Xcel Rate Case in CapX territory

Filed under:PUC Docket,Rate Case - Transmission — posted by admin on July 20, 2016 @ 11:16 am


Next week, the Xcel Energy rate case public hearings are in St. Cloud and Red Wing, both in areas hard hit by CapX 2020.  Southern Minnesota was also hit with the ITC MN/IA project, which is the northern part of MVP 3, and the Badger-Coulee line from La Crosse to Madison was the northern part of MVP 5.  Xcel ratepayers will be hit with a portion of the full MISO MVP 17 project portfolio.

This rate case is driven by Xcel’s desire to recover costs of transmission, that is openly admitted by Xcel Energy, and transmission cost shifting is a part of Xcel’s request.  What about the MISO MVP portfolio and what we’re going to pay for that under the FERC approved MISO tariff?

For some odd reason (e21_Initiative “consensus”) the “environmental” and “policy” groups that work hard on turnout for hearings are absent… I guess abdicating on the rate case is part of the consensus, eh?  Very few people are turning out for these hearings.  And without a strong public outcry, what will happen?


Show up at the hearings!  To file written comments, eFile them in PUC docket 15-826 or….


And you should also know that two PUC Commissioners were fundamental in pulling that e21_Initiative and e21 “consensus” together, Matt Schuerger and Nancy Lange.  From Mike Bull, who reports on how it began:

So I reached out from Xcel to Rolf Nordstrom at the Great Plains Institute and Nancy Lange then at CEE (now a Minnesota PUC commissioner), to start putting the e21 project together. Rolf and I worked to put a strong core project team together – CEE, Great Plains, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, George Washington University Law School and consultant Matt Schuerger.

Time for Nancy Lange and Matt Schuerger to recuse… it’s overdue.

Again, this rate case is transmission driven.  At issue in this rate case are considerations of what costs will be foisted on ratepayers, i.e., should Minnesota ratepayers have to pay for transmission THROUGH Minnesota, to points elsewhere, should Xcel ratepayers pay for transmission THROUGH Xcel territory to other service areas, should Xcel ratepayers pay for transmission for market access, for market transactions, which is a private purpose not having anything to do with serving Xcel customers.  And Xcel is specifically asking that transmission cost recovery be shifted from current Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) and AFUDC.   Those of you affected by CapX 2020 know the price you’ve already paid, and this rate case is adding insult to injury.

CapX 2020 is specifically named in testimony in this docket, for example, in Ian R. Benson’s testimony, n p. 8, 14-15, 17, 23-30, 39, 55-60, and discussed thoroughly throughout:


And from the Application, these two snippets, and note that the Brookings and Fargo projects are key “Minnesota pass-through” transmission lines — and why these and not the Bemidji-Grand Rapids and/or the Hampton-La Crosse lines?



Here’s the gory details of Lange and Schuerger’s involvement (from e21_MikeBull_Center for Energy and Environment) — as noted above.  Schuerger was a conslutant on this, so his involvement is even more damning…

The e21 Initiative started as little more than a glimmer in my eye a couple of years ago, when I was a Manager of Policy and Strategy for Xcel Energy.  I’d just come back from a meeting at the Edison Electric Institute about the impact of various dynamics – low load growth, increasing infrastructure investments, deeper penetrations of distributed resources – on the current utility business model. In general, rates were going to rise under the current model far faster as a result of those forces, and utility revenues become more uncertain.

Those dynamics were later chronicled in the Disruptive Challenges report issued by the Edison Electric Institute in January 2013. I realized that it was important for Xcel to try and get out ahead of the curve.

So I reached out from Xcel to Rolf Nordstrom at the Great Plains Institute and Nancy Lange then at CEE (now a Minnesota PUC commissioner), to start putting the e21 project together. Rolf and I worked to put a strong core project team together – CEE, Great Plains, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, George Washington University Law School and consultant Matt Schuerger. We then compiled a terrific group of stakeholders who together represent much of what constitutes the public interest – low income customer advocates, small and large business representatives, utilities, environmental organization, cities and other public entities, and regulators. Beginning last February, this group of 25-30 stakeholders met monthly for day-long sessions that were wonderfully facilitated by Rolf and Jennifer Christenson, his colleague at GPI, toiling together deep in the weeds of utility regulation.

It was an honor to work with all of them, as we coalesced around the set of consensus recommendations detailed in the report.

And what about the limited interventions in this matter, regular intervenors being tossed out:

Order Denying Intervention_Sunshare & ILSR

Order Denying Intervention #1 – Overland & No CapX 2020

Order Denying Intervention #2 – Overland & NoCapX 2020

That second denial of Intervention is a little over the top!

Further, the Petition states that purposes for which No CapX 2020 was “specifically formed”22 was to participate in dockets which are now closed, raising the question of why No CapX 2020 continues to exist.

In the Certificate of Need CapX proceeding, we were repeatedly told that rate recovery for the transmission projects were only an issue for a rate case, and as above, in the rate case, CapX 2020 is specifically named in testimony in this docket, for example, in Ian R. Benson’s testimony, n p. 8, 14-15, 17, 23-30, 39, 55-60, and discussed thoroughly throughout:


… sigh… and I can’t find that any party has filed testimony regarding CapX 2020 and the MISO MVP 17 project portfolio other than Xcel!!!  But maybe that’s also a part of the e21 consensus, eh?

2nd Petition for Intervention in Xcel Rate Case

Filed under:Cost Recovery,PUC Docket,Rate Case - Transmission — posted by admin on January 24, 2016 @ 11:15 pm


Apparently Judge Oxley did not like the Overland and No CapX 2020 Petition for Intervention in the rate case, late Friday the Order came out.  It was denied, without prejudice.  And yet interventions for Commercial Group, Suburban Rate Authority, and City of Minneapolis were granted…

20161-117574-01_Order Denying Intervention

… sigh… OK… fine…

Just filed at 12:01 a.m. Monday, January 25, 2016:


These transmission issues being raised about CapX 2020 and the MISO MVP 17 Project Portfolio are so important that I’m going to be persistent.

Here’s the schedule, from the First Prehearing Order:


Annual Hearing for Power Plant Siting Act 12/1

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,PUC Docket,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on November 13, 2015 @ 8:50 am


I’m having a difficult time getting worked up about the PPSA Annual Hearing this year.  It’s the time we have to tell the Commission what does and does not work with the Power Plant Siting Act.  I’ve been at this for 20 years now, and it never ends, doesn’t change, so many of the same problems, over and over.  It is SO hard for people to participate and while it got better for a while, when people stood up and leveled the playing field, and with Gov. Ventura’s active outreach to the public, well, can’t have that happen, so then NSP’s big buck lobbyists changed the laws to their advantage (2001) and then bought off the funded intervenors and they rewrote the laws together (2003 & 2005) and now the head of one of those funded intervenors, the Waltons, is at Commerce in charge of utility permitting (CoN and Route/Siting) and another on the Commission.

Oh well, it’s that time again… Let’s all put this on our calendar and once more, with feeling, tell them what we really think!


Notice of the Power Plant Siting and Transmission Line Routing Program Annual Hearing

Issued: November 6, 2015

In the Matter of the 2015 Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Docket Number: E999/M-15-785

Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Docket Number: 60-2500-32901

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Location: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, Saint Paul, MN 55101

Bad weather? Find out if a meeting is canceled. Call (toll-free) 1-855-731-6208 or 651-201-2213 or visit mn.gov/puc

Hearing Description

The annual hearing is required by Minnesota Statute § 216E.07, which provides that:

Thecommission shall hold an annual public hearing at a time and place prescribed by rule in order to afford interested persons an opportunity to be heard regarding any matters relating to the siting of large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines. At the meeting, the commission shall advise the public of the permits issued by the commission in the past year….

Note – No decisions about specific projects are made at the annual hearing.

Public Hearing Information

  • Public hearings start on time.
  • Arrive a few minutes early so you have time to sign in, pick up materials, and find a seat.
  • Administrative Law Judge James LaFave will preside over the hearing.
  • Public Utilities Commission and Department of Commerce staff members are available to answer questions about the Power Plant Siting Act processes and the projects.
  • You may add verbal comments, written comments, or both into the record.
  • Learn more about participating at a public hearing at http://mn.gov/puc/resources/meetings-and-hearings.jsp
  • Judge LaFave will use information gathered at the public hearing and during the comment period to write a summary report for the Commission

Submit Comments

Topics for Public Comment:

  • Any matters related to the site permit process for large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines.

Comment Period: November 6, 2015 through January 5, 2016 at 4:30pm.

  • Comments must be received by 4:30pm on the close date
  • Comments received after comment period closes may not be considered

Online Visit mn.gov/puc, select Speak Up!, find this docket (15-785), and add your comments to the discussion.

If you wish to include an exhibit, map or other attachment, please send your comments via eFiling (see below) or U.S. Mail.

Please include the Commission’s docket number in all communications.

Filing Requirements: Utilities and state agencies are required to file documents using the Commission’s electronic filing system (eFiling). All parties, participants and interested persons are encouraged to use eFiling: mn.gov/puc, select eFiling, and follow the prompts.

Important Comments will be made available to the public via the Public Utilities Commission’s website, except in limited circumstances consistent with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. The Commission does not edit or delete personal identifying information from submissions.

Hearing Agenda

I. Introductions
II.Overview of Programs
A. Public Utilities Commission – Facilities Permitting and Public Advisor
B. Department of Commerce – Energy Facilities Permitting Unit
C. Role of Other Agencies
III. Projects Reviewed
A. Projects Permitted in 2015
B. Pending and Anticipated Projects
C. Electric Facilities Subject to Power Plant Siting Act
1. Generating Plants
2. Transmission Lines
IV. Public Questions and Testimony
V. Adjourn

How to Learn More

Subscribe to the Docket: Subscribe to receive email notifications when new documents are filed. Note – subscribing may result in a large number of emails.

  1. mn.gov/puc
  2. Select Subscribe to a Docket
  3. Type your email address
  4. For Type of Subscription, select Docket Number
  5. For Docket Number, select 15 in the first box, type 785 in the second box
  6. Select Add to List
  7. Select Save

Full Case Record: See all documents filed in this docket via the Commission’s website – mn.gov/puc, select Search eDockets, enter the year (15) and the docket number (785), select Search.

Project Mailing Lists: Sign up to receive notices and opportunities to participate in other dockets relating to specific projects in which you are interested (meetings, comment periods, etc.). Contact docketing.puc@state.mn.us or 651-201-2234 with the docket number, your name, mailing address and email address.

Minnesota Statutes and Rules: The hearing is being conducted according to Minnesota Statute 216E.07. Minnesota Statutes are available at www.revisor.mn.gov.

Project Contacts

Public Utilities Commission Public Advisor

Tracy Smetana – consumer.puc@state.mn.us, 651-296-0406 or 1-800-657-3782

CapX Brookings/Myrick route good for something!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Information Requests,News coverage,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on June 19, 2015 @ 5:00 am


When the Applicants added the Myrick route, oh-so-improperly at the very end of a long proceeding when they saw they couldn’t get their way due to DOT easements, it was excruciating.  Successfully defeated, but excruciating because it was so wrong, so ham handed, and yet accepted by the judge and the Public Utilities Commission.

So then they proposed a similar route for a smaller transmission line, the Tyrone line, years later.  What?  Whatever were they thinking?  Apparently they weren’t, and it doesn’t seem they knew about “Myrick” and anything that had come before.

GREAT recap of the first Planning Commission meeting here:

Substation, transmission lines will damage environment, opponents tell Planning Commission – Le Sueur MN_ News

Well, this is a subject I know all too well, and I’ve been brought into this Tyrone 69 kV transmission and substation proceeding at Le Sueur County.  Way too familiar.  The thing about this that’s NOT been made clear is that the utilities snuck in a big honkin’ substation and attached it to the Wilmarth line.  There was a plan to connect the CapX 2020 Helena sub to Wilmarth, and to link that to the St. Thomas substation, but though they did build the Helena sub connecting CapX with Wilmarth, there was no line to St. Thomas to the south.  Instead, and how they did this is beyond me, they built a brand new unplanned-for substation, called the Shea’s Lake substation, and connected that to St. Thomas.  Had to have cost at least $15 million.  ???  Where did that come from?

So back to this Tyrone project at Le Sueur County.  Emily Pollack had intervened in the proceeding, allowed under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, and now I’m representing her in this, and we just sent out some information requests and will see what we can see:

Cover_Le Sueur P&Z

Attachment Binder_FINAL

Cover_Applicants GRE & MVEC

There’s good stuff in the Attachment Binder, particularly the North Mankato Load Serving Study and the Biennial Transmission Plans showing their plans for local load serving.  Without the basic information on this project, there’s no basis for a decision by the County.

But here’s the rub — they built this new Shea’s Lake substation to serve the Le Sueur and Le Center areas, so folks, that’s the substation that should be used!  No excuse to build it for this purpose, and then not use it!

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


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!


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


“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.


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!


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


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:


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?


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?


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

Exceptions to ALJ Recommendation — ITC Midwest’s 1/2 of MVP 3

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,PUC Docket — posted by admin on September 23, 2014 @ 2:07 pm


See that pink highlighted transmission line?  That’s the ITC Midwest part of MISO MVP 3, and Exceptions to the ALJ’s Recommendation are due at 4:30 p.m. today.  Look, made it under the wire by 30 minutes!!!

Here’s the ALJ’s Recommendation, for your reading displeasure:


And here are the DNR Comments and Exceptions filed after I’d posted the others:

DNR Comments_20149-103238-02

DNR Exceptions_0149-103238-01


And here are the rest posted earlier:


DOC DER Exceptions_20149-103215-01

ITC Midwest Exceptions_20149-103220-02

A major issue with that Recommendation is that it’s a cut and paste of ITC Midwest’s dream, it’s wish list, and what a wish list it was.  ITC Midwest got exactly what it wanted, so is it any surprise they’d file this letter today — oh, please…


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:


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.

This is what CapX 2020 looks like

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,PUC Docket — posted by admin on September 10, 2014 @ 10:26 am

Today, I’ve received the Compliance filing for the CapX 2020 Hampton-La Crosse transmission line (PUC Docket 09-1448).

September Compliance_20149-102954-01

This is your land… this is what your land looks like with transmission… Any questions?

Before (note there’s a lattice structure or two in the background, this is “before” of an existing RoW):




More “during” in another location:




Information Requests filed in ITC transmission docket

Filed under:Information Requests,ITC MN & IA 345 kV — posted by admin on February 17, 2014 @ 10:06 am


That’s a photo of a transmission tower from the SW MN 345 kV line from Split Rock (Sioux Falls) to Lakefield Junction. You know how I’m always saying, “It’s all connected!”  Well, that line from Split Rock (Sioux Falls) to Lakefield Junction, PUC Docket 01-1958) way back over a decade ago, is just one segment of a long-ago proposed transmission option,and it’s all coming together over time.

There is now an ITC project at the PUC, planned to extend the Split Rock – Lakefield Junction eastward from Lakefield Junction to a new substation in Huntley, and then south into Iowa. Here’s some background on ITC from a FERC Order in docket EL12-104-000:


Now, back to the ITC project, from Lakefield Junction to a new substation in Huntley, and then south into Iowa Certificate of Need docket ET-6675/CN-12-1053, and Routing docket ET-6675/TL-12-1337 (to look at dockets, go to PUC SEARCH PAGE, and search for dockets 12-1053 and/or 12-1337).  Citizens Energy Task Force and No CapX 2020 have intervened because this is yet another link from South Dakota towards Madison.  Of note, Wind on the Wires, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Fresh Energy, and Izaak Walton League have intervened, first Wind on the Wires, and then MCEA, Fresh Energy and IWLA.  Also of note, Bill Grant was appointed by Gov. Dayton as Deputy Commissioner of Commerce, to head Commerce’s part in energy dockets, and relevant here, heading Commerce in their work on need and routing decisions.

Today, I served a few Information Requests to get at this history and the actions and contracts of Wind on the Wires, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Fresh Energy, and Izaak Walton League, and Bill Grant’s role regarding transmission:

Information Request 1_Commerce

Information Request 2_Commerce

Information Request 1_MCEA et al

Information Request 2_MCEA et al

Information Request 3-4_MCEA et al

Information Request 5_MCEA et al

Information Request 6_MCEA et al

Information Request 7_MCEA et al

Responses will be posted here.

Now let’s take a look at the origin of this ITC line, or other instances where this segment has been proposed as a part of something big and dirty.  It’s ancient history, but it’s consistent, a pattern has been developed.

The Split Rock – Lakefield Junction transmission was part of a transmission for coal line, a project that was contracted for and studied specifically for use as outlet for coal, promoted in “Lignite Vision 21,” developed in 1999-2000:

Here’s the map found in their “Lignite Vision 21” study (Lignite Vision 21 Transmission Study):


The “Split Rock – Lakefield Junction” and “Lakefield Junction – Winnebago” segments are also part of a plan also going all the way back to 1998-1999 to  the WIREs Report,Phase II, where a South Dakota to Wisconsin 345 kV project studied in WIREs Phase I, labeled 9a, from S Huron-Split Rock-Lakefield Jct–Adams, Adams–Genoa–Columbia, 345 kV was shortened to “Plan 9b (Lakefield – Columbia 345 kV):

WIREs-Lakefield-Columbia 9b

Following WIREs Phase II came the Wisconsin Reliability Assessment Organization Report (WRAO), where they brought forward the shortened segment from Lakefield Jct., in Minnesota, to Columbia, in Wisconsin (Madison area):


In 1999, about this same time, there was a Merger Agreement between ME3 (now Fresh Energy), Izaak Walton League, and ELPC (formerly handling legal for ME3 and Waltons), which included this paragraph on transmission:


Not so coincidentally, the SW MN 345 kV transmission line with a rating of ~2,100 MVA was approved by the PUC with conditions that NSP/Xcel sign PPAs for 675 MW of new wind on Buffalo Ridge, and install 825 MW of wind on Buffalo Ridge, and make network service requests to MISO for 825 MW of wind (not location specific), and sign PPAs for 60 MW of small locally owned wind, etc. Remember those numbers, 2,100 MVA, 675 MW, and 825 MVA!


The SW Minnesota CoN proceeding for four transmission lines became, to some, the “825MW of transmission for wind” even though it’s not.

Not long after a hilarious meeting (if it weren’t so slimy and disgusting) where Beth Soholt, WOW, and Matt Schuerger, ME3 at that time, tried to get a group of us to “approve” the Split Rock – Lakefield 345 kV line, NSP applied for that SW MN Split Rock – Lakefield Jct 345 kV line (PUC Docket 01-1958).  As that docket moved forward, particularly during the hearings, negotiations were ongoing between NSP (now Xcel) and MCEA, Izaak Walton League,ME3 (now Fresh Energy) and North American Water Office, resulting in a “Community Wind” agreement, and at the same time, one with wide-ranging terms about transmission (remember, Petitioners in this case were Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy and Interstate Power and Light, the IPL that formerly owned the transmission system now owned and operated by ITC Midwest) (Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL) and Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL) are Alliant Energy’s two utility subsidiaries)(makes my head spin…), anyway, here’s that deal:

Settlement Agreement – MCEA, Waltons, ME3, NAWO filed with PUC 6/23/03

To look at the TRANSLink docket, go to PUC SEARCH PAGE and search for docket 02-2152, a very interesting read.

Then, in 2005, we got the Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell, Minn. Session Laws, Chapter 97, giving the utilities all they could possibly want to get CapX 2020 rolling through Minnesota, thanks in large part to promotional lobbying efforts of Bill Grant, Izaak Walton League, and George Crocker, North American Water Office — their transmission legacy.

And in 2006, Wind on the Wires (at that time a program and major revenue stream of Izaak Walton League), with AWEA, et al., proposed a DOE NIETC transmission corridor covering much of southern Minnesota:

WOW Comment_DOE_NIETC_3-6-06

Here’s part of the map from the Comment (note the CapX lines) and pay particular attention to the square one in the middle, with a truncated version of WRAO/WIREs 9a and Lignite Vision 21, the addition from Lakefield Jct. headed east:

ITC Midwest has proposed this new 345 kV transmission line that looks a lot like this one above, an extension of the Split Rock – Lakefield Jct. line, heading east from Lakefield Junction to a new substation in Huntley, and then south into Iowa.  Here’s the Minnesota part (it’s as if the IA part of it doesn’t exist), click for bigger version: Map from 20132-83982-01-1

And this is a more complete conceptual mapping from the ITC MVP Study #3 showing some Iowa options:

ITC MVP Study 3

This transmission docket is ongoing, both Certificate of Need (CLICK HERE FOR PUC’S SEARCH PAGE, search for PUC Docket 12-1053) and the Routing docket (CLICK HERE FOR PUC’S SEARCH PAGE, search for PUC Docket 12-1337).  No CapX and Citizens Energy Task Force have intervened, in a limited way, to get an idea of the big picture and file a brief in on this project.  We’ll see how this goes.

next page

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace