From Alison Milsaps and Dave Ulery, Block Plains and Eastern Clean Line:

To recap the events of recent weeks: Plains & Eastern, Clean Line’s regulatory crown jewel and the only of its projects to be fully (if questionably) permitted, is DEAD in Arkansas. Hallelujah. Don’t take our word for it, though. Let’s look at a little evidence:

Hubris: Clean Line’s Michael Skelly and the End of the Plains and Eastern Project…

You know, I love it when this happens.

Under the agreement, Clean Line Energy retains project assets east of Oklahoma, and NextEra Energy Resources owns only the project assets in Oklahoma.

Clean Line Energy added that the transaction will continue the project’s forward momentum and install a new sponsor to a transmission solution to the burgeoning wind sector in Oklahoma and the Southwest Power Pool.

A Clean Line Energy spokesperson on Dec. 22 told TransmissionHub of the deal, “We cannot disclose financial information.”

Clean Line Energy Partners, a Houston-based developer of five major transmission lines for wind-generated electricity, has dropped its interconnection agreement with TVA for one of its most promising projects after the federal utility declined to buy what Clean Line officials said would be cheaper and cleaner power for TVA…

But after years of study, TVA said the Clean Line project didn’t make economic sense for the nation’s biggest government-owned utility, since TVA already has enough power-generating capacity and is on path to get more than half of its power from carbon-free sources. TVA President Bill Johnson said the intermittent nature of wind power would require TVA to build other backup power generators, including natural gas plants, that would offset the promised savings from the wind-generated power sources alone.

“We’re looking at a power demand in the future that is flat, or declining slightly, so we don’t anticipate needing major additions to power generation for a decade or more,” Johnson said.

“We all are wondering at this point” what is going on, said Julie Morton, of Van Buren. “We are disconnected on the western end now. The TVA was going to take 3,500 of the 4,000 megawatts it was going to generate, but now it is disconnected on that end.

“We are stuck in the middle, unplugged at both ends, and the only way out for us is if Clean Line completely implodes, which I think is happening, and the Department of Energy withdraws from the project.”

and now…

Using powers contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the department moved the project forward over the objections of Arkansas leaders.

Among other things, the law would enable the use of eminent domain to obtain property from unwilling sellers.

But the participation agreement allows the department to back out of the deal if “the Commencement Date has not occurred by December 31, 2018.”

In the letter, delegation members urged Perry to “pause the Project to either study or terminate its participation before the deadline.”

Since it was unveiled, the power line project has generated controversy.

Arkansas lawmakers ask DOE to block Clean Line transmission project

Don’t know what more we could possibly need to show that this project is O. V. E. R.  I do wonder if the appellate case was dismissed so there would be no precedent, and then, immediately after it was dismissed, all this happens.  Then, if they or someone else wants to try a Section 1222 project, the door remains open????



(This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no pdf document associated with this entry.) ORDER: The motion, No. 25 , is denied without prejudice. We’ll see how the briefing goes. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 1/17/2017. (slb) (Entered: 01/17/2017)

Here’s the NPR report, as above, the Motion was denied today, without prejudice:

Clean Line Wants Landowners’ Hearing Expedited, Says Delays Imperil $2 Billion Project

Here are the filings leading up to this, from the Eastern Arkansas Federal Court site:






02713958575_Order_Schedule 02713961448_


And as above, the simple text denial of that Motion:

(This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no pdf document associated with this entry.) ORDER: The motion, No. 25 , is denied without prejudice. We’ll see how the briefing goes. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 1/17/2017. (slb) (Entered: 01/17/2017)


Here’s their press release:


And here is the full “Record of Decision” of DOE:

There’s a lot to read here, and I’m just starting.  The primary question I have is what exactly it means that the DOE will “participate” and what that decision confers on the project proponents.  Much of that is in the “Participation Agreement” of which there were drafts, this is the “Executed Version” that has conditions that CLEP must meet.  Section 1222 is a financing provision, and having worked on a couple of projects that are USDA RUS funded, how do they get from financial wheeler-dealering to the idea that DOE participation could circumvent state jurisdiction and powers?

The entire Arkansas delegation has come out strongly against it, slamming the DOE decision.  Now how about they introduce a bill to repeal Section 1222?  That ought to take care of it!



Last week there was a large info dump from the DOE. Environmental Impact Statements are rolling through the Dept. of Energy’s Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, one for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line (see BLOCK Clean Line) and its ; another for the Great Northern Transmission Line (see Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line)  They’re in different departments at this office, “Clean Line” is a “Section 1222” review and the “Not-so-Great Northern” is a Presidential Permit application.

