Helpful and useful information? Please donate!

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV — posted by admin on September 7, 2014 @ 11:12 am


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.).


Annual Hearing for Power Plant Siting Act 12/1

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,PUC Docket,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on November 13, 2015 @ 8:50 am


I’m having a difficult time getting worked up about the PPSA Annual Hearing this year.  It’s the time we have to tell the Commission what does and does not work with the Power Plant Siting Act.  I’ve been at this for 20 years now, and it never ends, doesn’t change, so many of the same problems, over and over.  It is SO hard for people to participate and while it got better for a while, when people stood up and leveled the playing field, and with Gov. Ventura’s active outreach to the public, well, can’t have that happen, so then NSP’s big buck lobbyists changed the laws to their advantage (2001) and then bought off the funded intervenors and they rewrote the laws together (2003 & 2005) and now the head of one of those funded intervenors, the Waltons, is at Commerce in charge of utility permitting (CoN and Route/Siting) and another on the Commission.

Oh well, it’s that time again… Let’s all put this on our calendar and once more, with feeling, tell them what we really think!


Notice of the Power Plant Siting and Transmission Line Routing Program Annual Hearing

Issued: November 6, 2015

In the Matter of the 2015 Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Docket Number: E999/M-15-785

Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Docket Number: 60-2500-32901

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Location: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, Saint Paul, MN 55101

Bad weather? Find out if a meeting is canceled. Call (toll-free) 1-855-731-6208 or 651-201-2213 or visit

Hearing Description

The annual hearing is required by Minnesota Statute § 216E.07, which provides that:

Thecommission shall hold an annual public hearing at a time and place prescribed by rule in order to afford interested persons an opportunity to be heard regarding any matters relating to the siting of large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines. At the meeting, the commission shall advise the public of the permits issued by the commission in the past year….

Note – No decisions about specific projects are made at the annual hearing.

Public Hearing Information

  • Public hearings start on time.
  • Arrive a few minutes early so you have time to sign in, pick up materials, and find a seat.
  • Administrative Law Judge James LaFave will preside over the hearing.
  • Public Utilities Commission and Department of Commerce staff members are available to answer questions about the Power Plant Siting Act processes and the projects.
  • You may add verbal comments, written comments, or both into the record.
  • Learn more about participating at a public hearing at
  • Judge LaFave will use information gathered at the public hearing and during the comment period to write a summary report for the Commission

Submit Comments

Topics for Public Comment:

  • Any matters related to the site permit process for large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines.

Comment Period: November 6, 2015 through January 5, 2016 at 4:30pm.

  • Comments must be received by 4:30pm on the close date
  • Comments received after comment period closes may not be considered

Online Visit, select Speak Up!, find this docket (15-785), and add your comments to the discussion.

If you wish to include an exhibit, map or other attachment, please send your comments via eFiling (see below) or U.S. Mail.

Please include the Commission’s docket number in all communications.

Filing Requirements: Utilities and state agencies are required to file documents using the Commission’s electronic filing system (eFiling). All parties, participants and interested persons are encouraged to use eFiling:, select eFiling, and follow the prompts.

Important Comments will be made available to the public via the Public Utilities Commission’s website, except in limited circumstances consistent with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. The Commission does not edit or delete personal identifying information from submissions.

Hearing Agenda

I. Introductions
II.Overview of Programs
A. Public Utilities Commission – Facilities Permitting and Public Advisor
B. Department of Commerce – Energy Facilities Permitting Unit
C. Role of Other Agencies
III. Projects Reviewed
A. Projects Permitted in 2015
B. Pending and Anticipated Projects
C. Electric Facilities Subject to Power Plant Siting Act
1. Generating Plants
2. Transmission Lines
IV. Public Questions and Testimony
V. Adjourn

How to Learn More

Subscribe to the Docket: Subscribe to receive email notifications when new documents are filed. Note – subscribing may result in a large number of emails.

  2. Select Subscribe to a Docket
  3. Type your email address
  4. For Type of Subscription, select Docket Number
  5. For Docket Number, select 15 in the first box, type 785 in the second box
  6. Select Add to List
  7. Select Save

Full Case Record: See all documents filed in this docket via the Commission’s website –, select Search eDockets, enter the year (15) and the docket number (785), select Search.

Project Mailing Lists: Sign up to receive notices and opportunities to participate in other dockets relating to specific projects in which you are interested (meetings, comment periods, etc.). Contact or 651-201-2234 with the docket number, your name, mailing address and email address.

Minnesota Statutes and Rules: The hearing is being conducted according to Minnesota Statute 216E.07. Minnesota Statutes are available at

Project Contacts

Public Utilities Commission Public Advisor

Tracy Smetana –, 651-296-0406 or 1-800-657-3782

Q-1 Comments due today!

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Q-1 Upgrade — posted by admin on October 13, 2015 @ 8:02 am

October 3 Notice

wow… ohh my.. that’s the complete public notice.

And what they provided for information, some new maps and a “fact sheet.”

Send your comments in today to:

  • Chuck Thompson, Manager, Siting & Regulatory Affairs, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI  54602-0617, or via email at  (608) 787-1432.
  • Dennis Rankin, Engineering and Environmental Analyst,  USDA RUS, 1400 Independence SW, Mailstop 1571, Washington D.C., 20250-1571, or via email at    (202) 720-1953

FYI, here’s what I sent in:

NoCapX2020_Comment_October 12 2015

And previously:

NoCapX2020_Q-1D South_Comment_9-25-2015

For more info, just scroll through or search No CapX 2020 for the recent “Q-1” and/or “Dairyland” posts.

Capping off the CapX 2020 project…

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on October 10, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

I guess I’m not the only one putting this project in bankers boxes and wrapping it up.  11 years on this project, and it’s up, it’s built, wires in the air, cor-ten steel soldiers marching across the hills.  Yeah, it didn’t go in a few places it shouldn’t, but it went up in a lot of places it shouldn’t, like EVERYWHERE.  This project never should have been built.  2.49% annual increase in peak demand…  Yeah, right…  What a scam… and they got what they wanted, transmission for their surplus, sending it off to market, wherever.  Driving to WI last week, first passing under the span just below Wabasha, and then seeing the lines glistening in the sun stretching south of Alma, it was so depressing.  I hear there’s an article in the latest Zumbrota paper about it, guess people are finally noticing something is happening.  So hard to get people to care, and now it’s too late.

So after a long, long day of writing, bleary eyed, I head downstairs, see that there’s junk mail falling out into the porch, and checked outside to see if my 6 month tea order arrived, YES, it did, but noooooo, that’s not a Stash label… hmmmmm, and way too light.


And dig the back, “La Crosse Project” SNORT!  Suzanne, Steve, George and Guy, eat your heart out…


WHEW!!!  With receipt of this, my hourly rate on this project has just quadrupled!  And it’s appropriate dark mourning color.  Yeah, it’s over.  Too few glimmers of light, other than that landowners are winning on “Buy the Farm” cases, it’s not over the Laymen for Christ campground, or over NORCA and NRG North Routes, and I got my easement client almost 4 times their original lowball offer.

Thank you, little birdie!


Dairyland’s Q-1D South transmission in the news!

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,News coverage,Wisconsin — posted by admin on October 4, 2015 @ 7:46 am

End of the Line

Today’s big news in the La Crosse Tribune, hot on the heels of tapping Oktoberfest’s Golden Keg, is a pretty extensive piece on Dairyland’s upgrade of its Q-1D South transmission line through Onalaska to La Crosse.  Note the “amp up capacity” which is exactly what they’re doing:

Residents worried by plans to rebuild transmission line, amp up capacity

9 hours ago  •  By Chris Hubbuch

TOWN OF ONALASKA — Dairyland Power Cooperative’s plans to replace a 65-year-old power line have raised concerns of residents living near the high-voltage line.

Originally constructed in 1950 through farmland, the 161-kilovolt line now cuts through back yards and in some cases directly over homes that were built around it as development pushed north, first along the Hwy. 35 and later the Hwy. 53 corridor.

Some residents worry about the health effects of living so close to the line — especially if Dairyland is able to push more electricity through it.

Darlene Adams lives directly under the lines in a mobile home on Kimberly Street and says she can hear them crackle when it rains or snows.

“It sounds like water on a frying pan,” Adams said.

Adams said she didn’t think about the line when she bought the home but has since become concerned about health effects.

“What is it doing to my house?” she said. “I’ve wondered, but no one has contacted me.”

The La Crosse-based utility has been working for most of the past decade to replace the Q1 line, which connects power plants in Alma and Genoa to the electric grid and delivers power to customers in surrounding rural areas.

The segment from Genoa to La Crosse was replaced in 2013, and the majority of the northern section is being rebuilt as part of CapX2020, a new transmission line nearing completion. Work is set to begin this month on a segment north of Holmen.

That leaves a nine-mile stretch, known as Q1-D South, running from Briggs Road in Holmen south into the town of Medary.

Dairyland hopes to begin construction in late 2016, but Chuck Thompson, who is in charge of siting and regulation for Dairyland, said designs for the replacement line are not complete.

In general, plans call for 95- to 115-foot steel poles to replace the existing wooden H structures, which range in height from 55 to 85 feet, although the company will need special clearance for some poles in the flight path of the La Crosse Regional Airport.

The estimated cost is between $7 million and $8 million.

Dairyland also plans to use a larger wire that will be able to carry more than twice as much electricity at the same voltage.

Carol Overland, a Red Wing, Minn., attorney who has fought transmission projects on behalf of citizens and ratepayers, said that will result in about twice as much EMF, which Dairyland hopes to mitigate by raising the wires.

A form of radiation given off by electricity, EMF is present anywhere there are electric wires or appliances.

Studies have found possible links between EMF exposure and increased risk of childhood leukemia, but according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences studies have not found links to adult cancers.

There are no federal regulations on EMF levels in homes, though the NIEHS recommends reducing exposure.

“It’s regarded as tin hat stuff, but it’s real,” Overland said. “Very real.”

Michael Yeager said his daughters, now 33 and 37, grew up playing under the wires, which cut through his yard. he suffers from multiple sclerosis, and one of his daughters has a tumor in her knee.

“I really wonder if something’s going on here,” he said. “Now they’re planning on getting bigger yet.”

Dairyland provides EMF monitoring at the request of people living near its lines but the utility does not retain that data, nor has it modeled the likely emissions from the rebuilt line.

Thompson said such modeling is not required.

“The RUS does not require us to do that,” he said. “The (state) requires it in their analysis. The federal process does not.”

Ann Kathan recently moved her family into a cottage next the home where she grew up on County Road OT. She planned to raise her 6-year-old twins there while caring for her aging parents, Lois and Bob.

But since learning about Dairyland’s plans to rebuild the line about 70 feet from her kids’ bedroom, she’s become concerned about the potential health effects of EMF.

She opposes the rebuild and plans to move unless the line is removed.

“In good conscience we cannot live in that house,” she said. “This is devastating.”

Federal money, but no state permit

Kathan, who has been contacting residents along the line in an effort to rally opposition, said Dairyland has been less than transparent, giving little information about the plans or the process.

“It’s just a gigantic black hole of missing information,” she said.

Overland was frustrated that Dairyland ran a legal notice in the La Crosse Tribune on Aug. 28 — with two paragraphs describing the project and an illegible map — without publishing any additional information about the project.

“There’s no application on line, nothing for anyone to look at and figure out what’s going on and then comment on,” Overland said. “What’s the point of making comments if we don’t know the plan?”

Because Dairyland is replacing an existing line, the utility does not need permission from Wisconsin regulators. But in order to receive low-interest financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dairyland must submit an application to the Rural Utility Service, which will determine what level of environmental review is necessary.

Thompson said the RUS application process requires Dairyland to collect public comments before submitting the application, which is why it was not available.

Dairyland has since agreed to extend the public comment period until Oct. 13, is publishing a second legal notice and has posted maps and basic information about the project on the company’s website.

State Sen. Jennifer Shilling and Rep. Steve Doyle, whose district is crossed by the line, said they’ve heard from concerned constituents but are limited in what they can do, because the project is not subject to state authority.

Both lawmakers said they encouraged Dairyland to listen to residents’ concerns.

Some residents along the line would like Dairyland to consider an alternative route — along Hwy. 35 or Hwy. 53 — or running it along the same poles as Xcel Energy’s 161-kv line that also bisects the area.

Chuck Thompson, who is in charge of siting and regulation, said the other routes present problems — Hwy. 35 has scenic easements, right-of-ways that extend into front yards, and is in the airport flight path; combining routes is also a challenge.

“When you start combining transmission lines the height goes up,” he said “It gets more difficult to put these lines together.”

And to move the line Dairyland would need permission from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

Thompson said burying the line — another common suggestion — would cost about 10 times as much.

“It’s difficult any time you’re in a city to route transmission,” Thompson said.

Urban planning

Dairyland could not provide the number of home within 300 feet of the line, but a Tribune analysis found the line crosses 142 developed residential properties and at least another nine multi-family properties with 84 apartments.

It crosses another 31 developed commercial properties, according to the Tribune’s analysis.

Much of the development occurred in the 1960s and 70s, prior to state statute that prohibits utilities from running anything higher than a 35kv line over a residence — or the construction of a residence under an existing line.

Kurt Childs, Dairyland’s director of land and design services, notes that homes built within the 80-foot right-of-way were constructed in violation of the company’s easement.

Who — if anyone — signed off on such plans is not clear.

“It really is a perfect example of a lack of urban planning,” Doyle said. “To have a mobile home directly under an existing line seems to me ludicrous.”

Kathan objects to the rebuilding project and thinks Dairyland should relocate the line away from the homes that were built around it, arguing that they are responsible for acting on new information about EMF.

“There really was not a choice,” she said. “People did not choose to be bombarded with EMF, because they did not know.”

And in a sidebar:

Public comments sought

Dairyland Power Cooperative is planning to rebuild about nine miles of 161-kilovolt transmission line, which runs from Briggs Road in Holmen through the city and towns of Onalaska and into the town of Medary south of the La Crosse River.

A fact sheet and maps of the project are available on Dairyland’s website, at

Dairyland is accepting public comments until Oct. 13 to be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service, which will oversee the environmental review of the project.

Comments can be emailed to Chuck Thompson at or mailed to Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Ave. S., La Crosse, WI 54602.

Please contact Dairyland and ask them to provide information!

Chuck Thompson, Manager, Siting & Regulatory Affairs, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI  54602-0617, or via email at  (608) 787-1432.

Here’s what little they have told us about this project:

And what I figure the magnetic field exposure would be if line is running at capacity it’s rated for (click chart for larger version):

Q-1 161 kV 795 ACSS_ Calculated Magnetic Field

Q-1D South Comment Period Extended!

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Nuts & Bolts,Q-1 Upgrade,RUS EIS,Wisconsin — posted by admin on October 2, 2015 @ 11:17 am

SUCCESS!!!  But… but… but only extended by 10 days…  HUH?  We still don’t have much to go on here, and major details like the capacity of this project, well, they’re still leaving us in the dark.

Here’s the new info posted on the Dairyland Power Cooperative site:


Compare the posted Corridor Map with the ones I’d received a couple weeks ago, note how much is M-I-S-S-I-N-G!

Appendix_A_Q1D_South_Sheetmap_150616_June 2015

The most obvious thing missing is the access roads, every single one of them.  What else?

And look what’s added.  I think the big difference is that this is “environmental” information, based on the subjects they listed in their first notice, like prime farmland, wetlands, etc.  It’s not the construction/technical layer.  So by looking at these new maps, we get the picture of what they think impacts are, and we can at least get a feel for that.

On the first map, there’s a brown area along the river/creek, but I can’t tell what color that would be on the legend… yellow?  On the third map, there’s a huge section with many different markings, covering the Wildlife Refuge.  H How would 95 – 115 foot tall towers this close to the ledge of the drop off into the Wildlife Refuge not have an impact on the protected (and unprotected!) migratory birds in this corridor?  What does the greatly increased tower height do to the viewshed from below on the Missisisppi?  They’re lowering towers and configuring horizontally for the La Crosse River Floodplain, so doesn’t this mean there are avian considerations?  And what about the Airport Overlay that limits structure height?

And check out this “Fact Sheet.”  Briggs Road to La Crosse Tap (Q-1D South) 161 kV Rebuild Project – Fact Sheet

Dairyland Power Cooperative says:

“Can you tell me about the Project?”  Well, not much, this is a two pager.  Focus is on using existing RoW.  Note they do point out existing and temporary access routes.  I would guess that this is something they’d have to have easements for… do they have easements?

“Why is the Project needed?”  They raise reliability problems, but these were addressed in the Badger Coulee, and the record there says Badger Coulee addresses these problems.  Oh, but it’s also impacting the fiber optic service on these structures.  Hmmmm, fiber optic.  Leased to who and for how much?  I don’t see any information on the fiber optic upgrade that would logically occur with upgrade of the electrical part of this line.  DISCLOSE PLEASE!

“What if the line is not rebuilt?”  This isn’t a rebuild, this is an upgrade.  Higher towers, from 45 – 85 feet now to 95-115 feet.  BIG DIFFERENCE!  Capacity?  Who knows, they’re not telling me, but folks, I have some ideas, based on the MISO disclosure of use of 795 ACSS conductor.  This is conjecture, because I’m still waiting for information from Dairyland, with the 437 MVA Peak taken from prior docket info, and the 84 MVA Average as a low-ball number (because they always understate capacity).  Click on table for a larger version that’s not cut up by the sidebar on the right:

Q-1 161 kV 795 ACSS_ Calculated Magnetic Field

“How are environmental impacts considered?”  As they state, this is a financial project, they’re doing this for financing.  Financing approval is a “major governmental action.”  Think not, Dairyland?  RUS?  Let’s discuss it in the alley!  Dairyland’s blurb states that “RUS has determined that the project would require the preparation of an Environmental Report (ER) to analyze potential impacts to the natural and human environments.”  ER?  How does this not require an EIS?  How is an ER compliant with NEPA?  How is it that Dairyland is allowed to segment these Q-1 projects out and that Marshland – Briggs Road required a full blown EIS and this doesn’t?  IT’S ALL ONE PROJECT, this upgrading the Q-1 line!

Read their new documents carefully, and take a good look at the new maps, comparing with the other ones.  What’s your take?

As always in this, take a few seconds and ask for more information, and when you’ve reviewed this stuff disclosed today, send comments to:

  • Chuck Thompson, Manager, Siting & Regulatory Affairs, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI  54602-0617, or via email at  (608) 787-1432.
  • Dennis Rankin, Engineering and Environmental Analyst,  USDA RUS, 1400 Independence SW, Mailstop 1571, Washington D.C., 20250-1571, or via email at    (202) 720-1953


Here’s the full blurb from Dairyland’s Chuck Thompson, hot off the press this morning:

Dairyland Power Cooperative is hereby extending the 30-day comment period related to prime farmlands, farmland of statewide importance, 100-year floodplains, wetlands, and other comments for the Q-1D South 161 kV rebuild.  Under this expanded period, comments should be submitted in writing to Dairyland Power Cooperative within 10 days of the publication of this notice.

Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI 54602-0817, is planning to rebuild approximately nine miles of 161 kilovolt transmission line in La Crosse County (Q-1D South Project).  The Q-1D South Project begins just south of the Briggs Road Substation near the Village of Holmen and ends at the La Crosse Tap south of the La Crosse River near Keil Coulee Road. Constructed in the 1950s, the line is now in poor condition and reaching the end of its service life.  The rebuild will occur along the existing 161 kV alignment within the existing right-of-way.  It has been determined that the Project, as proposed, will be located in a prime farmlands, 100-year floodplain, and wetlands. The Project will occupy 126 square feet of prime farmland, 12.6 square feet of farmland of statewide importance, 63 square feet of 100-year floodplain, and 50.4 square feet of wetlands.

Dairyland Power Cooperative believes that there is no practicable alternative that will avoid locating the Project in prime farmlands, farmland of statewide importance, 100-year floodplains, and wetlands.  Additional information on the project can be found at: for sheet maps and a fact sheet.

Copies of all comments received will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service for consideration prior to approval of financing assistance or taking other Federal action related to the Project.

Send your comments to:  Chuck Thompson, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Ave South,
La Crosse WI 54602 or email your comments to  


Comments sent on Q-1D South rebuild!

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Laws & Rules,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,RUS EIS,Wisconsin — posted by admin on September 25, 2015 @ 1:47 pm


SENT!  On behalf of No CapX 2020 I sent the following Comments:

No CapX 2020_Q-1D South_Comment_9-25-2015

I’ve asked how many times for more information, nada, still nothing.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G!

Of particular note is this handy-dandy chart that Bruce McKay had put together for the Brookings docket, and I plugged in the voltage, amps, MVA and here’s what we get for magnetic fields for various options of this 795 ACSS 161 kV transmission line — CLICK FOR A BIGGER VERSION, this is all that will fit in this format:

Q-1 161 kV 795 ACSS_ Calculated Magnetic Field

OK, Dairyland, USDA RUS — let’s see your calculations, let’s have disclosure of the peak and normal amps, the MVA, everything.  Show me this is wrong!  Note at what point mG levels drop to a 2-4 mG “safe” range.

For those of you who haven’t yet asked for an extension of time to comment, or who haven’t yet sent in comments, there’s still time, until 11:59 p.m. Sunday!

Send Comments, via email to BOTH:

  • Chuck Thompson, Manager, Siting & Regulatory Affairs, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI  54602-0617, or via email at  (608) 787-1432.
  • Dennis Rankin, Engineering and Environmental Analyst,  USDA RUS, 1400 Independence SW, Mailstop 1571, Washington D.C., 20250-1571, or via email at    (202) 720-1953

And who knows — with all the requests coming in, maybe they’ll extend the Comment period!!

Let us know, Chuck!


PR shill hits it out of the park!

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,News coverage — posted by admin on September 24, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

PB_ForumRochester Post Bulletin’s CapX 2020 Forum — 11/7/2010

Oh, Tim Carlsbad really did it today!  SNORT!!!  He’s doing a great job, though I do think he’s really needed back in sex trafficking at the UN.

This was a long, long, day, and here it is, I’ve arrived… I’ve reached the pinnacle of my illustrious legal career, well, second to the Senator Steve Murphy letter to a certain Minnesota Mayor… and… well… it’s certainly up there with the infamous Michael Murphy complaint to the Goodhue County Sheriff!

What the heck am I snorting about?

It’s the Carol Overland question!  But it’s not a question.  We all know it’s a statement,because CapX 2020 is transmission they don’t need and we don’t want!

Here ’tis, but be sure to swallow your coffee, tea, or even beer, first [with some comments, like this!] — wonder why they blocked me from making comments — guess I’ll have to do it here with No CapX 2020:

Answer Man: When power usage is generally flat, why build a power line?

Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2015 10:25 am

Dear Answer Man, you’ve been just about the only consistent source of local information on the CapX2020 power line. Can you remind me, why was this power line needed in the first place? Has power consumption been going up so much that a $2 billion power line was needed?

That’s a very good question, and tough to answer because the information is always a little dated, the project spans a huge area and involves many power utilities with different needs, and infrastructure of this kind is built in anticipation of future demand. The CapX people would tell you that it’s the largest power transmission system built in the state in 35 to 40 years, and that it was needed because the demand for electricity in the region has grown about 2 percent a year for the past decade.

It’s about 800 miles long and will cost more than $2 billion when the final checks are written.

When I asked Tim Carlsgaard, communications and public affairs manager for Xcel Energy, to recap the rationale for CapX2020, he called this “the Carol Overland question,” a reference to the activist attorney from Red Wing who was a leader in trying to stop the project.

I’m sure Carol will enjoy seeing her name attached to this question.

“Each CapX2020 utility will have a different answer to this question,” Carlsgaard said by email. “Concerning demand, you need to look at the Resource Plans that each utility must file with the respective public utilities commissions. Nevertheless, there are many factors as to why you build transmission, including meeting peak demand, regional reliability and providing capacity to support renewable energy development.

He also said the CapX lines “are helping the individual utility partners meet the Minnesota renewable energy mandate of 25 percent by 2025 (30 percent by 2020 for Xcel). As you know, there are not a lot of wind turbines within 20 miles of Rochester. I’m sure you are aware of the wind developers who have attempted to build wind farms in the vicinity of the Rochester metro area and were denied. … most of the wind farms in the Upper Midwest are located in far western and southern Minnesota and eastern Dakotas.”

Actually, I’m not aware of a gold rush in the immediate Rochester metro area for wind farms, though there are plenty in Dodge and Mower counties. But in any case, renewable energy is one reason the lines were needed.

Regarding power usage, project opponents have said from the beginning that electricity use has been flat for several years and will actually decline in the near term, thanks to conservation measures and greater efficiency. According to a filing last year by Xcel, which is a lead partner in the project, the utility said its “current forecast indicates a slight downward correction, projecting average growth over the 2017-2022 period to be less than 0.60 percent compared to the September 2013 update, which indicated average growth of 0.90 percent.  [CapX 2020 was predicated on their 2.49% annual increase, which we knew then, and their SEC filings now demonstrate, is utter bull-poo-poo.  The “Answer Man” still can’t admit that major “miscalculation.”]

“This lower expected growth rate in customer demand represents a 22 MW reduction in the forecasted median Peak Demand in 2017, growing to a 190 MW reduction by 2021, and a 388 MW reduction in 2024.”

The U.S. Department of Energy says that residential energy consumption in Minnesota was more or less flat from 2004 to 2011, which is the most current report I could find on that score. [somebody didn’t look very hard, they disclose this in their quarterly SEC filings, here’s the June 30, 2015:  Xcel Energy admits “growth” is down]Rochester Public Utilities and SMMPA are also partners in the project. According to a report in 2012, [note he’s citing an Xcel Resource Acquisition Compliance that I posted!  Yup, he sure has the answers…] the CapX upgrades to the 161kV lines around Rochester were expected to relieve transmission “constraints,” which will “benefit RPU in that it can rely more on imported power to meet its electric supply obligations.” Conversely, RPU can “reduce its reliance on internal generation to meet its reliability goals,” which is important with the closing of its smoke-belching, coal-fired generators at Silver Lake.

To my reader’s point about me being the best source of information on CapX2020 over the years, especially during the permitting process: I defy you to find a reporter who has followed this more closely, and I’ve posed more questions than I’ve answered.

Tomorrow — Q-1D South Comments due!

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Wisconsin — posted by admin on @ 8:57 am

Sheet Map 3

Tomorrow is the deadline for Comments on Dairyland’s “Q-1D South” upgrade — technically it’s Sunday — but don’t wait until the last minute.

Send Comments to (I recommend via email):

  • Chuck Thompson, Manager, Siting & Regulatory Affairs, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI  54602-0617, or via email at  (608) 787-1432.
  • Dennis Rankin, Engineering and Environmental Analyst,  USDA RUS, 1400 Independence SW, Mailstop 1571, Washington D.C., 20250-1571, or via email at    (202) 720-1953

Prior Posts:

What’s the story on the Q-1D South rebuild?

Dairyland’s N LaX-LaX 161 kV Tap maps

Plan for Q-1D South near LaX?

UPDATE: Dairyland’s Q-1 “upgrades” through La Crosse

We still don’t know what the plans are.  I’ve made several requests, nada…  Is this any way to run a transmission project?

Kimberly St


What’s the story on the Q-1D South rebuild?

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Wisconsin — posted by admin on September 21, 2015 @ 3:34 pm

Who knows?  The public sure has no idea, and Dairyland isn’t telling!

The Comment deadline is FRIDAY (deadline is really Sunday, but Friday on the conservative side), and we still have only Dairyland Q-1D South Sheetmaps, no other information.

Please take 90 seconds and email Chuck Thompson and Dennis and let them know that we need more time!  I did!

  • Chuck Thompson, Manager, Siting & Regulatory Affairs, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI  54602-0617, or via email at
  • Dennis Rankin, Engineering and Environmental Analyst,  USDA RUS, 1400 Independence SW, Mailstop 1571, Washington D.C., 20250-1571, or via email at

OK, fine, don’t give us what we need to know, no problem, that’s what the Freedom of Information Act is for:


USDA RUS – Acknowledgement of FOIA_Dairyland Q-1D

I’ve sent Dairyland and USDA-RUS a request to extend the comment period to 30 days after information on this project has been made available to the public.  Until we know what’s going on, it’s pretty tough to comment.

No CapX Letter to USDA & DPC_September 18 2015

We need more time to be able to meaningfully comment on this stealth project!

Sheet Map 6

Dairyland’s N LaX-LaX 161 kV Tap maps

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,RUS EIS,Wisconsin — posted by admin on September 8, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

There’s a lot to learn about this 9 mile short little project, and it’s been hard to find information.  VERY difficult to find anything on it.  Yet some progress!





Here are a few tidbits, but there’s still a lot more to find.

Dairyland Q-1D South Sheetmaps

From our friends at MISO, from a July 2015 subcommittee meeting (same slide as was presented in several earlier meetings):

MISOslideFrom MISO – see p. 23: 20150727 WSPM Item 05b Review of Reliability Projects ATC DPC

But go figure — MISO testimony says that the Badger Coulee line will eliminate reliability problems with this and other 161 kV infrastructure in the area:

MISO Post Hearing Initial Brief 05-CE-142 p 72015-01-30 Docket 05-CE-142 Post-Hearing Brief by MISO__ p 7

So let me see if I understand this — they’re saying that there’s a “reliability” problem with a number of utility facilities, of which “North La Crosse — La Crosse Tap 161 kV line (Dairyland’s Q-1D South) is one, and that building the Badger Coulee line “solves” those problems.  So they use this to justify permitting the Badger Coulee line… DONE!  But now they want to rebuild this La Crosse — La Crosse Tap 161 kV line (Dairyland’s Q-1D South).

  • If Badger Coulee is permitted, then why rebuild?
  • Or conversely, if they’re going to rebuild, why do they need Badger Coulee?

Were you lying then, or are you lying now?  Or maybe both?

Anyway, here’s a start on the info I’ve been looking for — the MAPS!  Click the map for a larger version:

Sheet Map Index

Sheet Map 1

Sheet Map 2

Sheet Map 3

Sheet Map 4

Sheet Map 5

Sheet Map 6

Sheet Map 7

Sheet Map 8

Sheet Map 9

Sheet Map 10

Sheet Map 11

REMEMBER: The deadline for comments is Sunday, September 27, so technically I’d say it’s Monday, September 28, but to be safe, send your comments in by Friday, September 25.

I recommend you send to both:

  • Chuck Thompson, Manager, Siting & Regulatory Affairs, Dairyland Power Cooperative, 3200 East Avenue South, La Crosse, WI  54602-0617, or via email at
  • Dennis Rankin, Engineering and Environmental Analyst,  USDA RUS, 1400 Independence SW, Mailstop 1571, Washington D.C., 20250-1571, or via email at

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace