After several years of Clean Line's unnoticed, cozy planning with federal agencies and environmental and business interests, affected landowner "stakeholders" have recently found out about Clean Line's destructive plans for their private property, and word is spreading quickly. The Clean Line cat is out the bag! (Along with some deee-licious ham!)
These resourceful grassroots activists have managed to dig up even more embarrassing Clean Line foibles (just when you thought we'd gotten to the bottom of the barrel!)
First interesting tidbit is the Tennessee Regulatory Authority Clean Line Plains & Eastern docket. Clean Line filed a petition to be granted public utility status back in April, along with the usual letters and resolutions of support from various business interests and local government entities. No landowners or other stakeholders stepped up to intervene or protest. Should be smooth sailing for Clean Line, right?
The TRA issued an Order on May 13 Convening A Contested Case And Appointing A Hearing Officer. No rubber stamp for Clean Line in Tennessee! Toto, I think they're not in Kansas anymore!
The TRA docketed the exchange of letters between Senator Alexander and Rep. Fincher and the TVA.
Clean Line's submitted testimony is rife with the same old specious claims about how much the project is wanted and needed by the TVA and mysterious "others."
Clean Line president Michael Skelly says:
The TVA and other load serving entities have a strong and growing demand for cost-effective electricity from renewable resources.
There has and will continue to be a demand for affordable and reliable renewable energy in Tennessee, the larger TVA service footprint, and throughout the Mid-South and Southeast.
The Project will allow TVA and other utilities in the South to reliably and consistently access the country’s most cost-effective wind energy resources.
In particular TVA has been a leader in realizing the benefits of wind energy in the Southeast. In its most recent Integrated Resource Plan, TVA called for 2,500 MW of renewable energy purchases by 2020. Wind energy from economical locations such as the Oklahoma Panhandle can provide a consistent, long-term, low-cost energy supply to TVA and other load-serving utilities in the Mid-South and Southeast.
These wholesale buyers may include TVA as well as other utilities inside and outside of Tennessee that seek to purchase low-cost electricity generated in the Oklahoma Panhandle region.
The Petition states that the Company will provide wind power to TVA and other potential customers. Please identify all other potential customers that Plains and Eastern has had discussions with regarding the purchase of power and provide copies of any agreements reached with these customers.
On page 6 of David Berry's testimony, he provides a list of wind power purchase
agreements involving the TVA (purchaser). To your knowledge, discuss the TVA's process for choosing to enter into such projects, including whether the projects go through the RFP process.
Is TVA or other potential wholesale purchasers under any obligations (including any state or federal requirements) to purchase additional wind power to meet its renewable energy objectives? Provide supporting documentation. To your knowledge, is TVA currently meeting its renewable energy objectives? Will TVA be able to meet its renewable energy objectives absent approval of Plains and Eastern's petition?
Provide a copy of all Memorandums of Understanding with TVA.
Please explain and describe in detail any guarantees or assurances that Plains and Eastern can provide lower cost renewable energy to TVA than TVA currently purchases.
Please list all available state and federal tax credits that Plains and Eastern currently
receives related to projects in other states and federal credits that the Company anticipates receiving upon completion of the project proposed in this docket. Are these federal credits figured into the pricing model used by Plains and Eastern? If so, please explain in detail the impact on rates, as well as the Company's overall operations, that
would result if these federal credits were discontinued by the federal government.
On page 9 of Michael Skelly's direct testimony, he states, "The TVA and other load serving entities have a strong and growing demand for cost-effective electricity from renewable resources." Provide the source from TVA and other potential entities stating they have a growing demand for renewable resources.
On page 11 of Michael Skelly's direct testimony, he states, "The Project will allow TVA and other utilities in the South to reliably and consistently access the country's most cost effective wind energy resources." Please provide all underlying support and rationale
relied upon for the assertion that this project will allow access to "the country's most
cost-effective wind energy resources."
For clarification, please provide the estimated number of construction jobs that would be
created in Tennessee if the petition is approved. Also provide the estimated duration of these temporary construction jobs.
For clarification, please provide the estimated number of permanent full-time jobs that
would be created in Tennessee upon completion of the project.
Please describe any assurances and/or guarantees that Plains and Eastern will hire
Tennesseans for the temporary construction and permanent jobs detailed above.
Provide the latest update on the environmental impact statement being prepared by the DOE under NEPA. Also provide the latest update on all federal reviews/environmental studies being performed by the DOE.
Provide an update regarding Plains and Eastern's CCN application in Arkansas.
Also, the trade press has developed a sudden and voracious appetite for all things Clean Line after Arkansas NPR affiliate KUAF did an in-depth story.
First the "Recharge News" wrote a piece all about Clean Line's aspirations to use the federal eminent domain power of the Department of Energy to take privately held land from the people of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee. Except, the reporter got it wrong and had to correct his original assertion that Clean Line had received eminent domain authority in Oklahoma. The reporter got schooled about the legal status of Plains & Eastern by an Arkansan, not by company president Michael Skelly. The reporter also "miscommunicated" the authority for the federal EIS, claiming that "Clean Line is in the process of preparing a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project, which it hopes to release later this year for public comment." Oh, so that explains why DOE personnel, who are actually preparing the DEIS for release and public comment this fall, act more like minions of Clean Line than the federal government. Something really stinks in that stall!
The reporter also tells us that the DOE approval of this scheme to take privately held land for corporate profit is "eventual," although even he couldn't use the word "partnership" without quotes.
The eventual “partnership” with DOE through its agency Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA), which markets power in six south-central states, would be limited to use – if needed – SWPA’s eminent domain authority to obtain right-of-way in Arkansas.
SPRA has concerns in general about implementation of Section 1222, and specifically about the proposed Plains and Eastern project. Of specific concern is the protection of SPRA’s federal power customers from any and all liabilities arising from the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and/or ownership of Section 1222 projects. Other concerns include the
demonstrated need for any proposed project and that such projects promote interconnection of the grid in which they are located.
SWPA’s original authority to construct transmission facilities is limited by Section 5 of the Flood Control Act of 1944 to “only such … facilities as may be necessary in order to
make the energy and power generated at … [Corps] projects available” to its wholesale
customers. SPRA is concerned about extending SWPA’s authority to construct transmission facilities beyond this original mandate.
Looks like Clean Line is once again channeling Admiral Yamamoto: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."