Northwest Iowa Development Hears About Electric Transmission Project At Wednesday Meeting

Date posted - January 23, 2013

Hans DetweilerSheldon, Iowa — Representatives from Clean Line Energy Partners, the company planning to construct a 500 mile electric transmission line connecting wind energy suppliers in this area,  with energy purchasers in the Chicago area, were on hand Wednesday to talk about the project at the Northwest Iowa Development Partner Meeting, which was held at the Lifelong Learning & Recreation Center on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College.

Clean Line Energy Partners Director of Development Hans Detweiler told the group that the northwest Iowa area was chosen as the perfect location for the project, due to it’s wind patterns and proximity to Chicago.

Detweiler says the project will have a major economic impact on the area, creating jobs, increased property tax revenues, and more.

Detweiler says the project would create about 5500 jobs, including more than 500 permanent jobs, including those that would be created by the new wind farms that the project would encourage here in northwest Iowa.

Detweiller says, best of all, residents in northwest Iowa would see no increase in their electric bills to pay for the project.

Detweiler said that his company is currently in the coordinating stages for this project, named “Rock Island Clean Line”, and they expect construction to be completed and the system to go on line sometime in 2016 or 2017.

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10 Responses to “Northwest Iowa Development Hears About Electric Transmission Project At Wednesday Meeting”

  1. Block Ricl says:

    Has anyone thought of the long term environmental impacts on 100 x 100 miles of wind farms that RICL claims would be a result of these transmission lines?

    Too much to clarify here especially about “no rate increases”. If Northwest Iowa doesn’t get a rate increase, than who will for a line that would cost $2,000,000 a mile?

    Ask to see the “studies” on the number of jobs quoted in this “forward looking statement.” How many would be permanent, in-country jobs? Why is a major Northeast electric provider (National Grid from the UK) interested in investing in “Clean” Line? So they can ship the electricity to Chicago? Don’t think so.

    What happens when the wind doesn’t blow? What coal, gas, etc. generating plants will also be on line?

    Why do “Clean” Line’s maps not include the fantastic wind power available on the great lakes??

    What happens when the TPC is phased out? We would be left with a power line to nowhere.

    How many BILLIONS of dollars of OUR tax dollars are they quoting as the benefits of development?

    What BETTER options are there instead of plowing through the of 500 miles of prime farmland? In Illinois, the route puts the lines through the MIDDLE of fields- not along existing easements or property lines- but through the middle of fields because that’s the cheapest and easiest.

    More information on

  2. Hans Detweiler and Clean Line Energy has a real poor reputation with many northern Illinois residents. A lack of honest and transparency is the main reason. This is a classic example.

    Hans Detweiler said “The impact of the project isn’t showing up on local people’s power bills”….as he explained the virtues of a Merchant Transmission Line…REALLY????????

    Perhaps Hans needs to COME CLEAN and amend that statement and tell the truth. Clean Line Energy is asking for cost allocation. He want consumers in Illinois and farther east to pay for this powerline through OUR energy bills. Clean Line asked PMJ for cost allocation last September. They were denied. Clean Line Energy is now asking the Federal Energy Regulator Commission (FERC) to force PMJ to charge consumers in Illinois for this wind energy from Iowa.

    Hans has never admitted this dirty secret of theirs to Illinois residents and this is classic Hans speaking in half truth’s as he says local residents in Iowa will not being paying for this venture capital powerline through their electricity bills. To read more and links go to

    Did Hans say anything about “Federal Siting Authority” (federal eminent domain) should the states reject Clean Line’s request for public utility status?

    What about the concept of creating multistate transmission siting authority? Did Hans mention anything about that avenue to obtain eminent domain should states reject Clean Line directly?
    I would suggest Iowa residents be very wary of any claims made by Hans Detweiler.

    The residents of Illinois are still waiting for a true representative of lean Line Energy to come to Illinois and explain these issues to us directly.

    Scott Thorsen
    Prairie Center, Illinois

    • Austin says:

      Hans Detweiler should not be targeted for an individuals dislike of the Rock Island Clean line project. Hans’s efforts to advance the renewable energy industry in the United States are unparalleled. Please disregard any accusations aimed personally at Hans.

    • Kathryn Martin says:

      Has anyone ever thought of the long term environmental impacts if WE DO NOT SWITCH FROM FOSSIL FUELS TO RENEWABLE ENERGY? The environmental implications of a 100×100 mile plot for WIND in the windiest part of the country will have a MUCH LESS environmental impact than if we continue to rely on COAL POLLUTING OUR ATMOSPHERE. In response to why not develop wind on the great lakes, we should! We should develop wind wherever we can. The wider variety range of wind developments only helps to further the reliability from renewable energy. If you people would do your homework, open your eyes and take a look around, there aren’t many companies in the US who are actually TRYING TO MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES in our current consumption habits. The days of turning on your lights and having your comforts from coal power are limited. Clean Line is taking all the risk and should be praised for their extensive efforts in trying to move renewable energy forward.

