Clean Line spokeswoman Sarah Bray isn't even a Clean Line employee any longer. It looks like she's got her own consulting company now. That's an inventive way to cut company overhead... get rid of people and then hire them back as "consultants" so you don't have to give them benefits and can just pay them for assorted projects now and then. Such as telling the media stuff like this:
“The project is not dead, but is on a much slower track,” Clean Line Energy spokeswoman Sarah Bray said in an email.
The Plains & Eastern Clean Line was supposed to be a 700+ mile transmission project for the purpose of connecting not-yet-built wind generators in western Oklahoma to the TVA system in Memphis, Tennessee. Last year, Clean Line sold all its Oklahoma assets to NextEra. That would include any regulatory permits, project engineering, and right of way option agreements with landowners. So everything in Oklahoma is gone. No longer under Clean Line's control and not for its use. The generators Clean Line was going to connect to were all in Oklahoma. There's nothing to transmit, unless Clean Line customers buy power from some other entity and take delivery in Arkansas.
What does Clean Line still own? The Arkansas and Tennessee assets. There is no regulatory approval in Arkansas. The only thing Clean Line owns in that state is any project engineering and a handful of right of way option agreements with landowners. In Tennessee, Clean Line owns a regulatory approval from the state based on its former project, including the Oklahoma assets. It also owns a handful of right of way agreements with landowners and any project engineering.
Clean Line also owns negotiated rate authority granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, again based on its former project that included the Oklahoma assets.
What can Clean Line do with the assets it owns? Pretty much nothing. They're not worth anything. Clean Line no longer has queue positions to connect a transmission line in Arkansas or Tennessee. It owns a plan for a transmission line that no longer exists. Is Clean Line going to build a transmission line that doesn't connect with any generators in Arkansas and then not connect it with any customers in Tennessee? And customers are supposed to voluntarily step up and sign contracts for transmission capacity on this power line to nowhere?
Of course not! Clean Line couldn't even attract any customers when it actually owned the entire project plan. Now it doesn't even own a complete plan. And without the U.S. DOE trying to assert its authority in Arkansas, Clean Line no longer has any regulatory assets in the state. Could Clean Line apply for a permit to build a transmission across the state that doesn't connect with anything? Sure, they can apply. But they're not likely to get anywhere since Arkansas enacted Act 842 in 2015.
(b) The commission shall not issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity to any person or corporation that:
(1) Is not a public utility; (2) Primarily transmits electricity; and
(3) Has not been directed or designated to construct an electric transmission facility from a regional transmission organization.
Perhaps telling the media that the project is not dead and merely on a "slower track" fooled a few reporters who don't know what's going on. But even Utility Dive (often not the brightest bulb in the transmission reporting string) smells something disingenuous in Clean Line's claims.
Is Clean Line Energy still developing the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project? The company says yes, despite the fact that selling the Oklahoma assets and ending its plan to build in Arkansas means the Tennessee portion of the line appears to be all that remains on the drawing board.
The Plains & Eastern Clean Line had been under development in Oklahoma for eight years when Clean Line sold it to NextEra. The company said the project has gone through an environmental review with "substantial stakeholder input" and received the regulatory approvals and major environmental permits necessary for construction, but it's unclear how it will move forward without the DOE support.
Clean Line's choo-choo