Thousands of small, independent farm businesses and other residents of the Midwest are being asked to suck it up and make a financial sacrifice to accept the burden of new high voltage transmission lines through their land proposed by Clean Line Energy Partners.
There is no proven need for Clean Line's projects. They are a speculative venture that assumes "states farther east" will pay outrageous prices for wind energy exported from Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma. These projects aren't needed to keep the lights on. They are intended to supplant current generators in "states farther east" and replace them with generation imported from thousands of miles away. This is not economic, nor reliable.
Clean Line Energy Partners is financed by a couple of billionaires, who expect that they will make a huge return on their investment by selling capacity on new transmission lines at a huge profit.
Clean Line has identified one of its investors as Michael Zilkha of Houston, whose inherited fortune was made in the oil industry.
Who is Michael Zilkha? I'm sure he's a perfectly nice man who just happens to live in a 20,515 sq. foot stone manse that features 17 rooms. Built in 1999, the residence features a pool with pool house and lavish grounds including gardens and courtyards.... but no transmission towers. Nasty energy infrastructure is Not In Michael's Back Yard.
Our perfectly nice Mr. Zilkha also supports the arts, making Houston's society pages by "saving lives through words" by supporting poetry at the Houston Writer's Ball.
(go ahead, click through and check out all the photos of our glittery social heroes saving the world with ostentatious panache). Well, that's very helpful for all the Midwesterners who are being asked to make financial sacrifices to enable his transmission line investment to pan out. Maybe he'll write you a poem about eminent domain?
I think I'd rather hang out at a barn dance. At least the people are real.