Motion for Order to Show Cause filed today!

Filed under:PUC Docket — posted by admin on June 1, 2010 @ 11:26 am

Today NoCapX 2020 and United Citizen Action Network filed a Motion for Order to Show Cause, to push the PUC to require compliance with their Order way back when that the CapX 2020 Applicants disclose, which they have not done!

NoCapX 2020 & U-CAN Motion for Order to Show Cause

What haven’t they disclosed?  Here’s what the Order says:

4. Applicants shall make a compliance filing disclosing each project’s transmission capacity, owners, and ownership structure.

See for yourself in the Certificate of Need, at the very end, Order Point 4:

Order Granting Certificate of Need with Conditions

The PUC is considering CapX 2020’s Notice and Delay:

CapX Notice of Delay for Brookings In-Service Date

Here is is, more than a year later, and the CapX 2020 applicants have not responded to the PUC’s Order.  They have not disclosed the capacity of the various lines in the project and have not disclosed the owners and ownership structure.


They’re applying for routing permits, they’re requesting AND GETTING rate recovery (with one important exception, the Brookings line), and they haven’t disclosed who will own this thing…  So NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN have asked that, whether or not this variance is issued, that the CapX 2020 Applicants be required to ‘fess up!

Donations needed — filings to be made this week!

Filed under:PUC Docket — posted by admin on May 19, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

All –

We are in this CapX 2020 fight for a number of reasons, each of us has our self-interest, be it to protect our property, to preserve a favorite park or river, for the greater good or to help shift energy policy.  Today we’re at another of those pivotal points where what we do can make a difference in the outcome for the entire CapX 2020 Phase I project — there’s an open door…

Dollars are urgently needed TODAY for the fight to stop CapX 2020 in its tracks.  There’s a NoCapX 2020 PayPal link off to your right at the top of the page –>

… or checks made out to and sent directly to:

P.O. Box 176
Red Wing, MN  55066

A little goes a long way, and a lot goes even further!

Why today?  CapX 2020 has asked for a delay in the in-service date on the Brookings-Hampton part of Phase I, and that has an impact on not just Brookings, or the connected Hampton-Alma (LaCrosse) line, but the need for the entire project — their willingness to admit that the timing is off essentially admits that it is not needed — and that’s our challenge.  Right now, that door is open to file Motions in dockets to suspend and hopefully stop CapX 2020.

Keep an eye on www.nocapx2020 over the next few days for our filings and updates!

Thanks for your support,

Carol A. Overland
NoCapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network

Rochester area doesn’t NEED CapX

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,PUC Docket — posted by admin on April 20, 2010 @ 9:36 am


Remember all the hype about Rochester, home of the Mayo Clinic, freezing in the dark on a respirator without a job?


A little birdie sent me this:

Rochester Public Utilities 2009 Electric System Engineering & Operations Report

On p. 18 there’s some important info.  First, the number of customers has increased slightly:

RPU 2009 - Electric Customers 2006-2009

And note that RPU’s peak demand was also in 2006 (I wish they’d go back a lot further):


From the CapX CoN docket, here’s testimony from Amanda King:


Here are the Rochester load specifics in chart form, substation by substation:

King – Schedule 2 – Rochester Substation Loading & Forecast

Here it is as Application, Appendix C-1, just slightly different:


Now look at this – the average MWH/customer:

rpu-averagemwhspercustomerHere’s some interesting information – their SAIDI, SAIFI and CAIDI reports — what changed in 2002 that dramatically altered the SAIDI statistics going forward:

CAIDI, SAIDI, SAIFI from RPU’s 2009 E&O Report

And the chart that says it all:


All in all, a very interesting report, clear, easy for non-wonks to understand, it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it, I’ll give it a 98!

Today – UPDATE – Citizens Advisory Task Force

Filed under:PUC Docket,Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 13, 2010 @ 12:10 pm



ALERT: Hampton-Alma (LaCrosse) Citizens Advisory Task Force!

NOW – Do I have your attention?

Today is the day that people are supposed to receive notice of whether they are selected to be on the Hampton-Alma (LaCrosse) Citizen Advisory Task Force.  However, supposedly due to lack of response, the deadline has been extended indefinitely.   SEND IN YOUR APPLICATION RIGHT AWAY!

Task Force meetings begin the week of the 27th.

General Advisory Task Force Solicitation with Candidate Form


If you haven’t sent in a Candidate Form, now’s the time, like RIGHT NOW.  Ask that members of the public be appointed, and ask for equal membership for both Task Forces, there is NO reason to limit the River Crossing Task Force to 10 members.

