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

Cash-Register

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.).

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Bill Howley, “The Power Line” blogger, has died

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on April 26, 2015 @ 10:06 am

howley_4_25_15

Bill Howley died yesterday.

Bill Howley is known by anyone working in opposition to transmission projects.  Due to a transmission line proposed in his community, he learned pretty much everything there is to know about transmission, wrote about it faithfully and fearlessly for years, and became an expert on advocacy, economics and technology of all things electrical.  He’s one of the first resources people would turn to when they first learned of transmission projects.  Recently, he’d taken the position of Program Director for WV SUN.

Bill Howley’s blog, established in 2008 — take a few minutes to get an idea of the depth of his work.  Here’s hoping that his family will keep this blog going in perpetuity, a memorial to his work and as a guiding light for all those who are dealing with transmission projects:

The Power Line

The View from Calhoun County

From the Hur Herald from Sunny Cal:

People’s Advocate Bill Howley of Calhoun County has died.

His life’s work was based on his favorite quote by Ghandi, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

He was a well-known researcher, consultant, consumer advocate, activist, writer, and paralegal.

Howley, 62, of Red Bud Lane, Chloe, died in a vehicle accident on I-79 in Braxton County Thursday evening.

A graduate of Yale University, he and and his wife Loren Howley, Grantsville attorney, moved to Calhoun County years ago to live their lives in the country.

For several years he was a public advocate for consumer rights related to electric company abuse of consumers and published The Power Line, an on-line media outlet.

He was a leader defeating the goliath PATH electric transmission project promoted by WV’s coal fired power plants, that power would have exported to northeast urban areas, with a part of those costs being absorbed by consumers and taxpayers in West Virginia.

Howley protested the state’s taxing of deep coal that cannot be mined under 1,000 parcels of Washington District land, the Calhoun Commission taking action against the proposal, which was dropped.

He recently assumed a position as Program Director for West Virginia Sun, an organization that is helping West Virginia communities create affordable renewable power.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

PSC files Order for Badger Coulee Xmsn

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin — posted by admin on April 23, 2015 @ 5:43 pm

manurespreader_newholland

Final Order 05-CE-142

Let’s see… there is NO MENTION of MVP 5.  It doesn’t deal with cost apportionment of the 17 MVP projects.

And how is it that Commissioner Huebsch didn’t recuse, and that’s OK?  He didn’t disclose potential conflict until March 6, 2015:

Huebsch – Conflict Routes O & P

Huebsch1and…Huebsch2… and of course…

Huebsch3

AAAAAAAAAARGH!

Badger Coulee transmission line gets final OK

Land acquisition set to begin for Badger-Coulee transmission line

Real estate acquisition work on Badger Coulee Line to begin in May

 

Brusven is lobbyist for ITC!

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Laws & Rules — posted by admin on April 20, 2015 @ 8:34 am

doh

I’m having one of those “D’OH!” moments…

Remember at the tail end of the ITC case where there was suddenly a claim that the Geronimo wind project in SW Minnesota wouldn’t go on line without the ITC MVP 3 transmission project?  And as suddenly, Dr. Rakow of Commerce reversed his testimony on Sunday night before the hearing started Monday?

Here’s a post about their claim at the public hearing that the Odell wind project couldn’t go online:

ITC Midwest transmission hearing OVER!!??!!

From that post:

Not only were these two Geronimo representatives present, but Gerinomo attorney Christie Brusven was present at the ITC Midwest DEIS Hearings and the Public Hearings. Here she is just after having posed for a photo in front of the tractors:

Brusven_20140513_182525

If this is a concern, is there some reason Odell Wind Project representatives did not raise this earlier?  Is there some reason that ITC Midwest did not raise this in their application or voluminous responses to voluminous Information Requests?

Well,I tried to bring this up at the “Evidentiary” hearing, in quotes because it was such a farce.

Brusven

The ALJ deems this not relevant.

