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:

20161206_1550331

20161206_1551041

newvienna1

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

20161206_1543442

More Denial of Intervention in Xcel Rate Case

Filed under:Cost Recovery,FERC,Laws & Rules,Rate Case - Transmission — posted by admin on May 3, 2016 @ 11:35 am

gavel

WOW… can you believe??  It’s not just me, it’s not just denial of Intervention of No CapX 2020.   See 20162-118122-01_Denial2_Overland-NoCapX Intervention.  Intervention as a party in this Rate Case is only open to those who sold out to Xcel Energy and it’s “business plan” agenda of e21.

This is the most recent Order in the Xcel Energy Rate Case:

Order Denying Intervention – SunShare & ILSR

Here are their Intervention Petitions:

ILSR_Intervention_20164-120145-01

SunShare_Intervention_20164-120144-01

To see the full Rate Case docket, go to the PUC’s Search Documents page, and search for Docket 15-826.

And the Order… Dig this, parroting Xcel’s objections:

Order1

And this, even worse, as if the interests of the “Clean Energy Organizations” who bought into, stumped for, and sat quietly during the legislative hearings about Xcel Energy‘s e21 Initiative are the same as the interests of SunShare and Institute for Local Self-Reliance – ILSR:

Order2

This is SO offensive.  There is no consideration that the perspectives are different, only statements that the issues, the concerns, are the same.

The late, great Myer Shark, rate case Intervenor extraordinaire, would spin in his grave at the limitations of participation in this rate case.

Myer Shark, Lawyer Who Fought Utility, Is Dead at 94

In the Matter of the Complaint by Myer Shark, et al …

Scoping Mtg. TOMRROW – Rochester Gas Pipeline

Filed under:Laws & Rules,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on February 28, 2016 @ 8:13 pm

Map

Tomorrow it’s a meeting or two about a pipeline, but that’s not all… it’s about a gas plant at the beginning of this pipeline route!

First the pipeline — Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation is the applicant, and it’s PUC Docket 15-8858, a docket for a pipeline route on the west and southern edges of Rochester, Minnesota, starting at the “Westside” substation on the west side of town, along the big gas transmission pipeline that runs parallel with Hwy. 14.  From there it goes a section west, and then south and around to the east.

mtg

Meeting Presentation for tomorrow

And lo and behold, last week, Rochester Public Utilities announced its long planned natural gas generating plant for that same location as this pipeline starts, at 19th St. NW and 60th Ave. N. W.  This proposed plant was at issue during the CapX 2020 Transmission Certificate of Need docket, where RPU discussed building a natural gas plant in its RPU_34945_Report_June_2005.  Here’s the 2015_update_rpu_infrastructure_study.  During the CapX 2020 CoN hearing, that notion was pooh-poohed, but we knew better.  And voila, here it is!

First they brought it up at RPU Board meetings over the summer:

PUB- Resolution 4315 – Resolution: West Side Energy Station

Westside Energy Station Epc – Bids in Minnesota

And finally, last week, RPU made it’s plans to add new natural gas generation VERY public:

A New Generating Station for Rochester

Back in that CapX 2020 Certificate of Need proceeding (PUC Docket 06-1115) it was an issue because the “need” used to justify CapX 2020 transmission to Rochester was so very small that it could be met with this RPU planned natural gas plant.  Here’s what I wrote in the 2008 No CapX 2020 Initial Brief:

Most importantly, the need is overstated. In addition to modeling performed with all local generation off line, infrastructure planned was not considered. For example, in Rochester, there are FOUR 161kV lines planned that were not taken into consideration, and which could well serve Rochester’s needs. In addition, RPU, the Rochester utility, has planned for new generation at the West Side substation (Ex. 100, lower left corner), where two of those four lines will be connection to serve Rochester. Ex. 157, Report on the Electric Utility Baseline Strategy for 2005-2030 Electric Infrastructure, June 2005, Summary p. S-21-S-22. Specifically, this report recommends actions that have been taken by RPU, resulting in the Westside Substation and transmission from it to serve the city:

Consider taking options on approximately 100 acres of land within the RPU service territory near a high pressure gas line and transmission facilities under RPU control for installation of future combustion turbine capacity.

…Around 2014, assuming that new generation is required in accordance with the long range plan and that generation has not been installed in connection with the transmission issue, begin the process for installation of approximately 50-100MW of natural gas-fired generation for an inservice date of 2018. The generation should be low capital cost with as low an operating cost as is consistent with expected operating capacity factors.

Id.

Local load as a reason for CapX is not supported by the evidence. The need, even if assumed, can be met in other ways, and these small amounts, if assumed in its entirety, cannot justify a project of this size.