Here are a couple of problems with this Solicitation:

  • 15 members for Hampton to Northern Hills, only 10 members for Northern Hills to Mississippi River
  • Meetings will be held in the afternoon — who can do that?

So, again, this looks like an attempt to limit participation

And although the PUC has ordered the Task Forces, there is still no scheduled Prehearing Conference, at least not listed on the PUC docket site for this part of CapX 2020.

Why do they want CapX transmission?

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Information Requests,News coverage — posted by admin on April 2, 2010 @ 7:56 am


Well DUH, to transmit the unneeded coal-generated electricity to market to “displace natural gas.”

ICF – MISO Benefits Analysis Study

A storm is brewing over South Heart, North Dakota.  The South Heart coal plant and mine is in the news.

First the “benefication” plant, essentially drying out the wet lignite coal, almost exactly ONE YEAR AGO:

North Dakota Coal Dealt Setback

Great Northern Power Development withdrew its application for a new coal mine near South Heart, North Dakota. The company said it acted in response to a complaint filed at the North Dakota Public Service Commission by Plains Justice on behalf of Dakota Resource Council and local landowners. The complaint challenges the construction of a new coal preparation plant.

Now the coal plant — It was first touted as a “synfuels” plant (a la Beulah, argh, brilliant idea…) and now electricity, now that CapX 2020 permits are being approved.

Great Northern and Allied Syngas Stick with South Heart


South Heart is west of Dickinson, in the middle between the north and south CapX 2020 Dakota extensions:

Hearing Ex. 13, Big Picture Map

Company seeks coal permit

Published March 31 2010

By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press

A Houston company has taken another step toward their goal of constructing a $1.5 billion power plant and surface coal mine on 4,600 acres near South Heart.

South Heart Coal LLC, which is owned by Great Northern Power Development, applied for a mining permit Monday.

North Dakota’s Public Service Commission will review the application, said Jim Deutsch — director of PSC’s reclamation division.

It will take at least six months to process the application, he said.

“The application is for about 2.4 million tons of coal a year,” said Neal Messer, spokesperson for Great Northern.

Britt Huggins, whose home is just a few miles away from the proposed mine and plant, said the project makes her nervous.

“I have horses, I have dogs and I don’t so much like the idea of tearing up the countryside,” Huggins said. “Plus, what’s it going to do to our wildlife and our water?”

She is selling her home, but is having issues because it’s so close to the proposed mine.

“I’ve already had people look at it and say they’re worried about that coal mine,” Huggins said. “If it goes through, it’s going to change everybody’s way of life out there.”

The plant will be about six miles southwest of South Heart and the mine will be about three miles west of

the town, Messer said.

“It’s the biggest economic project in southwest North Dakota’s history,” Messer said.

Over 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted from the plant will be captured and used in other markets, Messer said. He added the company will comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards.

“This plant will have no problem meeting or exceeding any of those standards,” Messer said.

The plant will use technology to gasify the coal and extract hydrogen, which will be used to generate 175 megawatts of electricity, Messer said. That’s enough to power 140,000 homes, he added.

Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2011 and they hope to be operational by 2014, Messer said. The project will create about 1,100 temporary jobs and 350 permanent jobs, Messer said.

Great Northern has also requested the land be rezoned from agricultural to industrial. The Stark County Zoning Board will hold a public hearing for the request Monday at 4 p.m.

The zoning board and Stark County commission approved the property to be rezoned about two years ago. However, a district judge overturned the decision because officials did not follow proper procedures.

Great Northern planned to produce synthetic natural gas two years ago, but changed their mind, Messer said.

“What happened was the natural gas market has deteriorated where that is not a profitable function at this point,” Messer said.

Messer expects Great Northern to apply for an air quality permit within the next few months.

Pete Kuntz, Stark County commissioner, said the project will be good for the area.

“We’ve got to look out for the majority of the people in the county, not only a few,” Kuntz said. “There’s way more people for than against.”

The coal would be mined by removing earth above the coal vein and stockpiling it, Messer said. Once the coal is removed, the earth will be replaced and put back to as close to its original state as possible, he added.

The mine would last about 30 years and the market will determine what happens to the plant after that, Messer said.

“If everything is the same as it is now, then they would go and try to find areas to expand,” Messer said.

GTL Energy USA Ltd. is constructing a coal beneficiation plant less than a half a mile away from Great Northern’s proposed project.

Messer, who is the spokesperson for Great Northern and GTL, said while they are two separate companies, Great Northern will use GTL Energy’s technology to make their plant more efficient.

