Now GBE and its allies have again informed the PSC that they got it wrong at a recent Commission agenda meeting when they unanimously decided to put a decision on hold until the matter of Neighbors United v. Ameren is firmly decided by the courts.
Grain Belt Express, MJMEUC, Infinity Wind, and some environmental group all filed whiny, superfluous briefs urging the Commission to issue a decision on Grain Belt Express and repeat the legal mistake they made on the Ameren case. They rehashed their prior arguments that the GBE case is different than the Ameren case. Obviously the Commissioners read those arguments the first time and rejected them. What's changed? Nothing. Nothing at all. They just increased the volume of the whining, made specious claims, and behaved like spoiled brats who can't stand it that they're not getting their way.
The whiners claim that delay will make it impossible for Infinity Wind to claim this year's 80% production tax credit and if it can't qualify, then the price for MJMEUC will go up. Say what? MJMEUC signed a contract for wind at a cost that wasn't fixed? Well, wasn't that poor planning on your part, MJMEUC? Didn't your momma ever tell you not to count your chickens before they hatched? And if MJMEUC's cost to purchase wind from Infinity Wind goes up, doesn't that also mean that the claimed "$10M savings" disappears and that the Commission can no longer rely on that to make a decision? You didn't think this one out too well, did you?
So, let's see... the production tax credit is paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Infinity Wind claims it will use that credit to sell power to MJMEUC at a low price. It's not like it's "free"... any PTC not claimed equals a tax break for everyone, including MJMEUC customers.
And maybe I missed something, but I don't remember anything from the evidentiary hearing saying that MJMEUC's contract with Infinity Wind was dependent upon the company scoring an 80% PTC, and that prices would go up if the MO PSC doesn't approve GBE this year. So, is this claim even true?
GBE also whines that no decision is a "defacto denial" of its application. Is that sort of like a "pocket approval?" They both belong in the land of make believe.
The Commission just can't issue an approval of GBE and make it conditional upon future county assent. The last time they did that with Ameren, the court vacated their approval. The Commission can't issue an approval and pretend that county assent isn't needed at all. The court also said that was wrong. The only thing the Commission can do is delay, or issue a denial. It seems that GBE is either so arrogantly sure of itself that the only decision can be approval, or they actively want a denial of their application so they can put the project on a shelf and stop wasting cash on it.
Grain Belt Express must invest tens of millions of dollars in engineering, environmental permitting, and easement acquisition to continue to develop the Project. The Company’s ability to make this investment is severely limited by the present state of regulatory uncertainty in Missouri. If the Commission grants a CCN in this proceeding, that uncertainty will disappear and Grain Belt Express will continue to develop the Project. While parties opposed to the Project may appeal such a decision because of the lack of certain county assents, planning for the Project can continue. Because the Company has agreed that the Commission may condition the CCN to provide that Grain Belt Express will not begin construction until it has obtained all Section 229.100 county assents, no party will be prejudiced.
The parties are entitled to receive a decision by the Commission. Whether that decision grants or denies the Application, the parties and the public at large deserve to know whether the Commission believes that Grain Belt Express has met the Tartan criteria, and if it has, what conditions should govern the CCN. Any significant delay in the Commission coming to a decision benefits no one.
Show Me Concerned Landowners' response succinctly sums it up: