Environmental geeks and freaks think Clean Line is just the beginning of a new politically-motivated transmission grid, where lines are added based on lobbying, back room deals, kickbacks, and the politics of the moment in Washington, DC. Except they're toying with the world's largest machine... the engineering wonder that keeps the lights on.
The idea that gigantic transmission projects that have nothing to do with a coordinated plan can be politically forced into operation completely upends the current regulatory system in its entirety. It discourages coordinated planning and membership in regional transmission organizations, usurps traditional state siting and permitting authority, and obviates regulatory authority.
Why waste time at RTOs or regulatory agencies, when you can use politics to get your transmission project built? If you can dream it up, and find some investors to finance its initial development, why bother with lengthy and risky regulatory and regional planning processes? The more lines built outside the planning process, the less likely transmission developers will be to participate in the RTO process. If the political decisions of a federal agency, made behind closed doors without any due process, are the new norm, we're in big, big trouble.
Because this guy thinks we should be like China now, and just start building with no concern for planning, regulation, or due process. Of course, he also thinks the sun and wind are "concentrated" in sparsely populated areas. That's the most ridiculous bunch of malarkey I've ever heard. The wind blows and the sun shines everywhere. In fact, the wind blows harder and for more sustained periods offshore than it does in the Midwest. Why don't we start building transmission to harvest that? Because it upsets the politics in Washington, DC and other east coast cities, where the energy hogs don't want to look at any new infrastructure clogging up their sea views.
And he uses a map for a "national transmission overlay" that was originally proposed by coal-lovin' American Electric Power 10 years ago as a "wind integration" idea. Except when AEP's map is superimposed over a map of U.S. coal deposits, it sure looks like their "wind integration" grid was intended to move coal-fired power around. How else do you explain the complete lack of new lines "integrating wind" into the Southeast and New England. Don't they love "wind," too?
So, yes, let's be like China and just start building an uncoordinated, politically-motivated grid and run roughshod over our people and regulatory system. Let's get rid of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, regional transmission operators, state public service commissions, and due process for affected citizens and have our grid "managed" by politics at the DOE. Because making a rather insane "ugly compromise" like that is supposed to be necessary to save the planet. Screw the people who gotta live there.