What purpose did the Houston Chronicle article serve? Was the reporter actually trying to make a point? That renewable energy isn't "lonely" in Houston? Michael Skelly may be about as lonely as they come these days. Nobody seems to care about the transmission lines he hopes to build anymore. It's all about Michael Skelly, just like it was all about Michael Skelly back in August, when Skelly practiced heroics with his feet on a table during Hurricane Harvey. And back in 2014, when he showcased his heroism in building a compound of historic homes in one of those terrible "poorer" neighborhoods. Building -- something that was actually done. Not something one aspires to in order to pretend it's happening. Michael Skelly sure has "built" quite the ego.
Skelly likes to pretend that the abandonment of his dream and the sale of a portion of his project to NextEra was a "success."
Michael Skelly, the company's president, told Arkansas Business that the direct-current project, which would have transmitted 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy from Western Oklahoma to eastern Tennessee, is basically on life support.
"Everybody knows that if you can delay a project, you can hurt it or force a different outcome," Skelly said after devoting nearly nine years and some $100 million in private investor money to the project, which would have crossed 12 Arkansas counties with 200-foot-high transmission towers. "We're ending up with an outcome that's just fine for us business-wise, but not as good for Arkansas."
As far as that delay thing goes, he's partly right though. It may have turned out oh so differently for Michael Skelly and Clean Line if they had honestly attempted to engage landowners along the route and find out what would inspire them to sign a voluntary right of way agreement. Instead, Clean Line acted like an arrogant, entitled, smart ass, figuring it only had to make it look like it was negotiating with landowners, while desperately attempting to acquire the power of eminent domain to force involuntary easements. Any cost conscious, astute developer would have given up many years ago, however. Only Michael Skelly continued for 9 years, wasting increasing amounts of funds supplied by his silly investors. Business-wise, Clean Line is a bust. I'm thinking they didn't get anywhere near the $100M they spent on Plains & Eastern in the NextEra sale. Only Skelly's ego is pretending that was a good outcome. Maybe if he says it enough, money to repay the investors will fall from the sky? Maybe if he says it enough, he won't be a 50-something year old failure?
Clean Line Energy spokeswoman Vicki Ayres-Portman explained the impact wind energy has had on local county budgets and what it would mean to be the member of a state that divests in wind energy at Monday's get-together.
Ayres-Portman was taking the place of originally scheduled speaker Mark Yates, Oklahoma director for the Wind Coalition.
“Most of you have probably heard there are two bills running on the floor of the house today that would have a detrimental impact on the future and possibly retroactive on wind development,” she said. “So Mark felt like he really needed to stay at the capitol today and asked if I would stop by on my way to the capitol and give you guys an update on wind energy in Oklahoma.”
Ayres-Portman detailed the well publicized and still working 9-year-old Clean Line project set to run from the Oklahoma Panhandle to Tennessee. The $2.5 billion, 4,000 megawatt project that was set to provide energy to customers in Arkansas, Tennessee and other markets stalled recently. The issues hamstringing the plans come after President Trump began pushing coal and nuclear power options.
"The market has really changed since Clean Line started this effort eight, nine years ago,” Ayres-Portman said. “At that time, the bioenergy centers to the East were really looking forward to more renewables. We had a new President elected. And although I agree with a lot of great things he’s done, one of the things, pushing coal and nuclear has really dampened the power purchase agreements from big utilities that were looking at doing renewables, whether that was natural gas, wind or solar.”
So those companies that had memorandums of understanding to come onto the Clean Line transmission line, have pulled away from those agreement.
Clean Line needs to just go away. The idea that consumers would pay a premium to import wind energy from far, far away wasn't viable. And the idea that landowners would welcome a transmission line across their property if it carried "renewable energy" was completely bogus. Enough time and money has been wasted. Give the old ego a rest and just go away. I think you might be on the verge of embarrassing yourself.