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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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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!

LTE in Dodgeville Chronicle

Filed under:Cardinal-Hickory,ITC MN & IA 345 kV,News coverage,RUS EIS,Wisconsin — posted by admin on December 8, 2016 @ 8:12 am

mvp345

See the lower 1/2 of MISO’s MVP project 5, running from near Dubuque, IA to the northeast to the “Cardinal” substation near Madison?  That’s the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission line.

The Dodgeville Chronicle ran my Letter to the Editor, just in time for the meeting last night, held by Rural Utilities Service, about the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission project:

From 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7th, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is hosting a scoping meeting at the Deer Valley Lodge in Barneveld. RUS will again collect scoping comments for its Environmental Impact Study as it decides on a loan to Dairyland Power Cooperative for a share of project costs. RUS held scoping meetings October 31-November 3, 2016 – why more scoping meetings now?

The Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project stretches from a substation near Peosta, across the Mississippi River and Wisconsin, near Dodgeville, to a substation near Madison. Last April, as reported in this paper, American Transmission Company’s Jon Callaway reported that the project schedule had been pushed out to 2018 or beyond. The reasons weren’t clear, and should be specified and made part of the RUS record.

Cardinal-Hickory Creek and the under-construction Badger-Coulee transmission lines are MISO’s (Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.) MVP project “five” revealed five years ago in MISO’s MTEEP 11 report. That was 2011, and it was “postponed” in 2016. Why the delay? MISO’s 12.38% rate of return for construction has been successfully challenged in federal court. There’s a glut of electricity where even marketing electricity cross country is not alleviating the industry’s overproduction. MISO’s MVP economic modeling no longer hold under current scenarios. And maybe the delay is that and more!

Now’s the time to tell RUS to consider the economics, need and causes of delay in its financing decision. If delay is right for the project developers, RUS should also delay, and put financing on hold.

Carol A. Overland, Esq.
Red Wing, MN

RUS’ Cardinal-Hickory Creek meetings

Filed under:Cardinal-Hickory,Laws & Rules,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,RUS EIS,Upcoming Events,Wisconsin — posted by admin on December 7, 2016 @ 7:16 am

20161206_1655071

Slow evening at Rural Utilities Service’s (RUS) scoping meeting for the Environmental Impact Statement for the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission project.  RUS is involved because Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC) plans to hold a 9% undivided interest in the project, and are looking to RUS to provide the funding.  RUS held two more meetings, following on prior meetings October 31 and November 1 & 2, because their notice for those meetings went out a day late, so another Notice went out:

Notice of Intent To Hold Public Meetings and Prepare Environmental Impact Statement (October 18, 2016

Second Notice_2016-27988-2

Where’s my prior post on these meetings?  It’s gone! Here’s the dates and locations (click for larger version) — the last one is tomorrow in Barneveld, Wisconsin:

noice12-6-7-2016

So to make quick work of it, this is cut and pasted from the RUS Cardinal Hickory Creek page:

I had a quick chat with Dennis Rankin who’s in charge of the environmental review on this and the Dairyland Q-1 South projects, and had a few quick things to register, particularly that ATC has announced that the project is delayed:

ATC postpones Cardinal-Hickory Creek project – The Dodgeville Chronicle -Dodgeville, WI

I had this article and a few comments to add tonight, and will file more detailed comments before the deadline — now January 6, 2017.

Overland-Legalectric Preliminary Comments Cardinal-Hickory Creek(don’t worry, I’ll get this looking pretty by the deadline!)

20161206_1654551

On the way in, there was new transmission marching across the countryside, so ugly:

xmsn-mvp

And look how close to this house in New Vienna, right up near the garage, and not far from the house either — this line cut right through the middle of town:

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20161206_1551041

newvienna1

But all in all, it was a beautiful day for a drive today!

20161206_1543442

NOTICE – Annual Hearing – Power Plant Siting Act

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on December 5, 2016 @ 9:44 am

mickeymouse

Here we go again, the Annual Hearing for the Power Plant Siting Act.

ppsa-2016

The full Notice:

16-0433 Notice of the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing

Now’s the time to dig back into the cobwebs of memory of all the dockets over the last year, and the last 20+ years, and let them know how the Power Plant Siting Act is working, and more importantly, how it’s not working.

Comments are open until January 20, 2017.  To file in eDockets (highly recommended), go here, and log in.  If you don’t have an account, register (it’s simple, and fast) and then file in docket 16-18.

Note something different, this year they’re going to go over pipeline projects:

iiid2Recently, I’ve been involved in a project working toward increased meaningful and effective public participation in a pipeline docket, and what’s going through my head as I attend meetings, conference calls, and read very long intense emails, is that this is exactly what we’ve been talking about at these Power Plant Siting Act hearings for TWENTY YEARS!  This is exactly what we’ve been working to deal with in the Certificate of Need Minn. Ch. 7849 rulemaking for THREE YEARS!  These are exactly the same issues I’ve been raising in docket after docket, gaining a remand in one, some “adjustments” in others, and even to the appellate court a couple of times — MCEA had more success in this (see the EIS decision here).  And so little changes.

OK, folks, time to saddle up for another cattle drive!  Let’s get to it!

And on December 20th again… sigh…
 

CapX impermissibly affecting rail communication

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,RUS EIS,Wisconsin — posted by admin on November 5, 2016 @ 10:11 am

With all these highly volatile oil tankers whizzing by, we need secure rail communication networks.  But what did we just learn?  CapX 2020 transmission is affecting rail communication, along Hwy. 35 in Wisconsin, and that’s not OK.  “…the combination of those lines with another nearby 69-kilovolt line likely triggered the interference.”  Really?  Combination?  Not addition of a big honkin’ 345 kV line?

CapX 2020 transmission owners are now fixing it, which involves what?  And why was that info so long in coming, where BNSF has already spent over $1 million to fix CapX 2020’s interference problem?  Shouldn’t that be on CapX owners?

CapX transmission lines interfering with railroad signals in Buffalo County

Owners of the recently completed CapX2020 transmission line are making modifications to a nine-mile stretch in Buffalo County where a combination of high-voltage power lines is interfering with signals on nearby railroad tracks.

The problem is expected to generate several million dollars in additional expenses for the transmission line and BNSF Railway.

BNSF crews discovered the problem in May, shortly after the completion of a second transmission line that’s part of the $500 million project to link the Twin Cities, Rochester and La Crosse. CapX reported it this week to Wisconsin utility regulators.

“We knew this was a risk,” said project manager Grant Stevenson. “It’s not that the line is not operating as expected.”

The 345-kilovolt line runs from Alma to Holmen, hugging the railroad corridor for about nine miles, where a 161-kilovolt Dairyland Power line shares the same towers. Stevenson said the combination of those lines with another nearby 69-kilovolt line likely triggered the interference.

The systems are regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration and are set up to go into safe mode if a problem arises — for example, closing gates even if no train is approaching.

“That’s by design,” said David Peterson, who teaches railroad engineering and operation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Everything is on stop or red.”

BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth said the fail-safe design worked as intended.

The railroad initially deployed flaggers in the field and installed insulated joints and another signal to mitigate the intermittent interference. McBeth said BNSF has spent about $1 million on those short-term solutions.

Xcel Energy, the lead partner of the 11 utilities that built the transmission line, is expected to begin work this month on a more permanent solution that is expected to cost roughly $2 million.

Over the winter, crews will install an aluminum wire below the conductor that is intended to reduce interference. A second copper wire will be buried in the railroad right-of-way next spring.

Stevenson said there are 27 landowners near Cochrane, Wis., who will be affected by the construction, though he said it will be on a much smaller scale than during construction of the 345-kilovolt line.

Even with the additional costs, Xcel says the 48.6-mile Wisconsin segment of the project is below the $183.3 million price tag approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. The costs are shared by electricity customers in 15 Midwestern states and one Canadian province.

The entire 156-mile Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project was energized in September. It was the fourth line in what is now a $1.85 billion project to connect wind-rich areas of western Minnesota and the Dakotas to population centers where that electricity is needed.

Badger-Coulee Circuit Ct. Oral Arguments Monday!

Filed under:Appeal,Wisconsin — posted by admin on October 4, 2016 @ 7:57 am

map

The Town of Holland has challenged the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s Badger-Coulee transmission project decision, where they issued a Final Order 05-ce-142 and permit for this transmission line.

1:45 p.m. on Monday, October 10, 2016

Town of Holland — Circuit Court Hearing

La Crosse Circuit Court

Branch 3 –  Courthouse & Law Enforcement Center

333 Vine Street

La Crosse, WI

Here are the Town of Holland’s Briefs and PSC and utility responses:

Holland Initial Brief June 20, 2016  Court File: 15-cv-219

PSC Brief in Opposition to Petition for Judicial Review   August 11, 2016

Intervenors Response Brief   August 15, 2016

Holland Reply Brief   September 21, 2016

Interveners Motion to Strike Brief  September 29, 2016

Holland’s Response to Intervenor to Respondent’s Motion to Strike   October 3, 2016

MISO Brief  October 3, 2016

Lots to read to be able to make informed comments… so let’s get to it!

CapX 2020 — It’s over, it’s done, all but the cost recovery

20140512_161838_resized

CapX 2020 at Highway 61 south of Wabasha

Monday, they had their CapX 2020 Love Fest at the Hampton substation, and I didn’t even get an engraved invitation.  It’s a depressing point in time — 12 years on this project — and they got all they wanted, in some places not where they wanted it, but it’s up, and so many people affected.  Having it routed somewhere, anywhere, is what they cared about, and supposedly it’s now “in-service,” though I wonder.  Is it time to have a big bonfire of all the boxes of files?

