On May 12, 2022, the DOE released a “Notice of Intent and Request for Information Regarding Establishment of a Transmission Facilitation Program.” Comments are due June 13. Here’s the Federal Register publication:

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-05-12/pdf/2022-10137.pdf

One aspect that particularly concerns me is focus on NIETC transmission corridors, designated more than a decade ago, 2005 to be precise, and also containing a category of claimed need for “transmission across more than one state or transmission region.” That criteria would apply to almost every transmission project I’ve worked on, although most were segmented (so that the full extent of the project would not be considered or evaluated, DOH!):

What to comment on? Go to the above Federal Register link, and specific issues for comment start on page 6, “Questions for Requests for Information.” However, if you know of issues that should be considered but are not specified, have at it, put it down in detail.

I do get a little paranoid when they request comments on subjects like this — that “barriers to transmission” is one often raised by Beth Soholt, WOW (now as “Clean Grid Alliance” even more directly identifiable as transmission toadies), and here it is:

Comments are due by June 13, and should be sent to the “Federal eRulemaking Portal” (the only option), and must include the “agency name and identifier.” The agency is “Grid Deployment Office, Department of Energy.”

A decade ago or more, our state agencies eliminated consideration and scrutiny of “need” for transmission by making transmission a “regional” and market matter, making state permitting review nothing more than a rubber stamp. There’s never been a transmission proposal that state agencies didn’t love, rubber stamping everything that came their way. Now that fossil is to be shut down, that should free up immense capacity, but you’ll note that that doesn’t ever seem to be in the mix. Even NERC notes that fossil generation isn’t projected to decrease much, and locally, a good example is GRE’s walk-back on their promise to close Coal Creek, and instead “sold” the plant and transmission, and signed PPA to buy the Coal Creek generated energy.

Here’s NERC’s 2021 Long Term Reliability Assessment’s projection of MW of resources, note that coal doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon:

For full NERC report: https://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/ra/Reliability%20Assessments%20DL/NERC_LTRA_2021.pdf

If shuttering down fossil is not incorporated into the transmission capacity “need,” exactly what are they basing the “need” claim on? Inquiring minds want to know.

Anyway, do check out the request for comments and let them have it. There are a many specific issues presented that has something for everyone!

This says it all!

CONGRATULATIONS TO BLOCK PLAINS & EASTERN!!!

DOE Drops Its Deal With Clean Line; Wind Project Won’t Cross Arkansas

Yes, we know it doesn’t work. Learned that in stopping the Mesaba Project:

IGCC – Pipedreams of Green and Clean

There were IGCC – coal gasification – plants proposed all over the country, and they fell, one by one.  Some not fast enough, the Kemper project, in today’s Guardian, is an example of protracted misrepresentations to keep that money coming in to fund the scam:

The best thing that came from the failed Mesaba Project was the information about the technology that hadn’t been disclosed before.  We were able to use this information all over the country to stop these plants, and stop this one before Minnesotans were utterly and hopelessly screwed as they were in Mississippi with Southern’s Kemper and Indiana with Duke’s Edwardsport. Read the rest of this entry »

orangehaired-troll

Trump’s energy agenda, vague as it is, has been essentially to promote “clean coal,” nuclear and to deny climate change and dismantle federal climate change and “renewable” energy programs, of course with no move to eliminate subsidies for coal and nuclear.  The “transition team” sent a big laundry list of questions to the Department of Energy, and it’s pretty broad.  It’s also something that would be both telling and intimidating to receive.  Looking at this, there’s no doubt where they’re headed.

Here’s the document — read it and see what you think… and note how many of these questions are “Can you provide…” which are easily answered with just a “Yes” or “No” and that’s the end of it!

DOE – Trump Transition’s Questions

But wait… there’s another version (similar, but different order, etc.):

DOE – Trump Transition Question #2

I think Trump needs somebody to write his questions for him, somebody new that is.  He obviously didn’t come up with this, but his staff person who did, well, if they worked for me, “YOU’RE FIRED!”

Plains&Eastern

YES!!!  On to federal court!!!  I love it when this happens!  Downwind and Golden Bridge have sued the Department of Energy (DOE) and Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA)!  Here’s a copy of the Complaint, give it a read:

Downwind, LLC & GoldenBridge LLC-v-DOE & SWPA – Case 3:16-cv-00207

Here’s the bottom line, what they’re asking for:

123

It’s focused on the DOE and Clean Line’s most vulnerable issues, those of improper potential use of eminent domain for private purpose and private company, and, as David Ulery says:

“Landowners were never offered an appropriate avenue for due process during the DOE’s review of Clean Line’s application,” he said. “An opportunity to comment is not the same as an opportunity to directly participate in the matter in an official capacity. Review is meaningless if those most affected are not given ample and significant opportunity to engage on a meaningful and substantive level.”

Clean Line and the DOE were asked, demanded, expected, to provide due process, and nope, nada, not the most basic opportunities to participate.  Seems they’ve never heard of due process — how dare they!  From June, 2015, here are multiple filings demanding due process:

BLOCK Plains & Eastern Clean Line docket filings

Here’s the first of articles to appear about the federal suit:

Opponents sue to block Clean Line project

By John LyonArkansas News Bureaujlyon@arkansasnews.com

LITTLE ROCK — Opponents of a planned transmission line across Arkansas and parts of Oklahoma and Tennessee said Friday they have filed a federal lawsuit objecting to the U.S. Department of Energy’s participation in the project.

Golden Bridge and Downwind, two organizations representing landowners who oppose the Plains & Eastern Clean Line project, said they filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Little Rock. The suit was not available on the court’s website Monday evening, and the groups did not immediately provide a copy to the Arkansas News Bureau.

According to a news release, the suit challenges the legality of the Department of Energy’s decision to participate in the project under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act, which allows the agency to partner with private companies on some energy infrastructure projects.

“While understanding the importance of infrastructure in the production, transmission and distribution of electrical energy, the landowner-managed organization is concerned with the federal government’s legal authority, and the scope and manner of its proposed participation in transmission projects pursuant to Section 1222,” Downwind said in the release.

“There are lingering doubts about the substance and merits of the department’s determination in this project, with particular concern relating to the potential use of federal eminent domain to condemn private property for the benefit of a private, for-profit company,” the organization said.

The suit also alleges that landowners should have had more ability to participate in the department’s review of the application for the project by Clean Line Energy Partners of Houston, according to Dave Ulery of Golden Bridge.

“Landowners were never offered an appropriate avenue for due process during the DOE’s review of Clean Line’s application,” he said. “An opportunity to comment is not the same as an opportunity to directly participate in the matter in an official capacity. Review is meaningless if those most affected are not given ample and significant opportunity to engage on a meaningful and substantive level.”

Clean Line Energy Partners Executive Vice President Mario Hurtado said Monday he had not seen the suit and could not comment on it specifically.

Hurtado said in a statement, “It’s no secret that the United States suffers from an infrastructure deficit and that we must push through gridlock to move the country forward. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see legal complaints filed against the most important infrastructure projects. In order to modernize the grid, enable the delivery of low-cost energy, create new jobs and enhance our energy security, the private and public sectors must come together to bring new infrastructure projects to fruition.”

The $2 billion transmission line is expected to transmit 4,000 megawatts of wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle to distribution centers in Arkansas and Tennessee, with Arkansas receiving 500 megawatts of that energy. Arkansas’ congressional delegation opposes the project, and Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, has filed a bill to kill it.

Womack’s bill cleared the House Natural Resources Committee in June.

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