On Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy sold its authority to condemn land to private investors in exchange for two percent of the investors' profit from using the condemned land.
That's right... the U.S. DOE will receive 2% of the revenues collected by Clean Line at the end of each fiscal quarter, once the transmission line starts delivering electricity. DOE says it will use its new windfall "to offset costs associated with federal hydropower infrastructure or for any other authorized purpose." So, at best, this payola will be used to lower rates for customers of federal hydropower marketers. At worst, it will be used "for any other authorized purpose." Of course, this isn't defined. So ol' Beethoven could "authorize" the purchase of a private island for him and his renewable energy investor buddies. Anything goes, right, Ernie?
Everybody is making money off the Clean Line scheme. Clean Line's investors, Clean Line's executives (personally invested in the project), legislators Clean Line has "donated" to, vendors who want to supply goods and services, local governments being paid off at the rate of $7500/transmission mile, wind companies, landowners who lease their land for wind farm royalties, Federal hydropower ratepayers, environmental groups, unions, economic development hacks, and even the Federal government. It's all profit and no sacrifice from these entities. Everyone's got their finger into the money pie, and it costs them nothing. These are the supposed "public benefits."
And these are the sacrifices that must be made so that "the public" can benefit. The landowner whose property is along the transmission line route is forced to sacrifice his private property to enable this money-fest for the benefit of others without any skin in the game. He pays dearly. The landowner can be found at the bottom of this greed pile on. The landowner isn't part of any "share in the wealth" plan. The landowner is involuntarily forced to make a sacrifice by having his property condemned by the Federal government so that others can profit from its use. In exchange, the landowner is handed a one time pittance that attempts to compensate him for the current value of his property taken. A landowner's potential for future profit related to his property? The Federal government doesn't recognize that in its rush to provide for the future profits of energy speculators, union workers, suppliers, etc.
If my property was subject to such a taking, I'd add the following clause to any easement or survey permission presented to me, in addition to any "fair market value" or one-time structure payments:
Participation Amount. Commencing on and after the Project Completion, Clean Line shall pay to the easement grantor (landowner) at the end of each fiscal quarter an amount equal to 2% of the gross revenues received by the Clean Line Parties from the Project during such fiscal quarter resulting from the sale of transmission service in connection with the Project (as such gross revenue amount is reflected in Clean Line's Financial Statements for such fiscal quarter, including, with respect to the first such fiscal quarter, sales of transmission service which occurred at any time prior to Project Completion) (the “Participation Amount”).
The Participation Amounts shall be paid to landowner to offset costs associated with having their property devalued and their quality of life disturbed in perpetuity, or for any other landowner authorized purpose.