Once again, it is necessary to update the public on the real story behind the Clean Line transmission line project. Clean Line executives are, as always, telling half the story. The other half is not so rosy for them. Per the Department of Energy "Participation Agreement" (see Energy.gov), there are tremendous hurdles Clean Line has to overcome before the DOE will fully participate in this project.
Here are some of those requirements.
Clean Line has to actually have customers. Up to 3,500 megawatts of the 4,000MW they say they will produce has to have fully committed purchasers. They still have no megawatts committed to anyone or any customers, to our knowledge. They have to have three additional interconnection studies done by three different entities and those have to be agreed upon and fully executed.
Clean Line has to have 100 percent of the financing for the entire project, up front. According to Clean Line’s numbers, that is $2.1 billion.
But, the most important item of which landowners should be aware is the DOE died not, repeat did not grant Clean Line the right of eminent domain. he DOE reserved that right unto themselves So, Clean Line has no right to condemn property under either state or federal law. And, before the DOE will negotiate any rights-of-way, Clean Line has to go through a rigorous acquisition process.
Any violation of that process will be a violation of the DOE agreement. Landowners should document these conversations. Any rights-of-way acquired by Clean Line prior to meeting these requirements will be done so without DOE participation. The DOE is relying upon Clean Line to "voluntarily" pay taxes in Arkansas. That means they can stop at any point, and I certainly would not spend that money in advance, if I were those counties.
So, as you see, until these and many more conditions are met, there is no participation by the DOE, merely an agreement to participate, subject to all requirements. As to this being a "clean line" the DOE is only requiring that Clean Line make all "commercially reasonable efforts" to carry renewable energies on this line.
And then, only up to 75 percent of the line’s capacity. After all of this effort and anxiety on the parts of landowners, Clean Line is not even required to carry "clean energy." So, those "dirty fossil fuels" that the Sierra Club and others decry will be generating down this line anyway. Perhaps those who are all to ready to sign onto to anything that uses the word "clean" should do a little research before naively endorsing projects.
To those of us who oppose this unnecessary line, this is merely another step and we are fully prepared to continue our battle against this trampling of our states’ rights. Our federal congressional delegation is investigating the untested procedures used by the DOE in this case. In the meantime, landowners do not have to sign anything because Clean Line can’t condemn you.
Stay strong together.