Here’s the Record of Decision schedule (click for larger version):


And the full DOE EIS schedule (they’ve not yet released the November schedule):

Key EIS Chart – October 2015

  • Record of Decision expected 1/16/2016.  The Clean Line project has no associated state permitting and review process, because the applicant was rejected by the State of Arkansas as a utility, and because they’re not a utility, they’re not eligible for a state permit.  To make things more complicated, the Section 1222 review is something new, there are no rules, and it’s a financing law, and that is all (though Clean Line wants it to be so much more!).  The DOE held scoping meetings and hearings in Texas and Tennessee, and in multiple locations across Oklahoma and Arkansas, but these were only about environmental review, and not the Section 1222 issues or anything else.  They’ve not scheduled hearings, there’s no evidentiary hearing, nothing, despite a specific request.  Comment letters are in Appendix Q, and there are THREE of them!   They listed on the comments the FEIS sections where comments are addressed.  What a pain to go back and forth, where the sections are not clearly identified on the links.
  • Record of Decision “uncertain.”  What does that mean?  The “Not-so-Great” Northern Transmission Project is before the DOE because the applicants Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro (in the U.S., it’s just Minnesota Power, doing the lifting for both) have applied for a Presidential Permit, essentially permission to market power between Canada and the US.  In tandem with this DOE Presidential Permit, MP has applied for a state Certificate of Need and Routing Permit.  Hearings are over, briefs are in (there are NO intervenors in this docket), and now we’re waiting for the ALJ Recommendation.  Then exceptions to the Recommendation, and on the the PUC.  that’s probably why the RoD date is “uncertain,” because there’s the state agency that they’re dealing with.

So there are procedural differences, timing differences.  But it sure is a lot to wade through.  Plus the PolyMet FEIS just came out.

SPP Map 2013

As if they don’t exist?  Yes, and that’s because they don’t.  That’s because they’re transmission projects in their own minds, and not in reality.

What?  SPP, the Southwest Power Pool, dissing Clean Line?  See for yourself!  It’s as simple as doing a simple search of the SPP planning reports.

We know, Clean Line is all about Clean Line, but there’s a significant disconnect between what Clean Line is saying about SPP, claiming “approval” of its projects and incorporation of those projects into SPP’s plans, and the reality of what shows up in those plans.  Or more correctly, what DOESN’T show up in those plans:




Whadda ya mean?  Well, on November 19, 2012, Plains & Eastern Clean Line sent out this press release:

SPP Transmission Working Group approves Plains & Eastern Clean Line reliability studies

This press release was EVERYWHERE, with Clean Line jubilant, jumping up and down, so excited and so elated, and stated that:

The Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Transmission Working Group today unanimously passed a motion accepting that the Plains & Eastern Clean Line reliability studies completed to date have met the coordinated planning requirements.

And went on to say (emphasis added) that:

Clean Line is also pleased to announce that it recently submitted the Plains & Eastern Clean Line and Grain Belt Express Clean Line projects, both +/- 600 kV high voltage direct current transmission projects capable of transmitting 3,500 MW from the SPP footprint to external-to-SPP sinks, in each of the ITP20 Futures 1 through 4. The objective of ITP20 is to develop an EHV backbone (345 kV and above) transmission plan for a 20-year horizon. The assessment will identify a robust transmission plan that is capable of reliably and economically providing deliverability of energy to the SPP market while enabling policy initiatives. The current ITP20 process is the second Integrated Transmission Planning Year 20 Assessment (ITP20). The assessment is conducted in accordance with the SPP Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) Attachment O, and the approved ITP Manual. The assessment begins in January 2012 and is scheduled to be finalized in July 2013.

Here’s that 2013 ITP 20:

2013 ITP20 Report – Southwest Power Pool

Now check out the map of their ITP20 projects in this report — do you see either the Plains & Eastern or Grain Belt mentioned above on this map:

SPP 2013 ITP20 Consolidated Portfolio 1Nope, neither do I.  I did a search of the narrative, and “Clean Line” isn’t even mentioned once!

And there are no ITP20s after that 2013 one above, either HERE on the ITP Assessments page or HERE on the ITP20 Documents page!

Oh, OK, so what about the SPP Planning and SPP’s STEP (not unlike the MTEP and RTEP!):


Do a search — nada… so I tried a search on “transmission” and blew up the computer.  So the search function works and in this report also, there’s no mention of Clean Line whatsoever, be it Plains & Eastern Clean Line or Grain Belt Clean Line or just plain ol’ Clean Line.

And there’s nothing here either:

2014 ITPNT Report

It’s only in the 2015 ITP10 SCOPE that there’s any mention of “Clean Line” and it’s only the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, not both, AND it’s only for sensitivity analysis.  This is not being included as a project, contemplated or promoted.

2015 ITP10 Scope Final MOPC

And in the resulting 2015 ITP10?  A mention in the list of sensitivities, and then three mentions on p. 103:


And in the SPP 2015 Final Near Term Assessment, not a mention:


When it comes to the scope of their next ITP10, Clean Line disappears, not even one mention, nada, again, not even an honorable mention as a “sensitivity” in the scope:


Meanwhile, Illinois is holding “public hearings” that are very limited for what a large project this is, and very odd, considering that there are pending Motions for Reconsideration in this docket (Grain Belt Express Docket #15-0277 online at ICC’s e-docket system at

Public hearings tonight and tomorrow in Illinois:

ILL Hearings

I’d hope that Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee pay attention to this lack of incorporation of any Clean Line project into SPP Planning!

Oh, and of course, the DOE should be paying attention!  Hey Office of Electric Deliverability and Energy Reliability, are you paying attention?