Donate!!! Yes, you!! See that “PayPal” button up to the right? Join the challenge to transmission that they don’t need and we don’t want! No CapX 2020 has Intervened in the ITC Midwest MN/IA Certificate of Need, a public interest intervention focused on showing up to weigh in on the big picture issues (Important note, No CapX 2020 is aiding public participation, but not taking a position on route.).
This is a new transmission line proposed by Great River Energy in the Myrick area, just up the hill from the Minnesota River in Le Sueur. Great River Energy is holding an open house on Tuesday!
Great River Energy Open House
Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Le Sueur Library
118 Ferry Street
Le Sueur, Minnesota
Here’s the Notice blurb they sent out:
And the GRE Tyrone Transmission Project page!
What they’re not mentioning is that this project will require approval by the County, and that application is expected to be filed some time after the Open House. So mark your calendars, and keep an eye out!
And let’s wax nostalgic for a bit… remember that old, rejected, Myrick CapX 2020 proposal? Here it is below, an addition DURING THE HEARING, long after the opportunity to add new route options had been closed. It was added after Xcel finally got the word that the DOT would not allow them to ram through their Le Sueur Scenic Easements. We’re on some familiar territory here:
Here’s an article about this Tyrone line in the Le Sueur News-Herald:
Great River Energy and Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative hold an open house meeting Tuesday, Jan. 27 regarding a proposed 69-kilovolt transmission line and substation to be constructed in the Le Sueur area.
The proposed substation would be located near the intersection of County Road 117 and 320th Street and the line would run along 320 Street to 265th Avenue, tapping in to an existing Xcel Energy line at 339th Street. Construction is expected to begin this winter with lines being in service by June 2016.
Remember this map? The ITC Midwest MN/IA line is the ITC Midwest part of MISO’s “MVP 3″ which on the above map is the red part. The other part of MISO’s “MVP 3″ is to be built and owned by Warren Buffet’s Mid-American Energy, and that’s the green line above. MISO’s MVP 3 is one of those touted and promoted by our “friends” at Center for Rural Affairs (oh, what people will do for money!) The tan/orange and blue are what’s known as MISO’s “MVP 4.” And yes, it’s all connected, moving east to MISO’s MVP 5, the northern part of which is Badger Coulee, from La Crosse to Madison, and the southern part of which is the Cardinal-Hickory Creek (Spring Green?) that runs from MVP 4 to Madison.
The biggest thing at issue here is whether ITC Midwest is a “public service corporation” in the state of Minnesota. That designation gives it special status, specifically, the door to use of eminent domain, to condemn land for the transmission line.
The second most important issue in his case is the Minnesota assessment for the 17-20 MISO MVP Projects, not just this one little piece of MVP 3. That assessment is in a MISO tariff that was “approved” by FERC:
Here’s the PUC Order for Certificate of Need and for the Route Permit, where they’re ducking the major issues:
PUC Staff Briefing Papers have been filed:
Here are the Motions for Reconsideration that were filed:
Responses of Applicant and Commerce DER in Certificate of Need docket (12-1053):
Response of Applicant in Routing Docket (13-1337):
Starting at 9:30, CLICK HERE FOR WEBCAST of the Badger Coulee transmission project technical hearing at the Wisconsin PSC. It started Tuesday, apologies for not getting this posted earlier, had a pipeline hearing in District Court Tuesday and have been pre-occupied… but hey, I’m paying attention now! You can too. Check out out, it’s interesting stuff.
This is the northern half of MISO’s MVP 5, Badger Coulee is the blue line above “5” and the other half of MVP 5 is below “5” and you can see how it’s all connected, connected to CapX 2020 at La Crosse, and connected to MVP 3 and 4 coming across from Iowa and Minnesota, completion of the CapX 2020 link from the mine-mouth coal plants in the Dakotas to the Madison 345 kV ring and points east.
The ITC Midwest MN/IA 345 kV line is the pink one above “3” in the map above.
In the Certificate of Need docket, both ITC Midwest and DoC-DER filed Responses, and in the Routing docket, ITC Midwest filed a response. The Commission will digest it for a while and then there will be a Notice of Commission Meeting at least 10 days prior to the meeting.
Certificate of Need docket (12-1053):
Routing Docket (13-1337):
Here are the Motions for Reconsideration that were filed:
It’s that time — ’tis the season. Last month, the Public Utilities Commission filed its Orders in the ITC Midwest MN/IA transmission project docket granting the Certificate of Need and a Route Permit.
In Minnesota, we have 20 days to file a Motion for Reconsideration, and that’s TODAY! Two were filed:
No CapX 2020 Motion for Reconsideration – Certificate of Need
The applicant will get a chance to respond, and then the Commission will put it on their agenda… we shall see!
It’s that time of year… the time that we get to tell the Public Utilities Commission what does and does not work about the Power Plant Siting Act. We’ve been doing it for years, 15 or so years, and have spent over a year now in a rulemaking on the PUC’s rules, Ch. 7849 (Certificate of Need) and Ch. 7850 (Power Plant & Transmission Siting) where some of these long complained of problems will be address (with any luck). And now, again, it’s time to reinforce those comments with another round of comments:
How to file comments? From the notice:
After the hearing, now officiated by an Administrative Law Judge (new as of a few years ago), a report is issued to the PUC and then ??? It used to go to the legislature, guess I have to find out what happens now.
December 19, 2014 beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Public Utilities Commission
3rd Floor Large Hearing Room
121 – 7th Place East
St. Paul, MN 55101
Each of you who have experience siting and routing of large electric energy facilities — this is the time to weigh in. You can do it in person, and you can do it by filing comments.
Here is the Power Plant Siting Act, which governs the siting and routing of large energy facilities:
Here are some prior dockets (to access the entire docket, individual comments, etc., go to th PUC’s “SEARCH” site and plug in the docket numbers :
2006 Report to PUC – Docket 06-1733
2007 Report to PUC – Docket 07-1579
2008 Report to PUC - Docket 08-1426
2009 Report to PUC – Docket 09-1351
2010 Report to PUC – Docket 10-222
2011 Report to PUC – Docket 11-324
2013 Report – Docket 13-9650143-96999-01
Public Comment period ends on January 5. Here’s a link!
And here are some articles about Badger Coulee:
And tell Michael Vickerman what you think of his support of the “it’s all connected” massive grid build-out:
And as to the Public Service Commission attendance at the hearings — what are you gonna do?
It’s official! Here are the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Orders in the ITC Midwest MN/IA 345 kV Transmission Project case for their Certificate of Need and Route Permit — hot off the press:
Today the clock starts ticking. If there’s anything that you, an “affected party” take issue with and want the Commission to reconsider, there is a 20 day window to file a Motion for Reconsideration. That means you need to file it by December 15, 2014.
Not only is this relevant to the ITC docket, but as the first of the MISO MVP projects to come down the pike, it’s also relevant to the Badger Coulee docket now ongoing in Wisconsin (GO HERE and search for PSC Docket 05-CE-142) as the first MVP project in Wisconsin.
Here’s the short version of the Certificate of Need Order:
Here are some issues for No CapX 2020 — this is the Commission’s interpretation — from the Certificate of Need Order:
So there ya have it! Monday December 15, 2014 is the deadline for Motions for Reconsideration.
CapX 2020 in the news… see below.
REMEMBER — IF YOU ARE SERVED WITH PETITION FOR CONDEMNATION, YOU HAVE ONLY 60 DAYS TO FILE YOUR REQUEST FOR “BUY THE FARM.”
And in Wisconsin — public hearings on Badger Coulee, La Crosse to Madison, start the week after next:
The project is part of CapX2020, a massive plan designed to upgrade the electric transmission system in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In total, the plan will cost $2.2 billion, cover 800 miles and finish in late 2015.
CapX2020 has negotiated deals with 43 land owners to build this 161 kV segment to connect Rochester to the main network, according to project spokesperson Tim Carlsgaard. Tree removal work could begin on the those parcels yet this month.
However, there are 10 remaining properties where the owners have not accepted CapX2020’s offers to buy access to an easement across their land. Capx2020, a joint initiative of 11 electric utilities across four states, filed on Oct. 20 to condemn those properties.
Using a form of Eminent Domain called Quick Take, CapX2020 now can take control of the contested easements within 91 days of the filing, or by Jan. 13. Quick Take allows acquisition to take place before a price is settled.
A hearing is scheduled in the Olmsted County Court on Jan. 9 to establish a condemnation commission of three independent experts. That commission will hear offers and counter-offers for each property and will then decide what price is fair.
ALMA, Wis. — On a blustery November morning on an island in the Mississippi River, a construction crew was hard at work using a massive crane and welding equipment to tear down a 70-foot-tall section of lattice tower.
It was all part of a $30 million effort to string the new CapX2020 transmission lines across the Mississippi River near Alma. The project is a daunting one, requiring the use of barges to transport 3,280 cubic yards of concrete, a 250-ton crane and 6 miles of steel pipe to an island and a peninsula in the river being used for the river crossing. Making that work even more difficult has been the earlier-than-normal cold weather.
Pontzer is the project manager for J.F. Brennan Co. of La Crosse, Wis., which is in charge of building the foundations for the structures, along with operating the cranes and barges. The project involves building a new 345-kilovolt transmission line adjacent to an existing Dairyland Power Cooperative 161/69 kilovolt line built in 1955. The double circuit line will be replaced with a triple circuit transmission line.
CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 11 utilities in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin to upgrade and expand the electric transmission grid. The total project costs more than $2 billion and stretches nearly 800 miles. Construction of the Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse section is expected to be completed in 2015.
For the river crossing, five 187-foot-tall structures are being built, requiring 15 pile-cap foundations. Those foundations are comprised of 362 16-inch steel pipe piles, with some driven into the soil as deep as 130 feet, according to Xcel Energy. A helicopter will be used to string the transmission lines across the river.
Also adding to the challenge is a shortage of concrete. Pontzer said his company was able to work with Wabasha Sand-Gravel-Ready-Mix to make sure that the project was given high priority for concrete because of the limited time before the river freezes.
In addition to these obstacles, construction crews also have to be keeping a close eye out for eagles. There are two eagles nests in the area and one of them is active. Xcel Energy spokesman Tim Carlsgaard said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service require all work on the project to stop as soon as the eagles return. That could happen in early January.
Still, despite all of the challenges, the massive project is moving ahead on schedule. Pontzer said his company hopes to wrap up its work within two to three weeks. The goal is to have the river crossing completed by February.
The PSC has issued the Notice of Hearing for the Badger Coulee transmission project. Dates, times, locations below. Because there’s something even more important — look at the restrictions for those who want to comment:
Here’s even more limitations, setting out the ways people can comment, and that a person may make only ONE comment:
And this too:
Now ain’t that encouraging? Doesn’t that make you want to run right out and comment?
But remember, there is the option of writing a “Non-Party Brief” as described in the Prehearing Memorandum — see p. 9:
Here’s the ALJ’s acknowledgement of that option, and how to do it, from the Prehearing Conference back in August (FYI, it’s Motion for Leave to file a non-party brief, not “relief”):
Here’s the Public Hearing schedule — you’ve got a month to get ready:
When you make your public comment, be sure to let Judge Newmark know what you think of all these restrictions.