      And why you want to talk bad about Hand Detweiler is beyond me. I have met Hans and watched his contribution to the renewable energy industry. Don’t let them get you down Hans, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

      Kathryn Martin, MBA
      Illinois Resident

  3. Emma Gilmore says:

    As other commentors have pointed out, consider the environmental benefits of adding clean renewable energy to the electric grid in place of coal and you will see why this is such an important and ingenious project. HVDC transmission lines of this scale measure up well compared to AC lines which have 3 times the footprint. As a north central Illinois resident I support the Rock Island Clean Line.

  4. Make no mistake, this is not a person attack against any one person. Clean Line Energy is not a nameless and faceless organization. Like any other company this company is made up of people. These people need to be held accountable for what they say, and don’t say, what they distort, and hide from the public. It is wrong for members of this company to inaccurately present themselves in a manner to specifically sell this project to the public.

    This is not about making personal attacks against individuals of Clean Line Energy, but it is fair to respond to the claims by members of Clean Line Energy. For instance, if a member of Clean Line Energy had told a landowner that the company had not applied with the Illinois Commerce Commission when Clean Line actually had filed with the ICC, would it be a personal attack to repeat what the Vice President of the company had said to an individual? No, this would be fair and accurate, and there are reports that this scenario actually happened.

    Is it a personal attack or just speaking the truth to remind people the money behind Clean Line Energy comes from a billionaire in Texas and three billionaire brothers from Park Avenue, New York City? No, this is personalizing an ambiguous company.

    It is not a personal attack against Hans Detweiller to remind people Hans hasn’t been completely accurate to say, best of all, residents in northwest Iowa would see no increase in their electric bills to pay for the project. Clean Line Energy has made similar implication in Illinois also but the company has been quietly seeking to have Illinois and other states pay for this powerline through our electric bills. Clean Line Energy has never publicly acknowledged they desire consumers to pay for their powerline. This is a misrepresentation at best. It’s a sell job by the Clean Line Energy salesman (Hans Detweiler). It’s the same sell job coal, nuclear, fracking, and whatever other business does to the public.

    Why hasn’t Clean Line Energy’s spokesman explained why the company believes captive ratepayer should pay for a “Merchant Transmission Line” when the company supposedly accepts all the “risk and rewards”?

    Why is he attempting to sell the public on this project and not talk about the costs to consumers?

    Clean Line Energy is proposing 4,000 MW’s of wind energy in Northern Iowa. No, I do not live in Northern Iowa, but in Illinois, we are the recipient of this energy and a good portion of this unnecessary powerline. If each wind turbine is rated at 2MW’s, 4,000 MW’s of wind energy is 2,000 wind turbines. If each wind turbine requires 65 acres of land, that is 130,000 acres of additional wind turbines in Northwestern Iowa. That is an additional 203 square miles of wind farms surrounding the start of this powerline. Northwest Iowa residents will need to decide how many wind turbines in their back yard is too many?

    In a recent debate about wind farms at the National Review Online Jimmy Glotfelty, a Vice President of Clean Line Energy made a comment about wind farms;

    “You know…I agree with you….but the fact is, that there is not one single landowner that has been forced to put a wind turbine on his property. It is their land and their choice to make revenue (about 10k per turbine per year)…really no different from a cell tower or radio tower..”

    Yes it is true, there is no imminent domain to force land owners to put wind turbines on their property. Yet, if Clean Line Energy is successful, Jimmy Glotfelty and Clean Line Energy will be forcing landowners to put this powerline allegedly for wind energy on our farmland. Yes, this is a personal issue for farmers and landowners and rather to talk directly to the farmers and landowners, Clean Line elects to talk to through the press or use surrogate companies like HDR Engineering to speak to the public.

    It is understandable for the public along the route to find it offensive when spokesmen for Clean Line Energy intentionally speak in half truths. It doesn’t matter if it is coal, fracking, or wind energy. A con job is a con job. Clean Line Energy is using the same tactics to build this powerline as these other industries except Clean Line makes additional claims this is for ”clean” renewable energy.

    While Iowa landowners have a choice whether or not to put windmills on their farmland, should RICL receive public utility status, Illinois farmers will not have this choice for the powerline for “clean” wind energy. Personally, I believe this energy is overpriced, but the spokesman of Clean Line Energy (Hans Detweiler, still has not told Illinois residents how much this electricity will cost us). I do not object to “renewable” energy, but I do believe it is time wind energy becomes competitive with other more economical forms of energy.

