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Things you need to know about 
Rock Island "Clean" Line

Things you should know about



RICL wants the power of eminent domain to take private land for private gain. They would pay less than market value and do not propose to pay for land devaluation, permanent loss in productivity, additional production costs, loss of future development, and restricted potential of the properties impacted. Their proposed compensation is nowhere close to being fair or adequate. Impacts to NEIGHBORS- including from tile damage, restrictions on farming practices, devaluation, etc- are completely ignored by RICL and wouldn't receive any compensation. 

Farmers (per the Illinois AIMA and RICL contracts already handed out)  would be liable for damage to the structures, as well as the subsequent damages- such as causing an east coast factory being shut down because the power supply was interrupted. That’s assuming the farmer lived through an accident with huge structures through the middle of fields carrying 3x the power of Hoover Dam.

The parent company of Rock Island “Clean” Line (RICL) is Clean Line Energy Partners, LLC (CLE), a private company from Houston, TX started by billionaire investors- the Zilkhas and the Ziffs. RICL is a proposed high voltage direct current (HVDC) power line, which would cut a 500 mile swath, 200 feet wide, through the middle of private property from NW Iowa to south of the Chicago area. No one in between would have access to the power nor be able to feed into the lines. National Grid (U.K.) has the option to buy any or all of "Clean" Line projects at any time. A major portion of "Clean" Line projects could easily end up being foreign entities. 

Testimony submitted on June 25, 2013, to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) on Docket 12-0560 by ICC staff and ComED experts raises major questions about CLE’s ability to finance and to oversee the project!

RICL is NOT part of a comprehensive plan for grid expansion. It is one private company’s idea of how to make billions at taxpayer, consumer, and landowner expense. Alternatives such as burying the lines on public easements or upgrading existing easements have not been seriously considered or explored.

RICL reps have gathered support for the last 3 years using “economic benefit” figures that DO NOT INCLUDE COSTS. In addition, RICL’s “study” is criticized in ICC testimony as having a faulty model because the greater and more stupid the costs, then the greater the economic benefit could be claimed by RICL.

RICL has not established a “need “ for this giant electric cord to the east coast. No independent studies have been done to figure the true cost to consumers and landowners, nor has any independent study been done for environmental impacts.

RICL is NOT like our local electric companies and the parent company, Clean Line Energy Partners, LLC, has a business model like Enron

Minimal power (in the single digits) would go to the Chicago area with the rest going to the east through the eastern regional grid PJM.

East Coast Governors, including Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, have written Congress twice saying that they don’t want Midwest wind. It would undermine permanent jobs and renewable energy development in their own states.

Minimal temporary, local jobs are anticipated as HVDC construction is highly specialized and the contractor for RICL has already supposedly been hired. Keweit, according to testimony at the ICC, has never built a HVDC line. Convertor stations would be built in Europe and be assembled by the company employees- not locals as RICL would like you to believe. 

Our regional grid operators already have comprehensive plans for new transmission, which WE are paying for. Projects, such as MISO’s MVP projects, are in direct competition with CLE’s projects and increase the risk that projects will fail- for which we would pay. The Midamerican project (so Buffet can build wind farms for tax deductions) and the Illinois Rivers project are examples of projects that have gone through the regional planning process and proven NEED.... something that "Clean" Line claims they don't have to do, yet they want the power of eminent domain to "attract investors" (as they testified at the ICC).

RICL and Grain Belt Express are being sold as a merchant project, but there are indications that they’re planning to have ratepayers pay for the project through cost-allocation. In addition, ratepayers could easily end up having to pay for upgrades to existing transmission to accommodate the equivalent of another generator. 

CLE won’t disclose the studies nor how much our electric prices have to go up to in order to see the “savings” they claim we would have. Per the ICC testimony, those savings would be short term as the market equalizes. As the ICC testified at FERC, when we compete with higher cost markets, our prices go UP.

RICL’s own testimony at the ICC states that they may not even build the line. However, the acquisition of a new corridor through the heart of Iowa and Illinois would be a HIGHLY valuable commodity. The investors and exec staff of CLE have a history of starting Zilkha Renewables, selling it to Goldman Sachs as Horizon Wind, and then to an international conglomerate. So what’s to stop them from selling a new prime corridor?

Per FERC, the Illinois Commerce Commission, and RICL’s own comments to PJM, the lines would not be restricted to wind. Growth in ALL kinds of generation is enabled by new transmission.

Of the 600 meetings RICL “claims” to have had, 26 of those were for all of the landowners across Illinois and Iowa. They were slick, superficial “open houses” for which there were short and inadequate notices- if at all.

Landowner alert: Do NOT sign anything from RICL. They have NOT received public utility status in Illinois and they have HUGE hurdles to overcome in order to do so. IF, and it’s a huge IF, the time comes to negotiate easement contracts, you MUST get your own attorney and write your OWN contract. We will have help and information available IF that time comes.

Get the facts. Do your homework. Places to start:

Illinois Commerce Commission Docket 12-0560. 

 and and Block RICL Facebook page

Why ALL of us need to be concerned:

RICL is ONE venture capitalist company's idea of how to make a hefty profit. It does NOT consider the wind power available in Lake Michigan, nor on the Atlantic Coast - both of which are better wind resources than what RICL is proposing to tap into. If the same amount of money were spent IN state on energy efficiency programs and distributed generation, we would be supporting, by far, more permanent local jobs and benefitting the local renewable energy development.

In addition, numerous uncoordinated and unnecessary transmission line projects are being proposed in the Midwest - at the cost of billions of dollars to the taxpayer and consumer.