Helpful and useful information? Please donate!

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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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?!?!

 

Reply Briefs filed in Badger Coulee Xmsn Docket

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Wisconsin — posted by admin on February 14, 2015 @ 6:18 pm

pilesofiles

The Wisconsin PSC docket for ATC and NSP Wisconsin’s Badger Coulee line marches on.  As of Friday, there are more briefs filed and waiting to be read.  The WOW brief is… well… WOW, as it admits on p. 7 of its Reply Brief:

The need for the Project, however, is not Wisconsin-centric.

DOH!  That says it all, everything the Wisconsin Public Service Commission needs to know.

ATC NSP Reply Brief

MISO Reply Brief

CETF Reply Brief

SOUL Reply Brief

Clean WI Reply Brief

Holland Neighborhood Preservation Assoc Reply Brief

Town of Holland Reply Brief

Town of Middleton Reply Brief

Kunze Reply Brief

ELPC Reply Brief

WOW Reply Brief

Powers Reply Brief

Just filed Petition for Intervention in Xcel’s e21 Docket

Filed under:Cost Recovery,Laws & Rules,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,PUC Docket — posted by admin on February 6, 2015 @ 5:44 pm

e21

Yes, I’ve filed this under “Energy” “Disaster” because it’s a train wreck of a proposal, and I cannot believe people would buy into this… or sell out into this.  What, you say?  e21!

102115_e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report_2014

In December, Xcel filed this, and I swear, this was the heading:

REQUEST FOR PLANNING MEETING AND DIALOGUE
ROADMAP FOR SUPPORTING THE e21 INITIATIVE

“Roadmap for SUPPORTING?”  Really…

So what is it?  It’s a lot of whining about how hard it is to be a utility and that things are changing.  Ummmmm… yeah.  As if Xcel didn’t know that?

It feels to me like it’s another whack at “restructuring,” a/k/a deregulation, and a “we’re too big to fail” argument.  And as before with “restructuring,” everyone’s getting in line, jumping on the bandwagon.

Listen to this recommendation:

(J)1. Encourage the use of, and give additional weight to, settlement agreements among parties, as long as the Commission determines that the agreements are in the public interest.

Really…

And now that we’ve permitted and built all this excess transmission capacity, they’re whining about under-utilization… can you believe it?  Check this recommendation:

(N) Identify and develop opportunities to reduce customer costs by improving overall grid efficiency.  In Minnesota, the total electric system utilization is approximately 55 percent (average demand divided by peak demand), thus providing an opportunity to reduce system costs by better utilizing existing system assets (e.g., generation, wires, etc.).

This sounds like the best opening to get into the CapX and MVP dockets and get them revoked.  Give me a break…

So I just filed this, we’re gonna do what we can:

Legalectric and Muller – Petition for Intervention

Why file for intervention?  Well, this thing is all about stakeholders, and argues that, hey, look, all the stakeholders agree so just do it.  Ummmm… right… and just who are the stakeholders?  Those who have made those agreements with them in the past that got us right where we are today, DOH! What a fine mess you’ve gotten us into… let’s not do it yet again!

finemess

YES!! ALJ Newmark extends time, NoCapX Brief is IN!

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Wisconsin — posted by admin on February 3, 2015 @ 11:36 am

cheeringsection2

Judge Newmark has just filed an Order granting the NoCapX Motion for Extension to File Non-Party Brief and here it is:

Order to Enlarge Time

And the Brief, filed yesterday, which is now accepted, in the record:

No CapX 2020_Non-Party Brief

YES!!!

cheeringsection3

No CapX 2020 Non-Party Brief

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Cost Recovery,FERC,Wisconsin — posted by admin on February 2, 2015 @ 10:16 am

question_marks

Leave it to the PSC to say, “Hey, here’s an open door” and then make it a screen door that’s locked!  In the Badger Coulee docket, the ALJ offered an opportunity to file “Non-Party” briefs and then it turned out the transcripts weren’t posted on ERF until the Thursday afternoon before the Friday brief deadline.  Thankfully Frank Jablonski offered to send the early transcripts sans corrections on Tuesday when I asked. I’d filed a quick Motion for Extension, no word on that yet, but brief has been filed:

NoCapX Motion for Extension to File Non-Party Brief

How is one supposed to write a brief without transcripts?  Oh, right, we’re not supposed to.  Oh well…  So here we go:

No CapX 2020_Non-Party BriefFILED TODAY!!!

In this docket I was compelled.  There were such important things that were utterly ignored.

For example, check the record about cost allocation, rate recovery, return on investment… Look at the testimony of Hodgeson (ATC) and Hoesly (NSP-Wisconsin).  Hodgson’s not exactly credible on the stand — when questioned about rate impacts on ratepayers, nada, he refused to address impacts on ratepayers, only that “benefits” will go to utilities:

Untitled4

Trying again:

Hodgson1Untitled2Untitled3

Nothing about Schedule MM, nothing about Schedule 26A, which are how they came up with this numbers game.  And he put it together, lots was submitted CONFIDENTIALLY, info under wraps.  But the most primary concepts he will not talk about, and the primary documents are not in the record.

Can you believe that?  I… know… no-tingk!

schultz_180

Does Hodgson know nothing?  Not quite.  Take a look at Hodgson’s prefiled testimony, and do a search for Attachment MM and Schedule 26A, look at how he talks about it:

Hodgson Direct

Hodgson Rebuttal

Hodgson Sursurrebuttal

His testimony is about cost allocation, apportionment, and each balancing area’s assessment for the lump of the MISO 17 MVP Portfolio projects.  And, yup, in Hodgson’s Direct Testimony, “Attachment MM” is used 12 times in his Direct Testimony.  “Schedule 26A” is used 8 times.  So where is Attachment MM?  Where is Schedule 26A?  They’re not attached as exhibits.  They’re not in the record that I could find.  WTF???

Who cares about MISO Tariff Attachment MM and Schedule 26A in the Badger Coulee docket?  Apparently no one.  The Applicants sure wouldn’t want to disclose this if they don’t have to, and they didn’t.  The intervenors didn’t care, it’s not been entered as an exhibit by any of them.  So where in the record is anything about how these MVP costs will affect Wisconsin ratepayers?

Here’s NSP-Wisconsin’s Hoesly, his testimony on this is limited to p. 5-6, noting that Hodgson did the work:

Hoesley Direct Corrected

THERE WAS NOT ONE SINGLE QUESTION FOR HOESLEY!  Well, PSC’s Urban and Sirohi too…

Here they are, the primary documents, from the ITC Midwest MN/IA 345 kV case:

MISO Tariff Attachment MM (from ITC docket)

Exhibit B_Schedule 26A Indicative Annual Charges_02262014 (from ITC docket)

Hodgson also refers to MISO Tariff Attachment O, and here it is:

ATC’s Rate Formula (Attachment O)

And for a bigger picture, here’s recent ATC info:

ATC_2015_Attach_O_G_MM_Schedule 1

ATC_AttachmentMM 100114

ATC Budget and Rates (note they use “coincident peak” for these calculations):

ATC Budget and Rates

And from that, these documents (some repeats) that were prepared for an October rate dog & pony:

Budget Presentation
Rate Formula (Attachment O)
2015 Attachment GG
2015 Attachment MM
2015 Schedule 1
2015 Transmission Service Rates (Schedule 7 & 8)
ATC Rate Projections through 2019

Who cares?  Well… anyone who is concerned about what Wisconsin, Minnesota, or anyone in MISO might be stuck paying for these MVP projects!

Do tell — how can the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin make a decision in this docket without the MISO Tariff Attachment MM and Schedule 26A in the record?  How can it make a decision without considering what Wisconsin’s assessment for all those $5.86 BILLION in MISO’s 17 MVP projects amounts to?

Great GRE meeting tonight for Tyrone xmsn project!

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on January 27, 2015 @ 9:43 pm

20150127_190643_resized

Tonight Great River Energy held a great meeting on the Tyrone Transmission Project, a “little” 69 kV project along Myrick Street in Le Sueur.  For such a short project, what a turn out — this was towards the end, when I got there, it was standing room only, down the hall, all the way to the door.

What was great about this is the level of understanding the folks have, not the GRE folks of course, but the regular people looking for information about how this project came to be proposed, and what they could do about it.  LOVE IT when that happens!  Questions like:

  • Will penta poles leach into the groundwater (10′ well in area!)?
  • If they want to power the currently non-existent warehouse district, why isn’t substation over there?
  • If this is for Cambria, shouldn’t the substation be on their property?
  • About that underground line serving Cambria, what’s up with that?
  • If they’re wanting to serve Cambria and the warehouse district on the other side, why tap into the existing 69kV so far to the east and then run all that way back west, isn’t there a better way to do it?

There should be a good article about this in the Le Sueur News-Herald tomorrow or Thursday.

Here’s what they think they want to do:

TyroneXmsn

Here’s the Notice blurb they sent out:

Tyrone Transmission Upgrade — pdoc749712

And the GRE Tyrone Transmission Project page!

Next stop, Le Sueur County Zoning & Planning for the first step towards a Conditional Use Permit.  Are we having fun yet?

Remember Myrick Street??? Here we go again!

Filed under:Upcoming Events — posted by admin on January 25, 2015 @ 3:52 pm

TyroneXmsn

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.

at the

Le Sueur Library

118 Ferry Street

Le Sueur, Minnesota

Here’s the Notice blurb they sent out:

Tyrone Transmission Upgrade — pdoc749712

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!

Le Sueur County Planning and Zoning page

Le Sueur County Planning Commission

Le Sueur County Commissioners

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:

map-lesueur-myrickroute

Here’s an article about this Tyrone line in the Le Sueur News-Herald:

Open house on proposed electric transmission line near Le Sueur planned

Posted: Saturday, January 10, 2015 12:42 pm | Updated: 1:52 pm, Mon Jan 12, 2015.


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace