sold for another $20/MW for a total cost of $40/MW.  I suspect this is another example of Clean Line Energy Partners making outlandish unsubstantiated claims to the Missouri media in an attempt to sway public opinion before Clean Line files for approval from Missouri utility regulators. 

Like Keryn at STOPPATHWV reported, the Missouri Landowners Alliance has filed a complaint  to the Missouri PSC about CLEP’s use of propaganda tactics. The alliance has protested CLEP’s practice’ of making any outlandish claim before filing with the Missouri PSC in order to sway public opinion to effectively sway the PSC’s opinion.  When the time comes for hearing for GBE’s approval these claims to the media will be long forgotten and ignored. 

So, is Mark Lawlor prepared to take a witness stand and state under oath the Grain Belt Express can and will supply electricity to eastern states for $40/MW? 

If I were Mr. Lawlor, I’d start getting nervous about making such claims.  It’s quite balzy.  Hans Detweiler, Mark’s peer for the RICL project wouldn’t even make such a claim, and we’ve been daring him for over a year to tell us how much this energy will cost.  Maybe GBE has wind energy companies lined up willing and able to supply energy for forty bucks.  If that’s the case, I’m impressed.  I might suggest to Clean Line Energy this should be their selling point to the media, but no wind energy company has come forward ready and willing to sell wind energy for $20 without the federal Production Tax Credit.

One last thing, let’s talk about Lawlor’s claim that the powerline will generate $30,000 per mile in tax revenue and most of it will go “to the schools”.  Isn’t Iowa’s replacement tax of $7,000 per mile to cover loss in farmland property values and subsequent loss of tax income?  Wasn’t Clean Line Energy pressuring Illinois counties to sign on for a $7,000 per mile for only twenty years in lieu of property taxes?   One year ago this blog was commenting how foolish it was for Whiteside, Henry, and Rock Island counties to be willing to accept RICL’s offer for $7,000 mile so quickly.  Suckers.

Looks like that $7,000 has gone up to $30,000.  Way to go Whiteside, Henry and Rock Island county boards!  You really showed Clean Line Energy who is a foolish negotiator.  In case anyone is still having trouble with the math here, 30,000 is greater than 4 times more than 7,000. 

So, is this just another case where Mark Lawlor will promise anything before CLEP files with the Missouri PSC or has the monetary offer to the counties gone up dramatically now that Missouri counties are rescinding their support for Clean Line Energy Partners?  In either case, good luck getting anything substantive in writing from Clean Line Energy Partners.  A quote from a newspaper article is about as good as anyone can get out of a Clean Line Energy Partners Director of Development. 

You can bet someone will be saving this St. Joseph article for future reference, but right now, I am hearing a giant swirling sound coming out of Missouri as these projects are about to be flushed. 

1 comment:

  1. Ask Dave Berry! He's the one holding the ridiculous claims bag before the MO PSC. He actually put those numbers in a LCOE submitted with his testimony (haven't looked at the actual LCOE yet). Right... does that include the PTC or not? And how did the GBE project get cheaper over time, although its costs keep going up? It's going to be a bloodbath. If I was Dave Berry, I'd start practicing getting "sick" now, just so I didn't have to try to survive cross during the hearing. But, what does this company care about making ridiculous claims -- by the time the MO PSC realizes how ridiculous these claims are, the damage will already be done. Unless, maybe, the MO PSC didn't just fall off the farm wagon? It is the "show me" state, after all... show me, Dave Berry! LOL