This was about the Minnesota portions, but South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin is permitted as well, the superhighway from the coal fields of the Dakotas to Madison and beyond.  Yeah, I could have camped out and crashed the party, but I had another commitment, so couldn’t spend the day hanging out waiting, watching.  Maybe I should have…

capx_hrl_energized_20160926_113428-medLeft-to-right: Mark Kotschevar, Rochester Public Utilities; Dave Geschwind, Southern MN Municipal Power Agency; Teresa Mogensen, Xcel Energy; Chris Kunkle, Wind on the Wires; Ben Porath, Dairyland Power Cooperative; Priti Patel, MISO; Tim Noeldner, WPPI Energy. From CapX Press Release

How much was “Wind on the Wires” (f/k/a Izaak Walton League) (and many other orgs?) paid for their promotion of transmission?

In the press:

STrib (is it really $2.1 billion?  Any recent reports?):

Last Minnesota leg of $2.1 billion electricity mega-project done

From WKBT (video here):

CapX2020 transmission line completed

And Wisconsin Public Radio:

Collaborative Utility Project Connects Electric Transmission From South Dakota To Wisconsin

Rochester Post-Bulletin:

Drone patrols the power line

It’s up and running — get out those gauss meters and check it out.

20140512_161913_1_resized

CapX 2020 at Hwy. 61 looking towards the Mississippi

CapX 2020 files going into recycling & dumpster…

Filed under:Cost Recovery,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Nuts & Bolts,Reports - Documents,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on September 18, 2016 @ 3:08 pm

rocktenn

The CapX 2020 project has been a part of my life for over 12 years… and now it’s mostly up and running.  So I’ve spent the day digging through the dusty files.  What a mess.  Boxes and boxes and boxes.

Image result for CapX 2020

That’s a map from 2007 or so with coal plants ID’d from the MISO queue, some up and running, many not (good!).  The north/south line along the MN and ND/SD border is missing.  The North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin legs are all permitted too, much constructed.  Well played, Xcel.

During the Certificate of Need proceeding, we were not able to address the bulk power transfer aspect of this, because after all, “it terminates in Wisconsin.”

terminatelax

Meanwhile, Xcel Energy’s rate case based on its e21 Initiative whines that the grid is only 55% utilized!

55

You’re not going to be efficient if you’re reliant on massive transmission lines, DOH!  Oh well, we knew all this, and yet here we are, billions of dollars of “wires in the air” and the bills just now arriving.  Xcel argued that No CapX 2020 should be excluded:

miso-mvp

But CapX 2020’s Minnesota Brookings – Hampton transmission line is part of MISO’s MVP 17 project portfolio!  DOH!  And the judge apparently missed that Xcel brought up both CapX 2020 cost recovery and MISO MVP cost recovery in their direct testimony!

Oh, but it doesn’t end there…

No CapX 2020 was not allowed to intervene in the rate case and address transmission recovery, after all, the permits have been granted, so WHY DOES NO CAPX EVEN EXIST?!?!?  So said the judge:

objection1

Oh well…

Remember their shindig on Tuesday:

September 26, 2016

Time?  They’re not telling…

Hampton Substation

Highway 52 and 215th Street (N. of Hwy. 50)

 

September 26 — Mark Your Calendars!!

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,News coverage,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on September 16, 2016 @ 11:50 am

hamptonsubstation

CapX 2020/Xcel Energy is holding a PR shindig, firing up the Hampton – La Crosse leg of its transmission build-out.  Their scheme, their scam, is nothing to celebrate.  But yes, there’s an event coming up… and it should be appropriately observed… where did I put that “No CapX 2020” banner?

September 26, 2016

Time?  They’re not telling…

Hampton Substation

Highway 52 and 215th Street (N. of Hwy. 50)

This project has been 12 years of my life… first got wind of it in 2004 at a MAPP NM-SPG meeting, though really, it was apparent with the release of the WIREs-WRAO Report from 1998.  That was 18 years ago.  Transmission is not rocket science!  As we say, “It’s all connected!”  Oh, but wait… for the purposes of the Minnesota Certificate of Need proceeding, we couldn’t connected all the dots, and the CapX folks insisted that it only went to La Crosse!!!  Oh, please…

terminatelax

Anyway, the planed shindig was reported in the Rochester Post Bulletin:

Nice try, Tim. My identity is a more closely guarded secret than Colonel Sanders’ recipe. But if you’d like to send me a piece of cake, I can’t stop you.

Have messages in to both Tim Carlsbad and Grant Stevenson, but the timing is top secret, no invitation is forthcoming, so I guess I’ll just have to crash.  Tom Hillstrom quit, went to Met Council, and is now back with Xcel as contractor, is he in on this?  Better check with “Hilly” too!

Where’s the Hampton substation?  As you approach from the south on Hwy. 52, north of Hwy. 50, there’s this ugly Corten steel “Gateway to the Metro” of transmission towers, with the Hampton on the west side, at 215th Street — can’t miss it:

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace