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!

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?!?!

 

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

PSC Issues Notice of Hearing for Badger Coulee

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Laws & Rules,Upcoming Events,Wisconsin — posted by admin on November 1, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

The PSC has issued the Notice of Hearing for the Badger Coulee transmission project.  Dates, times, locations below.  Because there’s something even more important — look at the restrictions for those who want to comment:

CommentRestrictionsThere’s nothing in the docket of anyone, objecting to this.  WAKE UP!!!  Parties representing “the public” better stand up!

Here’s even more limitations, setting out the ways people can comment, and that a person may make only ONE comment:

PublicComments

And this too:

CommentRejection

Now ain’t that encouraging?  Doesn’t that make you want to run right out and comment?

But remember, there is the option of writing a “Non-Party Brief” as described in the Prehearing Memorandum — see p. 9:

Prehearing Memorandum_Scheduling

Non-partyBrief

Here’s the ALJ’s acknowledgement of that option, and how to do it, from the Prehearing Conference back in August (FYI, it’s Motion for Leave to file a non-party brief, not “relief”):

NonPartyBrief_Transcript

Here’s the Public Hearing schedule — you’ve got a month to get ready:

HearingSchedule

When you make your public comment, be sure to let Judge Newmark know what you think of all these restrictions.

Xcel Energy demand down, down, down!

Filed under:Laws & Rules,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,PUC Docket,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on September 28, 2014 @ 9:21 am

arrowdown

I’ve been saying this for so many years, that electric demand is down, down, down, and instead, Xcel Energy (and all the others) have been saying it’s going UP, UP, UP (even though Mikey Bull said years ago that they wouldn’t need power for a while), and they’re applying for and getting Certificates of Need for all these permits for utility infrastructure that are obviously designed to market and sell the surplus, and the Public Utilities pretends to be oblivious (I say “pretends” because I cannot believe they’re that unaware and uninformed.).

This is a must read:

Xcel Compliance Filing_CN-13-606_20149-103251-02

Here’s the short version from Xcel:

XcelPeak

2024 is expected to be about what it was back in 2007, the industry peak year.  DOH!  But note this — there’s a “small capacity surplus in 2016.”  DOH!

 

And given the surplus which we’ve known has been present and looming larger, that’s why they then ask for withdrawal of the Certificate of Need for the Prairie Island uprate because it isn’t needed (and really, that was just what, 80 MW or so?  Or 80 MW x 2 reactors, 160 MW?).  If they don’t need that small uprate, why on earth would they need so much more?

DOH!

But what do I know…

Hollydale Transmission Line was clearly not needed, and they withdrew that application…

CapX 2020 transmission was based on a 2.49% annual increase in demand, and for Hampton-La Crosse in part supposedly based on Rochester and La Crosse demand numbers, yeah right, we know better, but that was their party line.  Again, DOH, it didn’t add up to needing a big honkin’ 345 kV transmission line stretching from the coal plants in the Dakotas to Madison and further east, but who cares, let’s just build it…

ITC MN/IA 345 kV line — the state said the 161 kV should be sufficient to address transmission deficiencies in the area, but noooooo, DOH, that wouldn’t address the “need” for bulk power transfer (the real desire for the line).

Here’s a bigger picture of the bottom line (I’m accepting this as a more accurate depiction, not necessarily the TRUTH, but close enough for electricity), keeping in mind that these are PROJECTIONS, and that they’re adding a “Coincident Peak adjustment” which should be included in the “peak” calculations):

Xcel Resource Need Assessment 2014

Notice the only slight reduction in coal capacity, just 19 MW, nuclear stays the same, a 320 MW decrease in gas, a 128 MW reduction in Wind, Hydro, Biomass, which I hope includes garbage burners and the Benson turkey shit plant , slight increase in solar of 18 MW, and Load Management also a slight increase of only 80 MW.  This is Xcel Energy with its business as usual plan, which has to go.  We can do it different, and now is the time.

Will someone explain why we paid so much to uprate Monticello, and paid to rebuild Sherco 3?

DOH!

From the archives:

500+ give LS Power a piece of their mind

October 20th, 2009

2012 NERC Long Term Reliability Assessment

May 7th, 2013

PJM Demand is DOWN!

November 15th, 2012

Tomorrow — last Rulemaking Advisory Committee Mtg.

Filed under:Laws & Rules — posted by admin on September 23, 2014 @ 3:17 pm

Tomorrow is the last PUC Rulemaking Advisory Committee meeting.

9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Public Utilities Commission

121 – 7th Place East, Lower Level Meeting Room

St. Paul, MN

For the docket, go to PUC’s “SEARCH DOCKETS” and search for 12-1246.

Here are the No CapX 2020 and United Citizen Action Network comments filed earlier today (whew, busy day today!)

7849_7850_Comments_NoCapX_UCAN

And the North Route Group:

North Route Group 9.24.14

And from Marie McNamara, Goodhue Wind Truth:

Sept 23 2014 Rule 7850 Comment_Marie McNamara

Also heard from, Deb Pile, Dept. of Commerce:

Pile comments on September 2014 draft of revision to Chapters 7849 and 7850

PUC CoN & Siting/Routing FINAL Rulemaking meeting

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Laws & Rules,Nuts & Bolts,PUC Docket — posted by admin on September 17, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

DraftIt’s final… that is, the FINAL meeting notice was just issued, one more go round on these draft rules for Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and Power Plant Siting Act (siting and routing of utility infrastructure) (Minn. R. Ch. 7850).

We’ve been at this for about a year and a half, maybe more, and to some extent we’re going round and round and round.

Here are the September 2014 drafts, hot off the press:

September Draft 7849

September Draft 7850

Send your comments, meaning SPECIFIC comments, not “THIS SUCKS” but comments on the order of “because of _______, proposed language for 7950.xxxx should be amended to say_______.”  It’s a bit of work, but it’s important, for instance, the Advisory Task Force parts are important because we were just before the PUC on this last week, trying to reinforce that Task Force’s are necessary, despite Commerce efforts to eliminate and/or neuter them.  That despite ALJ orders otherwise, the Final EIS should be in the record BEFORE the Public Hearings and Evidentiary Hearings (just lost a Motion to require this last month).

How can you comment?  The best way is to fire off an email to the Commission’s staff person leading this group:

kate.kahlert@state.mn.us

If you’re up to it, sign up on the PUC’s eDockets, and file your Comment in Docket 12-1246.  If you’d like your comment filed there, and can’t figure it out, please send it to me and I’ll file it for you.  It’s important that these comments be made in a way that the Commission will SEE, in a way that they cannot ignore, when this comes up before them.

PUC Rulemaking — send Comments on Drafts

Filed under:Buy the Farm,Laws & Rules,Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on September 1, 2014 @ 9:40 am

pilesofiles

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is winding up its rulemaking on the Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and Siting/Routing (Minn. R. Ch. 7850) chapters.  My clients Goodhue Wind Truth and North Route Group have been participating all along, and their experience with the Certificate of Need and Routing/Siting process has helped inform this record and we sure hope leads to more sensible and workable rules, AND increased public participation.

Now is the time to download and make your comments on what should be included, what’s included that’s important and needs to go forward, and what needs to be reworded.

August 13 Draft 7849

7850 July 8 draft

August 13 Ch. 7850 comparison

Send Comments to:

  • kate.kahlert@state.mn.us
  • and/or post to the Rulemaking Docket.  To do that go HERE to the eDocket Filing Page, register if you’re not registered (it’s easy and almost instant), and post to Docket 12-1246.

It’s highly likely that the LAST meeting of the PUC’s Rulemaking Advisory Committee will be the one on September 24, 2014 (9:30 a.m. at the PUC, in the basement).

A few things that need work:

  • Ch. 7849 & 7850: Need language mirroring statutory language regarding testimony by members of the public UNDER OATH (ALJs have refused to offer people opportunity to testify under oath, and PUC has stated that it makes a difference, “but were those statements made under oath” and if not, less weight.
  • Ch. 7849: Advisory Task Forces need language of statute, and membership not limited to “local units of government.”
  • Ch. 7849 & 7850: Transcripts available online — need to address this in rules and reporter contracts.
  • Ch. 7849: Scoping and Alternatives — compare with Ch. 7850.  Similar process?
  • Ch. 7849.1450: When is it Commerce EER & DER
  • Ch. 7849 & 7850 – timing should be similar for completeness review, etc.
  • Ch. 7850: Public Meeting separate from Scoping Meeting (Public Meeting is to disseminate information, Scoping Meeting is for intake).
  • Ch. 7850: Power Plant Siting Act includes “Buy the Farm.”  Need rules regarding Buy the Farm.

Now is the time to review the drafts, above, and send in Comments.  There may be, I hope there are, revisions released prior to the next meeting, but usually it happens just before, and there’s no time.  So here’s where we are now, and Comments would be helpful.

Latest version of PUC draft rules

Filed under:Laws & Rules,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on August 17, 2014 @ 7:58 am

We’re working on the revisions of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission rules for Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and for Routing/Siting (Minn. R. Ch. 7850), and it’s OH SO PAINFUL.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, August 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Commission’s Large Hearing Room in the Metro Square Building, located at 121 Seventh Place East, St. Paul, MN 55101. The PUC will provide refreshments.

FINAL MEETING – Wednesday September 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Here are the latest drafts.

August 13 Draft 7849

7850 July 8 draft

August 13 Ch. 7850 comparison

The next meeting is this Wednesday, so not much time for review and comment.  Comments can be sent to kate.kahlert [at] state.mn.us and/or posted in the PUC’s Rulemaking Docket, 12-1246.  To see what all has been filed in that docket, go to PUC SEARCH DOCKETS PAGE and search for 12-1246 (“12” is the year, “1246” is the docket number).

Judge denies Motion for FEIS Comment period

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Laws & Rules,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on July 24, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

DOH!

Hot off the press… Judge La Fave has denied CETF/No CapX 2020 Motion requesting comment period of at least 10 days after FEIS released for public to comment on adequacy.

Order Denying CETF and No CapX Motion for Extension of Period for Public Comment

WOW.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement in the ITC Midwest MN/IA 345 kV line docket was not released until after the public hearings, after the evidentiary hearing, and on same date Initial Briefs were due.  So we filed this motion:

CETF NoCapX_Motion FEIS_Amended

Here are the two Replies to the Motion:

ITC Reply to Motion_20145-99844-01

Commerce Reply to Motion_20145-99801-01

The Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) specifies that the “final detailed environmental impact statement… shall accompany the proposal through an administrative review process.”

Prior to the preparation of a final environmental impact statement, the governmental unit responsible for the statement shall consult with and request the comments of every governmental office which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental effect involved. Copies of the drafts of such statements and the comments and views of the appropriate offices shall be made available to the public. The final detailed environmental impact statement and the comments received thereon shall precede final decisions on the proposed action and shall accompany the proposal through an administrative review process.

Minn. Stat. §116D.04, Subd. 6a.

And FYI, here’s what the PUC’s draft 7850 rule has to say about this — the FEIS release timing has been an issue for a long time — and the PUC’s draft rule language anticipates that the final EIS will be filed PRIOR to the Public Hearing and Evidentiary hearing:

EIS Project Schedule

The schedule for adoption of these rules is way, way out there, and no help, but it gives insight/incite into the Commission take on timing of FEIS release!   That and $0.50 will get cha…


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace