Collins was a mammoth of a coal generation plant, with over 2,000 megawatts listed as its capability. Bigger than many of today's nuclear plants. Collins is gone now. Demolished. From Google Earth, it looks like an empty ground with a switchyard of sorts. Driving by the property, it looks like a vast wetlands on the banks of the Illinois River.
Why was a 756kv powerline built to run perhaps 40 miles from Morris to Plano? 756 is the largest of the Alternating Current powerlines built. They don't make them any bigger. They are made for long hauls and not short 40 mile jaunts through Grundy and Kendall Counties.
Taking a canoe ride under this monster makes every hair on your body feel alive. It is weird sensation. There are also pictures of people just standing under one of these monsters with a fluorescent tube glowing brightly on its own. 756 kv powerlines are truly monsters. These lattice towers are incredibly huge.
So what does this have to do with the Rock Island Clean Line?
ITC, a transmission "utility" company, originally proposed the Green Power Express. Its path closely mimicked the Rock Island Clean Line. The Green Power Express failed as many mocked its purpose, like Citizen's Utility Board and Howard Lerner at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. While these same organizations support the Rock Island Clean Line, they recognized the Green Power Express was really for the benefit of coal generation.
Clean Line Energy Partners llc purposed nearly the identical project, but instead of terminating at this switchyard North of Plano, Clean Line purposed going all the way to the Collins switchyard.
I can't help but wonder why Michael Skelly and Jimmy Glotfelty failed to realize this switch yard is Kendall County is most likely underutilized? I presume ITC's plan was to reverse feed this line from Plano to Collins and on to Eastern states. Was there a reason Clean Line chose taking RICL all the way to Grundy County and some 40 miles or so further south?
So what's the point to all this?
If RICL had gone to Plano instead of Channahon, Clean Line would have missed Mendota. There would not have been a public meeting at a small town convention center that culminated into opposition in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois with separate grassroots movement with one unifying point. Eminent domain for a privately owned limited access transmission line should not be allowed. Sure there would have been some opposition, would things have played out such as they have?
Houston, just think how differently the past 3 years could have been had you chosen to stick to the original plan and left the terminus at Plano, but that bull has broken the fence and it's too late to corral it again.
When this is over and we have all moved on with our lives, maybe I'll ask one of the two smart people at Clean Line (not Jimmy or Mike) why they didn't stick to the original Green Power Plan. Unfortunately for Clean Line it's too late to turn back now. That decision was made and the public has awakened to eminent domain abuses.
Take a good look at this switch yard Houston. It could have changed everything. Kind of makes a person wonder how many small relatively insignificant "but for" decision could have changed world history and heavily influenced major events.
Some call it the "butterfly effect" with the theory that small things like the flapping of a butterfly's wings could be magnified and cause a hurricane half way around the world. In the utility siting industry, it will eventually be known as the "RICL Effect" that started at the Mendota Community Center when people came together and said this project does not belong on anyone's farm with any alternate route.
New Hampshire residents are opposing Northern Pass, a HVDC line looking to provide "clean" hydroelectric energy to other New England states. Kentucky has the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline desiring eminent domain to pass through the state without benefiting the state's residents and without the restrictions of a state regulated utility. It's only a matter of time before people fighting the same fight in different states with different companies join together. BLOCK Clean Line, No Northern Pass, Bluegrass Pipeline Blockade....it's all the same fight and if we don't put a stop to this now, there will be others.
The only question that remains is will Clean Line's failure culminate in Arkansas or Oklahoma with the Plains & Eastern, or in Central Illinois with the failure of the Grain Belt Express when this company collapses. Then again, this might continue to grow beyond Clean Line's attempted abuse of eminent domain abuse. It's not about stopping a transmission line. This is about changing an industry.