Since the signing of the MOU with the TVA, Clean Line has cut the size of its Plains & Eastern Clean Line project in half. And now another setback for the project seems to be in the works.
The TVA has announced the preparation of a new integrated resource plan, which is a plan developed to define the short and long term capacity additions (supply side) and demand side management programs that it will undertake to meet projected energy demands.
"TVA spokesman Duncan Mansfield said Friday the 2015 planning session is expected to begin in the fall and likely will last 18 months. Members of the advisory panel have not been selected yet, he said."
If TVA is planning to import Clean Line's 3500 MW of Midwest wind, it would be a big part of this plan, right? Instead:
"Generally, the agency expects to back off coal and step up nuclear production. But nuclear increases will depend on whether regulators approve plans for new nuclear reactors for the Watts Bar and Bellefonte plants.
Other expected power demands will be met mostly by increased efficiency, Mansfield said.
"Right now, coal makes up about 40 percent of our power generation. That will come down to about one-third, and nuclear will come up to about 40 percent [by 2027]," Mansfield said.
The remaining 30 percent will come mainly from hydroelectric dams, natural gas, efficiency gains and -- to a much lesser degree -- solar and wind energy, Mansfield said."
Looks like Clean Line's puffery about TVA's "support" of its project didn't fool the most important "stakeholder" of all, the TVA.
So now Clean Line has "...issued a request for information to wind farm owners in the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles to help gauge their demand for new high voltage transmission capacity to export power." In other words, Clean Line is now looking to shore up its case with the TVA by collecting data, no matter how dubious, to show that Clean Line's wind energy will be price competitive with all those other resources TVA is intending to include in its plan.
In keeping with what Skelly probably imagines is his look of "confidence" (that actually more closely resembles puckering up to kiss his project goodbye and have himself a good cry), the company continues to pretend that reality doesn't matter:
"TVA also recently announced that it will update its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), a framework that specifies target levels for generation types to meet projected electric demand. Rapid developments in the electric sector prompted TVA to update its IRP sooner than expected to account for low natural gas prices, new regulations on coal, and the falling cost of wind and solar. TVA is just beginning its current IRP process, which is on schedule to be finalized by the end of 2014. As part of the IRP, TVA has committed to carry out a detailed review of renewable options. TVA’s recent efforts to incorporate more wind from outside its footprint suggest that it will continue to give low-cost renewable energy due consideration in its IRP. Clean Line expects wind energy from the Great Plains to be highly competitive in this consideration. Also encouraging is the fact that TVA invited Clean Line, along with wind generators and turbine manufacturers to provide data for the current effort. Information gathered from this RFI can help increase TVA’s confidence in additional wind purchases as viable options."
There's no guarantee that any of these wind resources will develop, or will develop at the price submitted in this information response.
"Clean Line acknowledges that none of the information provided by Respondents is binding and that it is provided solely for informational purposes."
So how can the aggregated "information" be verified?
"Clean Line will maintain the confidentiality of all submissions."
I suppose we should just trust Clean Line to be honest about information that can make or break the company?
"Clean Line acknowledges that pricing is indicative, not binding, and provided only for informational purposes."
Then what good is anything produced out of this silly exercise?
And which price do you suppose Clean Line is going to use: the levelized price with or without the PTC (production tax credit -- taxpayer subsidies)? Is Clean Line seriously expecting to make the case to TVA that its product is cheaper than other resources because it's being subsidized by taxpayers?
Clean Line is no charity. It's a for profit enterprise financed by billionaires and a foreign corporation. Its investors are going to make a bundle of money if Clean Line can glad-hand and hoodwink its way to project completion. But every speculative venture has its tipping point where even the most patient investors have to cut their losses and fold.
Clean Line asks in its RFI: Is there an increasing demand for transmission service from the wind resource area of the Oklahoma panhandle?
I think the most obvious answer is no.