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Things you should know about RICL
Information Flyer August, 2013 

Key Points

Download the September, 2012 Block RICL Information Sheet.



See Paragraph 31 of FERC's RICL order here.

"We do not approve, however, Rock Island’s request to apply a preference for energy from renewable resources in its open season. Rock Island argues generally that public policy considerations and its need to attract support from stakeholders such as environmental organizations justify such a renewable energy preference. We find that Rock Island’s general arguments do not sufficiently explain how distinctions between renewable energy resources and other types of generators justify its requested preferential treatment in an open season for initial transmission capacity. The Commission has not previously approved the inclusion of a preference for energy from renewable resources in a transmission owner’s open season criteria, and Rock Island has failed to provide sufficient justification to do so here."

To read the complete order (with more information on the investors and the project) click here.


Reference to the ICC application where RICL explains that they would tie into high-voltage AC lines in Northwest Iowa for auxiliary power. WHAT'S on the lines when the wind doesn't blow?  It's a well-known fact in the transition industry that ANY new transmission also allows for new generating facilities- "clean" and "dirty." Build the new generation IN state, keep IN state permanent jobs, and keep the billions in taxpayer dollars IN state - not flowing out of country to foreign investors. But then, we all know that Illinois doesn't need the money nor permanent jobs.


According to Michael Skelly, President and co-founder of Clean Line Energy, wholesale electric prices must go up 50% in order for this line to be economically feasible.

Per the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), electric prices for Illinois consumers are raised when power from Illinois competes with power being sent to the east coast.  Exports can raise local prices, while lowering prices in distant markets.


RICL’s statistics for jobs that “may” be created in Illinois come from a private study commissioned by RICL.  High-voltage DC transmission line construction is highly specialized and is only done by a few companies in the US. Out-of-state and non-union workers will fill the majority of temporary construction jobs. The minimal, temporary in-state jobs will be what Clean Line calls “indirect & induced” service and hospitality jobs that will provide the means to send permanent renewable energy jobs out-of-state.  Importing renewables suppresses local economic development and compromises the reliability of our electric grid.


In 2011, Illinois residents were committed by our legislature to paying $3.2 BILLION to upgrade our own grid.  The new “Smart Grid” is supposed to help us conserve energy, consume energy more wisely, and, most importantly, allow us to develop our own renewable energy and sell the excess back into the grid.  This localized, distributed generation future for small-scale renewable energy, including solar and wind, benefits consumers by turning them into producers and will increase reliability.  RICL neglects to identify wind-rich Lake Michigan that, if developed, would benefit Illinois significantly.  RICL also neglects the superior off shore wind resources located on the east coast, close to load centers.  Ten East Coast governors, including New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, have written to Congress twice to state that they do NOT want Midwest wind. They do not need the power and explicitly state that importing energy undermines renewable energy development and permanent jobs in their own states.


The current drought highlights how important every acre of farmland really is, as demonstrated by rising costs of grocery products, higher cost of ethanol production, as well as thousands of other products that use corn, soy and their by-products.  

Over 12,000 acres would likely be taken for the easements alone.  New rights-of-way would produce a corresponding drop in the property tax base as the land is reassessed, dropping the value of the entire parcel and the tax base for the communities and counties. Contracts already handed out east of the Fox River indicate that Route 80 IS NOT being considered.

28 x28 foot up to 46 x 46 foot lattice structures (NOT monopoles) are proposed to cut through the middle of fields. Structures would be up to 200 ft. tall. With modern farming techniques, towers would add to the time and cost of production. Soil compaction, tile damage, and access to the poles for maintenance would cut yield. Aerial spraying and circle pivot irrigation would be inhibited if not impossible.  Electromagnetic fields from the lines can interfere with GPS systems.  Farmers would be liable for accidental damage to the poles and subsequent damages caused by a power outage resulting from the farmer’s actions.  This NON-renewable farmland would be negatively impacted in perpetuity.

Electromagnetic field impacts on crops have been studied on lines that carry a fraction of the electricity proposed by RICL. Overhead high voltage power line EMFs cause stress in crop plants and therefore negatively impacts production - resulting in economic loss.


The “need” for these lines has been artificially created by states passing renewable energy standards called Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that require them to purchase a certain percentage of renewable energy. Powerful wind and transmission interests have lobbied for billions in government incentives and tax production cuts.  Many of Clean Line’s executives and director of development have been very active in the trade/lobbying group “American Wind Energy Association.”  The investors and executives of Clean Line developed Horizon Wind Energy into a multi-billion dollar wind energy company. Per the FERC approval, they will be allowed to use these lines to serve their own future wind farms.


Clean Line’s business plan is to export expensive wind energy from western utility-scale wind farms to profitable markets on the east coast that must buy renewable energy.  Clean Line has made numerous financial promises to businesses, local government and landowners in states that it must pass through that will increase the ultimate cost of their product.  In addition, Clean Line cannot guarantee a “clean” product therefore there may be no customers for this energy, leaving Illinois holding the bag on a “renewable” white elephant with no market.