    How much more does America need to accommodate the wind energy industry?

    In the 1970’s PURPA was created, an act by Congress that allows the wind energy industry to not abide by the rules of other energy producers. Energy Companies are force to buy wind energy created by others. The Production Tax Credit was created with as the federal government subsidizing the wind industry. Then Renewable Portfolio Standards were created to mandate a certain percentage of energy must be from approved “renewable” sources. After that the wind industry told America it needs Long-Term Power Purchase Agreements where wind energy is bought with a surcharge premium. Now the wind industry is complaining because Alternate Energy Retail Suppliers are able to provide electricity cheaper by not buying the overpriced Long-Term Power Purchasing Agreements.

    How much more does the industry need the rules bent in their favor?

    When is it enough?

    We are now asked to give our land for special powerlines allegedly for the “wind energy industry” when there is no guarantee this powerline will not be used by the coal industry. Really?

    Have we not sacrificed enough and paid enough of a premium for wind energy?

    Is it not time for the wind industry to compete on a level playing field with other forms of energy?

    Must Illinois farmers be asked to sacrifice more for an industry that either cannot compete or is quietly making themselves rich off of consumers, deregulation and the ability to bend every rule in their favor?

    Must Illinois farmers be forced to give up land for a powerline owner by venture capital billionaires who, if successful, will eventually sell the powerline for a larger profit?

    Do we really need to “sacrifice” for billionaires Milchael Zilkha and the Ziff Brothers to make more money? No, this this is not a personal attack. It’s a legitimate question.

    What assurances are there this powerline won’t be bought by a traditional power company and place 100% coal energy on this powerline? None. FERC has said Clean Line cannot discriminate or play favorites with potential suppliers. FERC has also said this powerline can have only one customer to supplier 100% of the power, even coal.

    Have we not made enough concessions for the wind industry and those who desire to be associated with this industry?

    While representatives of Clean Line Energy make claims that this powerline will make Northwestern Iowa wealthier, is this powerline really in the best interest of farmers and landowners along the line or in communities where there needs to be 130,000 acres of wind turbines? Has other industries made similar claims? Coal? Natural gas? Oil?

    Have these claims ever found to be true?

    Make no mistake, this powerline is the new frontline in America’s Energy War.

    • susan sack says:

      Scott thank you for helping make this situation clear. Wind energy is not the only renewable energy source but they certainly have had the best lobbiests and public relation firms. Off shore wind energy :) Why would we allow our precious farmland- a non renewable source of energy (our food energy) to be taken out of production for a renewable energy source that requires back up by electiricity producing coal, nuclear, natural gas, or other dirty energy sources? How greedy can we be to take away the potential to feed people because we want electricity to be produced by wind in Iowa rather than develop clean energy sources near the load area of the East Coast. Do not forget 10 east coast governors have said they do not want to buy expensive electricity produced in the midwest but would rather develop their own instates renewable energy sources.

  5. Melissa says:

    Have the individuals supporting this project taken any personal initiative to produce their own clean energy, or are they relying on other individuals to make a sacrifice so that out-of-state entrepreneurs can get rich building ostensibly “clean” transmission projects and supply these individual’s “clean energy” needs? Who has added solar panels to their own roof to cut their carbon footprint and produce local, real clean energy that only requires a personal financial sacrifice on their part?

    Until such personal action and sacrifice is taken, project supporters are the real NIMBYs — it’s a great idea as long as it’s not in their back yard. Do not rely on others to continually make a sacrifice for you.

    Quit feeding at the corporate energy trough and drinking the koolaid. There are two sides to every story and only the most vacuous believe they have received all the facts without investigating both arguments.

  6. Julie Knox says:

    Clean Line is taking an approach that residents of Iowa and Illinois should be open minded to. The prime farm lands can still be farmed with minimal impacts. Landowners will benefit from easement payments. Clean Line has developed an approach that will help the nation and do so in an environmentally friendly manner Hats off to the Clean Line staff.

    Julie, Iowa

  7. susan sack says:

    Mellisa, good point. Even my 80 year old mother has solar panels on her home. My parents had them installed about 20 years ago AND they were farmers. No amount of money is enough compensation when land is wanted as easement for perpetuity. Farming around the poles is not that easy. Productivity will suffer with weed, drainage, compaction, and crop spraying issues as well as GPS and irrigation disruption-then factor in the size of modern day farm equipment and you have a huge headache in the middle of your farm. What happened to developing off shore wind that doesn’t take farmland out of production?

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