And now I see that not only is Brusven counsel for Geronimo, but she’s a lobbyist for ITC:

Association data for:

ITC Holdings Corp (Intl Transmission Co)
Krista Tanner, President
100 East Grand Ste 230
Des Moines, IA 50309
Website:www.itc-holdings.com
Association Number: 6092

Lobbyists Registered Registration
Number
Registration
Date
Termination
Date
Designated
Lobbyist
Lisa M Agrimonti 3967 6/11/2012
Frances E Brown 2368 5/22/2009
Christina K Brusven 2685 9/14/2012
Matthew Carstens 2859 9/14/2012
Timothy Iannettoni 3177 3/20/2014
Michael C Krikava 547 6/8/2012
Molly B Murphy 2755 1/12/2012
Thomas R Murphy 999 5/8/2009 Yes
Todd W Schulz 3006 3/20/2013
Kodi Jean Verhalen 2548 6/8/2012

DOH!  And this “new information” about Odell suddenly pops up at the public hearing at the last minute?  Right…

Would it have been any different had it been on the record that the Odell Wind Project attorney was also attorney/lobbyist for ITC?  I doubt it, but… this is yet another example of …

manurespreader

Found MidAmerican’s MVP 3 & 4 Substation

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on April 14, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

Mystery solved???  I think so… deep breathe… looks like MidAmerican is OK, in compliance.  I’d checked the IUB’s E-22099 docket, and it looked like MidAmerican hadn’t been granted the franchise, briefs had just been filed, but no order.  So I contacted the Office of the Consumer Advocate, and in talking to the Consumer Advocate’s attorney, he explained that the E-22099 docket had been split into two parts.  It’s hard to tell from the docket, everything’s a jumble, but in short, the leg to the east of the Black Hawk substation, which had been granted, is the one they’re building, and the other is to the west of the Black Hawk substation, which has not been granted… yet.  They’ve just finished briefing, earlier this month, and are now waiting for the decision of the ALJ.  WHEW!  They’re checking with the utility to assure they’re only working on the eastern part, but from what I saw, that would be correct — all the brand new transmission towers, and the work in the fields that I saw, was on the eastern side, and on the west, old H-frame structures that have clearly been there a LONG time (and from the filings in E-22099, what the fight is about, whether they can enlarge the easement to double circuit with that existing line).  OK, now I’m satisfied… so moving on to FERC and their transmission adder docket!

This photo is from the road just to the immediate north east of the line, showing the new structures and wires to the east connecting into the substation.

20150414_164617_resized

Curiouser and curiouser… Coming up 63 today, just north of Waterloo, I found the MVP 3 and MVP 4 substation… or so it says:

20150414_165005_resized

Here’s the map of MPV 3 and MVP 4, and this is the “Blackhawk” substation in Black Hawk County:

MVP3-4_Cropped

To look at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) docket for this project (it’s the MidAmerican part of MVP 4) in Black Hawk County, GO HERE TO IUB SEARCH PAGE and search for docket E-22099.

In that docket, MidAmerican argues that the two are not necessarily connected, are not dependent, and yet I’d say the sign at the substation says otherwise.

Here’s what it looks like from above — that’s Hwy. 63, the divided 4 lane to the east, and the gravel roads are Bennington (E/W) and Burton (N/S), this is on Burton, just south of Bennington — and now it’s a lot more built up, one of the larger substations I’ve seen:

AerialSubstationMVP#&$

From the west, it looks like an old 230k V line on H-frames, but it could be higher voltage.  Straight east from this substation, built after this photo, is a big new 345 kV transmission line, all ready for a second circuit:

20150414_164139_resized

Is this depressing or what… sigh…

Next up, ATC and ITC’s Cardinal — Hickory Creek

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on April 13, 2015 @ 8:01 am

20150412_160822_resizedThat’s Genoa, looking a lot like the Allis reactor that used to be up at Elk River.  Good to see Irv and George at the table yesterday!

Greetings from utility infrastructure land… next up in the transmission build-out is the Cardinal-Spring Green-Hickory Creek, or whatever name they’re putting on it these days.  I don’t like the way they reverse it as if it’s going east to west when we know better, it’s export from Iowa and the Dakotas and maybe even Minnesota!  It’s to go from west of Dubuque (connecting to MISO MVP 4, I presume) to Cardinal (which is essentially Madison).

Hickory Creek

Cardinal-Hickory Creek website

So later today, I’ll try to get a photo of that Dubuque substation and where it might cross (there’s a big coal plant downtown).  It’ll mean another crossing of the Mississippi by a 345 kV transmission line.  It’ll probably also mean another eagle take permit.  Just yesterday, between Red Wing and La Crosse, I counted 10 eagle nests, but the best one we saw was #11 near Genoa, with two eagles sitting in the tree next to the nest.

Here’s the map, and below is the Stockman plant in Cassville, with a substation that could be used, it’s in the study area on the northern end of the “study area” abutting the Mississippi (so where’s the map for the Iowa parts of this project?):

Dubuque-CardinalAnd here’s the Stockman plant, in Cassville — I wonder, do they know this could be coming their way?  Supposedly they’re doing the “public involvement” piece right now…  There is transmission going both ways out of that plant, across the river and up the bluff…

20150412_183427_resized

 

Got SOUL?

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 6, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

Why am I on this mailing list?

20150402_142722_resized_3

Let’s see… they got $75k from the PSC (PSC REF#: 212767, PSC REF#: 212769), $37,500 to CETF directly attributable to the IC Request I drafted…

CETF – SOUL $75,000 Intervenor Compensation Award

And look at the numbers presented above… oh my…

And about “soul” from the Wiki link:

Etymology

The Modern English word “soul“, derived from Old Englishsáwol, sáwel, was first attested to in the 8th-century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50—it is cognate with other Germanic and Baltic terms for the same idea, including Gothicsaiwala, Old High Germansêula, sêla, Old Saxonsêola, Old Low Franconiansêla, sîla, Old Norsesála and Lithuaniansiela. Further etymology of the Germanic word is uncertain. A more recent suggestion[4] connects the word with a root for “binding”, Germanic *sailian (OE sēlian, OHG seilen), related to the notion of being “bound” in death, and the practice of ritually binding or restraining the corpse of the deceased in the grave to prevent their return as a ghost.

Yup, shoulda, woulda… that “practice of ritually binding or restraining the corpse of the deceased in the grave to prevent their return as a ghost” just might have been what was called for…

Another Buy the Farm win in MN Supreme Court!

Filed under:Appeal,Buy the Farm,Laws & Rules,News coverage — posted by admin on March 4, 2015 @ 4:15 pm

cheeringsection

YES, another Buy the Farm win, just released today!

OPA131474-030415

Check it out, read the decision.

On MPR: Supreme Court backs farmers in CapX 2020 powerline fight

On KSTP: State Supreme Court Rules Against Utility Companies in Farmland Dispute

For all of you across the country who live in states that do not have a “Buy the Farm” option, and that’s all of you anywhere but here in Minnesota, send our “Buy the Farm” to your state legislators and tell them you need it.  The relevant text is below, and if you click on it, you’ll get the Legislative Revisor’s site for the whole Minn. Stat.  216E.12.

216E.12, Subd. 4.Contiguous land.

(a) When private real property that is an agricultural or nonagricultural homestead, nonhomestead agricultural land, rental residential property, and both commercial and noncommercial seasonal residential recreational property, as those terms are defined in section 273.13 is proposed to be acquired for the construction of a site or route for a high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more by eminent domain proceedings, the owner shall have the option to require the utility to condemn a fee interest in any amount of contiguous, commercially viable land which the owner wholly owns in undivided fee and elects in writing to transfer to the utility within 60 days after receipt of the notice of the objects of the petition filed pursuant to section 117.055. Commercial viability shall be determined without regard to the presence of the utility route or site. Within 60 days after receipt by the utility of an owner’s election to exercise this option, the utility shall provide written notice to the owner of any objection the utility has to the owner’s election, and if no objection is made within that time, any objection shall be deemed waived. Within 120 days of the service of an objection by the utility, the district court having jurisdiction over the eminent domain proceeding shall hold a hearing to determine whether the utility’s objection is upheld or rejected. The utility has the burden of proof to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the property elected by the owner is not commercially viable. The owner shall have only one such option and may not expand or otherwise modify an election without the consent of the utility. The required acquisition of land pursuant to this subdivision shall be considered an acquisition for a public purpose and for use in the utility’s business, for purposes of chapter 117 and section 500.24, respectively; provided that a utility shall divest itself completely of all such lands used for farming or capable of being used for farming not later than the time it can receive the market value paid at the time of acquisition of lands less any diminution in value by reason of the presence of the utility route or site. Upon the owner’s election made under this subdivision, the easement interest over and adjacent to the lands designated by the owner to be acquired in fee, sought in the condemnation petition for a right-of-way for a high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more shall automatically be converted into a fee taking.

(b) All rights and protections provided to an owner under chapter 117 apply to acquisition of land or an interest in land under this section.

(c) Within 120 days of an owner’s election under this subdivision to require the utility to acquire land, or 120 days after a district court decision overruling a utility objection to an election made pursuant to paragraph (a), the utility must make a written offer to acquire that land and amend its condemnation petition to include the additional land.

(d) For purposes of this subdivision, “owner” means the fee owner, or when applicable, the fee owner with the written consent of the contract for deed vendee, or the contract for deed vendee with the written consent of the fee owner.

NUCLEAR?!?! What is MN Senate thinking?

Filed under:Laws & Rules,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on March 2, 2015 @ 1:58 pm

Prairie Island nuclear plant

That’s “our” reactor, the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, here in Red Wing, it’s within the city limits (which were expanded to include the plant).  I represented Florence Township from 1995, when Xcel, f/k/a NSP, applied to put nuclear waste in Florence Township under the “alternate site mandate,” and that went on, and on, and on, until they finally withdrew their application at the NRC in … what, 1999?  2000?  That’s one I thought would never end.  But that’s the thing about nuclear, it’s never over.

QUICK — CONTACT THE LEGISLATORS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS MISSIVE.

There are two bills before the Senate Environment and Energy Committee TOMORROW:

  • SF306 is simply worded, deleting the Minn. Stat. 216.243, Subd. 3b prohibition of new construction of a nuclear plant and changes it to “Additional storage of spent nuclear fuel” and over the previous language that states: “Any certificate of need for additional storage of spent nuclear fuel for a facility seeking a license extension shall address the impacts of continued operations over the period for which approval is sought.”  It’s authored by Kiffmeyer, coauthored by Dahms and Anderson.

SF536So we have a blanket repeal of the nuclear construction prohibition, and a specific opening for a Certificate of Need for a nuclear generator at the Monticello site.

Authors contact info is linked above, and emails for Senate Energy committee members and the authors are also listed below.

Whether it’s targeted as a replacement for the Fukushima Daiichi style GE plant, or whether it’s to add and operate a second reactor, WHY?

First, there’s no need.  There is a glut of electricity, as our friend, Xcel’s Ben Fowkes said, when they could no longer keep up the GROW GROW GROW fiction.  Here’s the Seeking Alpha transcript of the XEL Earnings Call, January 31, 2013. 

So I think the economies are in decent shape across all our jurisdictions. Doesn’t necessarily mean it translates to high sales growth. And that’s consistent with our forecast. I mean, we’re not anticipating that we’re going to see a tremendous rebound in sales, even as the economies start to improve. I mean, I think, that’s our new normal, frankly.

For last year:

Finally, NSP-Minnesota sales increased six-tenths of a percent driven by growth in the number of residential and small C&I customers and usage increases in the small C&I class.

From Xcel’s IRP (Docket 15-21), p. 45 of 102:

Historic&ForecastPeakDemand_IRPp45And here’s what they had to say about that (note they do NOT go back further than 2011, so we don’t get to see the 2000-2010 numbers):

We forecast a period of relatively flat growth such that our median base peak will increase only 0.4 percent in each year of the planning period…

That chart is NOT consistent with the 2014 SEC 10K filing, which shows a 2014 peak demand of 8,848 MW (info below is linked, see p. 9 at 10-K link):

Capacity and Demand
 
Uninterrupted system peak demand for the NSP System’s electric utility for each of the last three years and the forecast for 2015, assuming normal weather, is listed below.
 
                       

That lower number is consistent with the downward trend of the 2014 NERC Long Term Reliability Assessment, now showing growth rates at lowest levels on record (note that it has NEVER been close to the CapX 2020 “forecast” of 2.49% annually):

2014 NERC-Wide Demand

And here’s the picture for MISO from the 2014 NERC Long Term Reliability Assessment:

MISO Peak Demand Reserve Margins

2014 NERC Long Term Reliability Assessment, p. 38 (or p. 46 of 115 pdf).

Also from the 2014 SEC 10-K link:

Demand2

So we don’t “need” it, there’s no talk of a new nuclear plant in their recently filed IRP.  So why???

And the “WHY?” may be clearer when taken into context with last week’s hearing at House Energy, where the intent, in part, behind legislation there was to make Minnesota an exporter of energy.  Again, WHY?  Why make the state an exporter of energy?  And if we do what would that do for our rates here?  How does that fit with Xcel’s well funded plan to institute its e21 Initiative, and how does that fit with Xcel’s desire to use ratepayer money to find other market options?  The House bill would let natural gas plants be built without a Certificate of Need, whether by an IPP or regulated utility, with the key being that they are selling into the MISO grid, and not for Minnesota native load.

But nuclear is SO expensive!  First, there’s an immediate example of nuclear construction cost overruns right here in Minnesota, at the Monticello nuclear plant, where they went way beyond what was approved in the Certificate of Need:

Xcel management blamed for cost overruns at Monticello

So what was that about?  Costs more than doubled, increased by a factor of 2.33!!!  From the article:

The project to extend the plant’s life and increase power output ballooned from an estimated $320 million in 2008 to $665 million when it was completed last year. However, the final price tag likely will rise to $748 million, including construction-in-progress financial costs.

And let’s look at new construction, the first new nuclear plant in the US in 30 years:

C&U disputes Southern Co. claim for $247 million in penalties for cost overruns at Plant Vogtle

The cost punchline on the Vogtle plant?  Southern, Westinghouse and CB&I are already in court over previous cost overruns on the project, which is currently expected to cost $14.5 billion.

Here’s that other project:

Shaw Power Group, Westinghouse, face cost issues at S.C. project.

The cost punch line here?  The NRC is expected to act soon on the Summer license. Summer is projected to cost about $9 billion.

Building new plants?  Well, NEI has some info, BUT it’s outdated, nuclear has not caught up, and this is the most current I can find on the site (HERE’S THE WHOLE REPORT):

CapitalCosts2013So please explain — why would anyone want to build a new nuclear plant?

  • There is no need.
  • They cost so much that it’s unreasonable to even consider, and is the definition of imprudent!

Why are Reps. Kiffmeyer and Anderson trying to make this a possibility?  Is this for real?  Is it a diversion from some other issue?

CONTACT INFO FOR LEGISLATORS:

To contact the Senate Energy and Environment Committee, go to COMMITTEE LINK, because many MN Senators have form access, not direct emails.  Boo-hiss…  Here are the emails listed, but go to link to see the buttons for the Senators with form access only:

sen.john.hoffman@senate.mn; sen.david.osmek@senate.mn; sen.michelle.benson@senate.mn; sen.david.brown@senate.mn; sen.lyle.koenen@senate.mn; sen.julie.rosen@senate.mn; sen.bev.scalze@senate.mn; sen.matt.schmit@senate.mn; sen.bill.weber@senate.mn

Senate authors: sen.mary.kiffmeyer@senate.mn; sen.gary.dahms@senate.mn; sen.bruce.anderson@senate.mn

SF306 is authored by Kiffmeyer, coauthored by Dahms and Anderson, click names for links!

SF0536 is authored by Anderson only.

HF338 is sponsored by O’Neill ; Newberger ; Garofalo ; Howe ; Baker ; McDonald ; Nornes, click names for links!

U of M to “document the CapX2020 experience” EH???

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on February 18, 2015 @ 3:51 pm

chimp_scratching_head

This Research Assistant job popped up — wonder who’s paying for this… and what’s the point?

UofM

CapXJob

 

House Bill 2047 — Washington State does Buy the Farm!!!

Filed under:Buy the Farm,Laws & Rules — posted by admin on February 16, 2015 @ 7:20 pm

OH HAPPY DAY!!!!

Washington State is working on “Buy the Farm” and a bill was introduced last Monday:

House Bill 2047

It’s been referred to House Judiciary — here’s the page for status of bills:

CHECK STATUS OF HOUSE BILL 2047 HERE

Is this exciting or what?!?!

 


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace