Yesterday, the Illinois Commerce Commission (IL’s PSC) held a public hearing in Mendota, IL. The hearing was held to let the ICC know how the public felt about a high voltage direct current transmission line proposed across their lands by power line speculators from a company called Clean Line.
The Clean Line hucksters have been taking their medicine show across the Midwest for the last few years promising wind power bonanzas to the locals. What the Clean Liners don’t tell the rubes is that they don’t have any buyers for the electricity on the other end of their lines, nor do they have a way to pay for them. They talk vaguely about renewable portfolio standards on the East Coast and how wind power development in the Midwest is kept from big money East Coast markets by lack of transmission.
What they don’t tell people is that demand in the US is flat right now and prices for renewable energy credits on the East Coast are at all time lows, because there is so much local renewable power available. Replacing the expensive coal fired plants that close over the next few years can easily be replaced by locally developed renewable generation, and, oh yes, that huge offshore wind resource sitting just off the East Coast.
Last night’s ICC hearing was about whether the ICC should grant Clean Line utility status in IL to make the hucksters eligible to apply for approval of their transmission projects in the state. Things didn’t go so well for the Clean Line boys:
MENDOTA — At 10 p.m., Robert R. Bensko with the Illinois Commerce Commission closed the public forum on Rock Island Clean Line’s application for public utility status.
He said of the 14½ pages of people signed up to speak, they had reached page seven. When members of the audience asked about a second hearing, Bensko said he would suggest it to the commission.
The forum filled the Mendota High School auditorium to capacity and Mendota fire chief Dennis Rutishauser had to ask people to either find a seat or exit the auditorium since it was at capacity with people standing in the aisles and filling the lobby.
Approximately 150 people signed up to enter their opinions into the ICC docket on the RICL’s proposal to construct a high-voltage transmission line from western Iowa across Illinois to a converter station near Morris.
While local politicians have lined up behind Clean Line in many states, IL land owners were ready to take them on.
As usual, the reporter echoed the power company’s misinformation without understanding how wrong it was. This is from a caption that accompanied the story:
A standing-room-only crowd was on hand at Mendota High School on Wednesday to give their thoughts on the proposed Rock Island Clean Line project. This line is intended to deliver 3,500 megawatts of renewable energy from Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota to Illinois and other eastern states that have a high demand for reliable and affordable clean energy.RICL’s line, if built, will run just south of Mendota, extend north of Triumph and on to Wedron.
Please, reporters, HVDC lines are described by their rated maximum capacity, which in this case is 3500 megawatts. A line does not “deliver” this capacity. That is simply the maximum amount of current that can flow through the line at one time before bad things start to happen. How much energy is actually “delivered” depends on whether there are any buyers on the other end of that line.
Which gets to the “high demand for reliable and affordable clean energy.” Energy that has to travel a couple thousand miles to get to load zones is never “reliable.” Experts on electrical reliability know that reliability is only maximized when electricity is generated at or near load.
And Mr. Glofelty, there just ain’t no high demand for your wind power on the East Coast. Read this.