And here we are, deja vu all over again.  Guess we need to make sure that phased and connected actions are considered in this pipeline environmental review.

And another thing, this pipeline environmental review — the PUC, despite that Sandpiper case, ordered a “comparative environmental analysis.”

PUC_Order – February 3, 2016, PUC eDockets #20162-117966-01

Nope, that “environmental review lite” is NOT sufficient…

Xcel’s bogus demand forecast basis for CapX

arrowdownRemember Xcel’s CapX 2020 peak demand projections of 2.49% annual increase?  How wrong can they be?  And how unjustified was their basis for a Certificate of Need for CapX 2020?  And how are they held accountable for those gross misrepresentations?  But now it’s time to pay, and who will pay?  This is why the rate case in progress, PUC Docket 15-826, is so important.

On the other hand, I love it when this happens… Xcel Peak Demand is again DOWN!  There’s a trend, and it’s called decreased demand.  Demand has yet to exceed the 2007 peak, and now it’s 8 years…

XcelPeakDemand2000-2015

Here’s the Xcel Energy SEC 10-K filed a couple days ago:

2015 – Xcel Energy 10-K

Is it any wonder they want to get away from a cost based rate a la their “e21 Initiative” scheme?  Particularly now that the bill for CapX 2020 is coming due and their newest rate case (PUC Docket GR-15-826) is now underway?

And the specifics, and note how they inexplicably forecast a 2016 peak of 9,327, which is based on a “normal weather conditions” assumption:

2015-Xcel Peak Demand Chart

Encourage public participation? Yeah, right…

Filed under:FERC,Laws & Rules,Rate Case - Transmission — posted by admin on February 10, 2016 @ 12:01 pm

horsesassaward

I haven’t given out one of these in a long time, but here we go, the Horse’s Ass Award to Xcel Energy and Office of Administrative Hearings, based on the bias and double standards for participation and obstructions to intervention in the latest Xcel Energy rate case (PUC Docket GR-15-826).

Yes, Intervention in the rate case denied again:

20162-118122-01_Denial #2_Overland-NoCapX Intervention

And I quote:

Further, the Petition states that purposes for which No CapX 2020 was “specifically formed” (fn omitted) was to participate in dockets which are now closed, raising the question of why No CapX 2020 continues to exist.

aghast

H-E-L-L-O?!?!?!  This rate case docket is all about shifting the CapX 2020 and MISO MVP 17 project portfolio transmission costs from one scheme to another.   I specifically cited all the references to CapX 2020, MISO MVP, and transmission.

dohHere’s what has gone before…

Intervention Petition II

Xcel objection to second petition to intervene

Overland-NoCapX_Intervention Petition 2

Intervention Petition I

20161-117574-01_Order Denying Intervention Petition 1

No CapX 2020_Response to Xcel’s Objection

20161-116957-02_Xcel’s Objection to Intervention

NoCapX 2020 and Carol A. Overland_Intervention Petition Packet

And in a parallel track, note the double standard in pleading.

  • Note that Xcel has objected only to the Overland/No CapX 2020 intervention.
  • Note that Xcel has not objected to those who participated in the “e21 Initiative” which is the basis for this rate case “multi-year rate plan” and transmission shift.
  • Note how little the other “intervenors” say.
  • Note they do not state their interests.
  • Note they do not state how their interests are different from general ratepayers.
  • Note they do not state how their interests will not be represented by OAG and Commerce.

OAH has approved Interventions of “The Commercial Group,” “Suburban Rate Authority,” and “City of Mineapolis.”  I’m sure the approval of “Clean Energy Organizations” will soon follow, despite the lack of specific pleading and the apparent conflict with one “attorney” representing so many organizations that either have differing positions and interests, or which are adequately represented by other organizations and don’t need to intervene… funny how this double standard works…

Read the Petitions:

Petition to Intervene of the Commercial Group

Petition to Intervene of Suburban Rate Authority

Petition to Intervene 0f City of Minneapolis

Petition to Intervene 0f “Clean Energy Organizations”

Petition to Intervene of MN Chamber of Commerce

Check out each of these petitions.  Look at the pleading, what’s stated, and as importantly, what is NOT stated.  What are their interests?  How are the “interests” different than general ratepayers in their class?  How are their interests not represented by Office of Attorney General and/or MN Dept. of Commerce?

So what to do?  Participating in the public hearing is not sufficient, and if that’s the limited offering, well, there’s no Discovery for a public participant.  What’s next?  Fight for the privilege of an unfunded intervention, as if there’s nothing else to do?  The issues raised by Overland/No CapX 2020 will not be addressed otherwise.  And thos overt quashing of participation is not consistent with the “public” in “Public Utilities Commission” and the Commission’s mandate.

Meanwhile, FERC just denied the 2010 Petition for Intervention too in the case regarding the cost allocation for these CapX and MISO MVP projects, yes, that took them 5 1/2 years to do, so why now?  Check this out:

FERC Order – Docket ER09-1431 (p. 8)

Odd that should come up now… naaaah, not really.

booted-out

Huebsch should resign from WI PSC

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Laws & Rules,Wisconsin — posted by admin on December 18, 2015 @ 12:20 pm

MikeHuebsch

Well, we all knew that… but in the LaX Tribune:

Former cabinet members: Top Walker aide [Mike Huebsch, now on PSC] ordered them to avoid state email, phones.

And this guy now sits as one of three Commissioners on the Wisconsin Public Service Commission?

Mike Huebsch was appointed on March 1, 2015, and disclosed a potential conflict on March 6, 2015:

Huebsch – Conflict Routes O & P

Huebsch1

and…Huebsch2

… and of course…

Huebsch3

He didn’t recuse himself.

SHAME!  Mike Huebsch should be ejected from the Public Service Commission immediately.

Tuesday night in Onalaska

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Laws & Rules,Nuts & Bolts,Q-1 Upgrade,Wisconsin — posted by admin on December 17, 2015 @ 9:55 pm

20151215_185850[1]

AS you scroll down, keep in mind the tremendous job that the City of Onalaska did presenting their case in the Badger Coulee transmission docket (go HERE and search for docket 05-CE-142, and look for Onalaska filings).

Grace – Direct Testimony

Tuesday night, the Onalaska Plan Commission took up the revised Comprehensive Plan.

Onalaska Comprehensive Plan Final Draft – 12-07-2015

Here’s where you can check out the new Comprehensive Plan (search for “transmission” and you’ll find not much):

City of Onalaska 2015 Comprehensive Plan Page

The current Zoning map (click for larger version):

MAP_Current_Onalaska_Comp_Plan_Report_12-07-2015Future:

MAP_Future_Onalaska_Comp_Plan_Report_12-07-2015

Do you see any transmission lines on that map?  Any pipelines on that map?  The City doesn’t have a map of transmission lines, or pipelines, yet it’s a prominent feature of Onalaska, just drive up Hwy 35 or Hwy 53 and you’ll see what I mean.  The City Land Use & Development Director said in the meeting that they don’t have one, it would be very difficult to put together and that this info can be regarded as “proprietary.”  Not quite, it could be “CEII” information, but when you see it driving down the road, when you look at google and there it is, there’s no reason the City can’t draw a line on the map!

There’s a lot of transmission through Onalaska, lining both sides of the highways, in the middle of the city bottlenecked in-between the river and the bluffs (like Red Wing), and it runs right through the heart of the city.  Here’s ATC’s “map” of transmission:

Onalaska_xmsn

Here’s WI-PSC’s map:

PSC Xmsn Map As you can see, it’s not rocket science to put a map together of transmission through Onalaska and its potential expansion areas.

Dairyland is wanting to tear down its old line on the west side of Highways 53 and 35 and virtually double the height of the towers and the capacity.  That’s not updating or maintenance, that’s “tear down the old line and build a new one” construction.

NOW is the time, because there’s not yet a Dairyland application, and because Xcel’s line on the east side of Highways 35 and 53 is also old, they’re going to want to “upgrade” soon too.  The routing of transmission through Onalaska in light of Wisconsin’s adoption of its Electrical Code which prohibits construction under a line, means that new construction should be carefully reviewed.  And right now, rebuilding, tearing down and new construction of something much bigger, shouldn’t be allowed over and next to homes and businesses.  What to do?  It’s a narrow area with a lot of transmission!  But this is what “planning” is all about.  Looking into the future and figuring out what they want the City to look like, how they can address the extreme impacts of transmission, and if they can minimize or mitigate these impacts.  Here’s an example of it running through people’s back yards, stars indicate pole placement in people’s back yards, and the white/red lines are access roads through people’s back yards!

10th AveN

On behalf of No CapX 2020, I sent the Planning Commission and City Council these comments:

NoCapX2020 Comment_OnalaskaCompPlan

At Tuesday’s meeting, there were few commenters, and they quickly wrestled with the issues raised, and sent it back to the Committee for consideration of transmission issues and impacts.

THANK YOU, ONALASKA PLAN COMMISSION!

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

mailbox

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 cat@dairynet.com  (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 dennis.rankin@wdc.usda.gov    (202) 720-1953

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

Let us know, Chuck!

Book_Borchwriting

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

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.


next page


image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace