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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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Rehearing for Cardinal-Hickory Creek?

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on October 17, 2019 @ 10:58 am

Just filed yesterday, the Jewell Jinkins Intervenors request that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission take another look at their decision approving the CPCN and routing for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line:

This is the final shot before the Commission at this PSC CPCN approval. The next possible step is Wisconsin’s Circuit Court, due 30 days after they (likely) reject this Petition. Other intervenors are planning on heading that way, ones with solid backing and resources.

345kV Wilmarth – Faribault – North Rochester (N of Pine Island)…

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on September 23, 2019 @ 6:12 pm

That’s the CapX 2020 345kV line crossing Minnesota’s Zumbro River at the White Bridge Road looking towards the “North Rochester” substation just north of Pine Island. Now they’re proposing yet ANOTHER 345kV line coming in from the west to “North Rochester.” It’s called the Wilmarth (Mankato, the garbage burner and gas plants there)-Faribault-North Rochester line, proposed for the “B” list (which typically moves up to the “A” list the following year) in the 2020 MTEP report.

Here’s the chart, sortable (very interesting by state and by “Geographic Location — meaning company), this line is on the bottom of the spreadsheet, highlighted in red, with no cost estimate:

Per the MISO spreadsheet:

Studied during the MN 44 exploratory analysis, this project adds a 345 kV line between Mankato and Rochester. The line will stop at a new 345 kV yard in Faribault to support the local 100 kV system.

Low voltages exist in the Owatonna and Faribault areas during P2 and P6 events. Load growth has brought the system to capacity. In addition to this, overloads due to future high wind scenarios occur throughout south central MN.

In the 2017 Biennial Electric Transmission Planning Report, the project was REJECTED as an “alternative” to the ongoing Wilmarth-Huntley 345kV line, but here it comes again?? From that Report:

Alternatives:  Several solutions such as rebuilding the South Bend to Blue Earth to Huntley 161 kV, a new Freeborn to West Owatonna 161 kV circuit, and a new Wilmarth to North Rochester 345 kV circuit were also studies to relieve the congestion observed.

This is absurd. It’s just like the WIREs-WRAO Report from 1998. The WRAO report rejected 20+ “alternatives” for the be-all and end-all of transmission, Alternative “3j,” the Arrowhead Transmission Project:

… and then slowly but surely they’ve been building each and every rejected “alternative” ever since. Here we go again, another transmission line that isn’t needed, but that will facilitate export.

We do NOT need another transmission line in southern Minnesota.

More transmission? CapX 2050? They’re NUTS!

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 19, 2019 @ 6:09 pm

First there was CapX 2020 transmission (following Arrowhead transmission, which was supposed to be the be-all and end-all of transmission)(and the SW MN 345kV line, precursor to CapX 2020. CapX transmission was based on a forecasted 2.49% increase in demand, which as we know, didn’t happen.

And there was the MISO 17 project MVP Portfolio:

Tomorrow, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission is making its decision regarding the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project, the southern part of MVP #5 above, and the LAST of the MVP projects to go through state administrative approval.

So today, this press release:

FINAL-CapX 2020 Press Release

And this in the STrib:

Minnesota utilities will study if the $2B CapX2020 grid improvements were enough

The study beginning in January will look at whether renewable energy goals and other factors will bolster need to build out more improvements on transmission grid. 

By Mike Hughlett Star Tribune AUGUST 19, 2019 — 3:05PM

Photo: DAVID JOLESA utility worker assesses electrical power lines in south Minneapolis.

Minnesota’s largest power companies and several other Upper Midwest utilities will study how their transmission network must be bolstered to meet increasingly aggressive renewable energy goals.

The study is being launched at a time when space on the region’s Midwest’s grid is already tight — even after a $2 billion transmission expansion that was completed just a couple of years ago.

That project, called CapX2020, was the work of Xcel Energy, Great River Energy, Minnesota Power, Otter Tail Power and seven other electricity providers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. CapX2020 took over seven years to complete and included 800 miles of new high-voltage lines.

Ten of the 11 utilities involved in the earlier project Monday announced the “CapX2050” study, which they are aiming to complete in January. The study “will look at maintaining a safe, reliable and cost-effective electric grid as the system adds more carbon-free energy,” the utilities said in a statement.

CapX2020 was the largest transmission project in the Upper Midwest since the 1970s, and it was aimed partly at freeing up power line capacity for burgeoning renewable energy production.

The U.S. electrical grid was built to serve large centralized power plants, but wind and solar farms are more dispersed, often requiring transmission build outs. Xcel has stated plans to produce 100% carbon-free power by 2050, while other utilities also are planning for significantly more renewables.

Also, Minnesota’s DFL Party has strongly backed raising Minnesota’s overall carbon-free energy goal to 100% by 2050.

The CapX2020 project isn’t enough to meet those long-term needs and the grid is essentially “at capacity,” an energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists told the Star Tribune last year.

Xcel’s latest long-term resource plan, filed this spring, came to a similar conclusion. “Many of these (CapX2020) lines planned in the early 2000s and completed over the recent past are already fully-or-nearly-fully subscribed,” the plan said.

So that said, here’s Xcel Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan’s Appendix on transmission:

The schedule for IRP hearings was just released, it’s in October, so there’s time to make time for it:

We know Xcel Energy gets a “handsome” rate of return for transmission capital expenditures (hence “CapX transmission), so of course they want to build more.

How about shutting down some of those coal plants, and freeing up some capacity? How about siting solar on every rooftop, over every parking lot, putting the generation at load so we don’t need transmission? Oh, but wait, that makes too much sense, especially where a utility wants to keep control of the generation, and the expenditures, and rake in the dough.

Time to pay attention to the IRP. URP!

Transmission Costs

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on July 6, 2019 @ 9:24 am

I’ve been noticing that in the transmission applications for… at least a decade now… that they don’t provide the costs estimates as they did previously. For example, for the Arrowhead Project, there was a detailed estimate of everything down to the cost of the structures, the wires, salvage value of removed lines, land cost, etc., and now, it’s just one number, plus contingency (at a much higher percentage that earlier) and AFUDC. They say they use MISO cost numbers, but don’t provide that info.

Well, lookie what I found:

Soooooo…. back to looking up info on claim that this Dodge County Wind 345kV is part of the “regional grid.”

Haven’t seen anything in this area since the utility pipedream of WRAO, most of which is already built.

See that red dotted line running east along I-90?  Split Rock (S. Falls) to Lakefield Junction was the 01-1958 “SW 345kV lines” way back when.

It’s my belief that ITC’s MVP lines 3 and 4 connecting from Lakefield Jct., and heading into the northern part of Iowa was the rest of the “I-90” line, but perhaps not? Time will tell… as will the MTEP!

Quacks like a conflict…

Filed under:Cardinal-Hickory,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,RUS EIS — posted by admin on December 12, 2018 @ 11:20 am

Looks like a conflict, quacks like a conflict, but maybe it’s just a duck?  A duck following the money?

ELPC in the news:

“It doesn’t fully do what’s required … which is to rigorously explore and objectively evaluate all reasonable alternatives,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. “It assumes that a huge and expensive interstate transmission line must be built and doesn’t fully and fairly evaluate all reasonable alternatives.”

Here’s the full article:

Power line opponents pan draft review of Dubuque-Middleton transmission project

Here are links to the USDA RUS EIS:

RUS EIS for Cardinal-Hickory Creek released!

Let’s think about this… it’s hard to wrap my head around… Howard Learner opposing a transmission project?  After all the dough Environmental Law and Policy Center got to promote transmission?  Remember the transmission love fest held by ELPC where transmission opponents were not allowed to attend??

Here’s the press release from the ELPC site:

New Environmental Study of Proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line Improperly Rejects Alternatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Chuck Tenneson, charles@driftlessconservancy.org, 608-930-3252

Sarah Eddy, seddy@elpc.org, 312-795-3710

DODGEVILLE, Wis., Dec. 10, 2018 – The draft environmental impact statement (EIS) released recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for the proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line includes only a cursory review of non-transmission alternatives to the high-voltage line such as greater energy efficiency, local renewables, and energy storage, despite requirements in federal law that alternatives be considered thoroughly. The draft EIS admits that non-transmission alternatives, along with lower-voltage and underground alternatives, were “not carried forward for detailed analysis.”

The proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line in southwest Wisconsin would cut a swath through the state’s scenic and ecologically unique Driftless Area. The cost of the project would be borne by electric ratepayers in Wisconsin and other states and energy experts have concluded that the new transmission line is not needed due to flattened demand for electricity in Wisconsin and recent advances in energy technology.

The costs and environmental damage that would be created by the transmission line has sparked opposition and legal challenges from local grassroots citizens and conservation groups. Wisconsin’s Dane and Iowa Counties voted to oppose the transmission line and have intervened in the Public Service Commission proceedings to fight the project.

“We wouldn’t think of putting a power line across the Grand Canyon, so why would we think of putting one through one of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in the Upper Midwest?” Said Dave Clutter, executive director of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy. “We have a national treasure in the Driftless Area, and we should treat it like one.”

“RUS is required by federal law to ‘rigorously explore and objectively evaluate all reasonable alternatives’ to proposed transmission lines like the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project,” said Howard Learner, one of the Environmental Law and Policy Center attorneys representing DALC. “RUS cannot simply look at different environmentally harmful routes for this huge transmission line and call it a day.”

“Iowa County residents have come together to adamantly oppose this unneeded high-voltage power line, which would irreversibly damage the landscape, ecology, and recreation economy we depend on,” said Betsy D’Angelo, a member of the Driftless Defenders’ leadership team. “There are alternatives that can improve our electric system without damaging the Driftless Area’s most important natural areas.”

“The draft environmental impact statement for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project ignores the reality of new technology that has improved energy efficiency and decreased the demand for electricity,” said David Meylor, chairman of the Western Dane Preservation Campaign, the Mount Horeb area citizens group formed to oppose the line. “Recent analyses of electric demand demonstrate that the expensive, invasive Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line project simply isn’t needed.”

“The proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission line will have a significant negative impact on fish and wildlife habitat and the management of public lands in Southwestern Wisconsin and in light of other energy alternatives should not be constructed,” stated George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

The proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line would install towers of up to 175-feet along a 100-mile route that would affect sensitive natural areas and disrupt economic activity. The project could cost ratepayers more than $1 billion during the life of the project, including a profit margin for the transmission line’s utility owners that is guaranteed by Wisconsin law.

Legal counsel for the Driftless Area Land Conservancy will be reviewing the RUS’s draft EIS in greater detail and will submit comprehensive public comments to the agency. Members of the public are strongly encouraged to submit comments before the deadline of Feb. 5, 2019.

###

Issued by:

Driftless Area Land Conservancy

Driftless Defenders

Environmental Law and Policy Center

Western Dane County Preservation Campaign

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

RUS EIS for Cardinal-Hickory Creek released!

Filed under:Cardinal-Hickory — posted by admin on December 3, 2018 @ 5:29 pm

It’s out, the USDA’s RUS EIS for Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project:

Draft Environmental Impact Statement – November 2018

From the RUS Notice, how to send in comments and list of public meetings:

RUS page for Environmental Review for Cardinal – Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project – Iowa & Wisconsin

 

Cardinal-Hickory Creek slogs on

Filed under:Cardinal-Hickory,FERC,RUS EIS — posted by admin on November 17, 2018 @ 1:19 pm

Cardinal-Hickory Creek is the $492-543 million southern part of MPV5, running SW-NE, the line from near Dubuque to Middleton, near Madison, connecting into the 345kV overlay.  The Wisconsin EIS scoping period is happening now.  Scoping is the determination of the “scope” of the EIS and your comments on what should be included can, indeed, influence the scope.

Public “open house” style sessions were held in Dodgeville on November 8,  in Middleton November 12, and in Lancaster on November 14, 2018.  Now, they way to get comments in is to send them to the PSC.

EIS SCOPING COMMENTS ARE DUE JANUARY 4, 2019.

Meanwhile, the USDA’s RUS is working on an EIS, these two are separate… WHY?  That RUS EIS is due to be released December 7 or 14, 2018, though that could change.  For more info:

USDA-RUS Cardinal-Hickory Creek page

Has it occurred to USDA’s RUS that a massive transmission build-out hurts agriculture?  Has it occurred to USDA’s RUS that massive transmission build-out provides incentive and subsidizes generation projects that hurt agriculture?

Here are the PSC’s comment comments:

Note this caveat, where the PSC limits information it will be confronted with:

A comment may consist of the writer’s personal knowledge or personal opinions only. A reference document, newspaper article, professional journal article, white paper, study or any other prepared material not written by the person commenting is not considered a public comment, but may be referenced in a person’s comment.

That policy has been, and remains, infuriating.

To send comments, in order of my biased preference:

  • EIS Coordinator, Cindy Burtley: cindy.burtley@wisconsin.gov
  • Go to PSC site, psc.wi.gov, then click “e-Services” at top, then on left click on “File a Comment” and scroll down to “Cardinal-Hickory Creek” (they’re in alpha order). Another way on PSC home page is to scroll down and click “Comment” on left side of home page.  Either way takes to here, so just click here:  http://apps.psc.wi.gov/vs2015/ERF/comment/filecomment.aspx?util=5&case=CE&num=146

EIS SCOPING COMMENTS ARE DUE JANUARY 4, 2019.

Get it done, write up your comments.

I’m particularly concerned about this high voltage build-out, because the grid is already overbuilt.  This line, together with the others, increases reliance on central station power, and once built, provides a disincentive for distributed and dispersed power.  It’s not needed, it’s wanted. Why? Because utilities make a lot more money through FERC approved return on capital investments for infrastructure than they do selling electricity.  DOH!  Who benefits, who pays?  They benefit, we pay. Thanks, thanks a lot!

My comments from December 2016 to RUS:

 

ITC’s MVP 3 Line is energized

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,News coverage — posted by admin on November 2, 2018 @ 10:32 am

The MPV3 line they’re referring to below is the red line above. The MVP projects were, at the time, estimated to cost $5.24 BILLION, to be divided between states.  This MVP project was one where NoCapX was a limited intervenor, and one where the Dept. of Commerce inexplicably did a 180 in its testimony, from saying “no need” to claiming need.  Yeah, right… And then there’s the matter of testimony under oath — the ALJ refused. WHAT?!?!  No excuse for that, it’s a part of the ALJ’s job.  Minn. R. 1400.5500(F).  Here’s a contemporaneous rehash of that mess:

ITC Midwest transmission hearing OVER!!??!!

And today, an announcement that Line 3 has been energized.  It’s in the Albert Lea Tribune, note the byline “By Submitted.”  That means that ITC sent them a press release, right?  This isn’t news, it’s an unpaid advertisement.

ITC Midwest energizes new electric transmission line in southern Minnesota

MISO bars access to planning meetings

From the public meeting materials, here’s what they’re looking at, above.  These are significant additions to the transmission grid in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Look at the number of double circuits they want to add, and look at the new transmission planned for Minnesota and WIsconsin.  And note how, as with CapX 2020, it’s starting in the coal fields of the Dakotas.

MISO’s Economic Planning Users Group is planning a “Regional Transmission Overlay Study” and they’re having another meeting tomorrow, May 25, 2017 down in Metatairie, Louisiana.

Here’s the call in info:

WebEx Information
Event Number: 966 575 350
WebEx Password: Ts824634

Participant Dial-In Number: 1-800-689-9374
Participant Code: 823713

Meeting Materials from the MISO site:

Here’s the problem — they close the meeting, and people like me aren’t allowed to attend.  First I was told, back in January when I tried to register:

Thank you for registering for the Economic Planning Users Group (EPUG) on Jan 31.  The afternoon portion of this meeting will be held in CLOSED session and reserved from MISO Members or Market Participants only.  Please feel free to attend the morning session from 11:00 am to 12:45 pm ET / 10:00 am to 11:45 CT.

I filled out their “CEII – Non-Disclosure Agreement” form and fired it off.  But noooooo…

So next I went to the PUC’s Quarterly MISO update, where I was assured that we could make arrangements so that I could attend.  I resent the “CEII – Non-Disclosure Agreement” and went back and forth and it came to this (click for larger version).  Note this “explanation” of options to be able to attend:

The reason that you were not permitted to attend the closed session is because the meeting involved discussion of Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) and CEII access requests by Non-Member Individuals requires FERC clearance.  Another access option is to be included on Appendix A of a MISO member or Market Participant.

So that says there are two ways to gain access, 1) get “FERC clearance” or 2) “Another access option is to be included on Appendix A of a MISO member or Market Participant.”  One or the other. Emphasis added.  Here’s the email (click for larger version) laying out those two options:

Oh, I says to myself, off to FERC.  I sent in the requisite paperwork to FERC, and got “FERC clearance” and they shipped me the CEII information, including but not limited to the map.  I let MISO know I’d obtained “FERC clearance,” and here’s the response (click for larger version):

ARRRRGH, they have my CEII NDA on file, have had it since January 23, 2017.  I resent it to the writer of these emails on March 4, 2017, and I sent it again today, and objected to yet another change in their “rules” (click for larger version):

So the plot thickens — from MISO (click or larger version):

And from moi (click for larger version):

Xmsn Overlay coming soon to a backyard near you!

It’s early, so now’s the time to get agitated, get activated!

As if CapX 2020 wasn’t enough, and during the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need proceeding, word of the “JCSP” overlay came out.  And we know that Xcel, in its e21 Initiative, is whining about the grid only being 55% utilized (DOH! Because CapX and other transmission expansion wasn’t needed, was built, and now they’re trying to make us pay for it!).

And as if Obama’s RRTT wasn’t enough, now there’s this, check out Executive Order 13766:

Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects

And so now the rest of the story — here’s what they’re planning:

Here’s the list, in a spreadsheet:

20170131 EPUG Preliminary Overlay Ideas List

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has scheduled the MISO Utilities Quarterly Update Meeting for the Second Quarter of 2017 for Friday, March 3, 2017 from 10:00 AM to Noon in the Commission’s Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101.

MISO Q letter 03-10-2014.bh.-1

Note this part, to be discussed at this meeting:

Laying the ground work now for this, a huge build-out that isn’t needed, an overlay on top of transmission that wasn’t needed either.  NO!


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace