The project the Illinois Commerce Commission permitted was designed to deliver 3500 MW of electricity to the Collins substation in Illinois. That was also the project that was appealed to the Third District Court. And it was the project appealed to the Supreme Court. Except that project no longer exists. The Rock Island Clean Line can now only deliver a maximum of 1600 MW of electricity to the Collins substation in Illinois. Rock Island Clean Line neglected to tell the court about that.
Yesterday, respondent Commonwealth Edison Company filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal and Vacate Leave to Appeal as Improvidently Granted at the Illinois Supreme Court. Com Ed says that on or before April 10 of this year, Rock Island requested to lower the amount of energy delivered in one of its three merchant transmission queue positions at PJM, and withdrew two others. This reduced the amount of energy it is possible for Rock Island to deliver to PJM Interconnection from 3,500 MW to 1,600 MW.
The Illinois Commerce Commission based its approval of the project upon its ability to deliver 3,500 MW of energy into Illinois. The reduction in capacity "affects the assumptions the ICC used in the calculations of the claimed project benefits." The ICC's approval of RICL can no longer be valid because the project has changed so significantly. Even if the Supreme Court finds that RICL is a public utility, it still doesn't cure the defect in RICL's capacity and the fact that it no longer matches the evidentiary record upon which the ICC based its approval. Even if the Supreme Court finds for RICL on the appeal, it cannot change RICL's failure to construct the project that the ICC permitted. Therefore, what's the point of even proceeding any further and wasting the court's time on a moot point? The Supreme Court doesn't exist to issue "advisory opinions" on hypothetical situations. The Court only concerns itself with real cases where its opinions can alter legal outcomes.
Com Ed says "Rock Island has not explained publicly the rationale for its surrender of the queue positions."
What were you thinking, RICL? Were you thinking that nobody would find out that you'd withdrawn 1,900 MW of capacity in the PJM transmission queue?
Maybe we should ask this guy?
C'mon, Clean Line, just give up already! It's pretty obvious that your RICL project has been abandoned and that you probably have no intentions of ever building it. Maybe Clean Line is just appealing the RICL decision in an effort to save its Grain Belt Express project, also being appealed in the Illinois court system on the basis of not being a public utility? If the Illinois Supreme Court issues an advisory opinion on RICL saying that it is a public utility, would that change the outcome of the GBE appeal?