With the Stanly County Commission poised to reach a settlement agreement with Alcoa, somehow I just knew Roger Dick would come up with a last-minute "Hail Mary pass". That came yesterday in the form of a FERC filing from a New Hampshire investment company, New Energy Capital Partners, LLC How did NEC become interested? The trail leads to NEC's investment in FLS Energy of Asheville, whose General Counsel is none other than Zoe Gamble Hanes, former Chair of the Yadkin Riverkeeper Board, member of the Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission (URRC), and author of the infamous "Alcoa is evil" email.
The FERC filing consisted of a legal petition to reopen and restart APGI's relicensing application process (oh, joy, another eleven years?) or, alternatively, to allow NEC late (very, very late) intervention in the process. Not to be legally nit-picky, but without acceptance as a late intervener, NEC is nothing more than a member of the general public and has no authority to file a legal petition. But, I digress. NEC claims to be an Alcoa competitor, but, according to their website, they are an investment company, not an owner-operator, they currently have no investments in hydroelectric projects, and there's no evidence that they currently are or have any experience in running a hydroelectric project.
NEC's claimed basis for justifying this action Is that Alcoa "repurposed" the project when they permanently closed the Badin Works facility in 2010. However, Alcoa stopped producing aluminum at Badin Works in 2002, and FERC dealt with related issues in the Final Environmental Impact Statement in 2008. The purpose of the Yadkin Project is to produce electricity, and that has not changed.
You have to get to page 15 of all this legalese to find out NEC wants the URRC or another agency of the State of North Carolina to apply for this new license (the deadline for doing that passed in 2006), and NEC will even generously, without any expectation of profit, I'm sure, fund this venture.
Does NEC know there is no tangible support from either the General Assembly or the current Governor to take over the Yadkin Project? The Yadkin River Trust legislation was defeated in the state House by a vote of 66 to 39 back in 2009. The URRC was created as a fall-back, is an advisory commission, and has no authority to apply for a license or operate the Yadkin Project.
The URRC, which meets every two months, also does not have the staff (one part-time lady to help the Chair with paper work) or the money necessary (they've never been funded by the State) to prepare a license application. They'd have to commission their own technical studies, hold public hearings, engage with stakeholders, reach a settlement agreement with stakeholders, all the same things Alcoa did. It cost Alcoa $20 million, as of April 2006.
This is another in a long line of hair-brained schemes from Roger & Friends. The only thing that's surprising is that they can still find people to fall for them.