CapX Certificate of Need Appeal Filed

Filed under:Laws & Rules,PUC Docket — posted by admin on September 10, 2009 @ 6:41 am

It’s filed…

Appeal – NoCapX 2020 & U-CAN

CETF has appealed too, but I don’t have it electronically.

ONWARD!!! (to Susquehanna-Roseland Discovery, due today, AAAAARGH!)


Filed under:PUC Docket — posted by admin on July 15, 2009 @ 7:07 am

… and thus the orchestrated train to remove conditions on the Brookings line was derailed.  Commissioner Phyllis Reha, the one who had given a presentation in 2006 saying CapX 2020 was a good model for the rest of the country (!!), was the conductor, speaking from notes, putting the Conditions on the table, they invited Steve Rakow, Commerce, to argue Commerce position, essentially testify, and going beyond the record, and there was the most tortured discussion of “oh, we don’t want to go beyond the record,” and “it’s good we didn’t go further,” it was most unfortunate I’d left my waders at home, and then Marya White was invited up to close the sale.   So rather quickly, in a devious process, the train had left the station, fully loaded, was headed downhill, nearing the bottom when Marya White got carried away and I just couldn’t take any more.  I mean really, saying that the majority of the MISO queue is wind… to convince the Commissioners that there was no need for concern, that the Brookings line is for wind.  What utter bullshit.  Maybe in numbers, but as MTEP-07 notes, with a cute and very graphic chart and WHICH I HAD USED IN MY BRIEF, and which they state very clearly in the narrative, the MISO queue is “predominately” coal.   PREDOMINATLEY coal, that is the word they use.

mtep-07-misoqueuepdfMTEP-07 October 4, 2007 Final

Don’t do that around me — I hate it when people grossly misrepresent reality.  So she was loudly and specifically challenged, and suddenly it was time for the pre-announced noon break.  Afterwards, it was a whole different tone and the train to remove conditions was long gone, and for some reason, Marya White did not come back up to the table.

And as I said yesterday, I don’t believe in conditions, will not argue for conditions, because conditions presume the line, and our (NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN) position is NO LINE.  Paula Maccabee, representing Citizens Energy Task Force, said on the record that she represented landowners on the Brookings line, and that landowners had “acquiesced” with conditions that assured it was for a “higher purpose.”  Oh my…do THEY know that?  EEEEEUW, that was disturbing — landowners I represent on the Brookings line would be awfully pissed off to hear that!!!  Landowners I represent certainly have not acquiesced, do not approve of conditions, do not think transmission through their property is OK if for a “higher purpose.”  I wonder if the CETF members on the Brookings line know they have acquiesced to transmission.  And I wonder if they understand the impact that even the perception of their acquiesence has on the rest of the landowners on the Brookings line.  It certainly is a statement against the interests of NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN and many landowners the length of the Brookings line.

So for that reason, I had mixed feelings about derailing the “remove conditions” train, but I could not condone the misrepresentations or the process by which they were removing the conditions, hence… OBJECTION!

The PUC meeting yesterday was… well, it’s over, thankfully.  The Motions for Reconsideration of Xcel and MOES to remove the conditions on the Brookings line were accepted, it was Reconsidered, “a discussion was had,” and the conditions sort of remain, although slightly neutered (not enough for Xcel, I’d guess).  I’ll post the Order so we know precisely how it ends up.  All of the other motions, those of NoCapX 2020/U-CAN and CETF, were denied.

So now it’s off to the races — the Appellate Court.

Oh, and there was also a curious statement by… I believe Commissioner Pugh, about UMTDI, about wanting to see what the “Upper Midwest Governors’ Transmission group decides,”  something like that, using the word “Governors” for sure.  Who’s leading who here?  Who is making the decisions?  In whose interest?  Chair Boyd is a big part of that group, I believe a co-chair, and it’s transmission toady heaven, PRESUMING massive transmission is needed, purpose as I see it is to promote the JCSP massive transmission buildout agenda, and, per “CapX 2020 Comment,” transferring costs of this massive transmission buildout to those outside the UMTDI five-state area.  Promotional activities that presume transmisison in the absence of need… great idea…

Here’s my Comment to UMTDI last February:

Overland Comment

TOMORROW – PUC considers Reconsideration

Filed under:PUC Docket — posted by admin on July 13, 2009 @ 3:55 pm


RECONSIDERATION… It’s tomorrow, at 9:30 a.m., well, shortly thereafter, we’re number 3 on the agenda.  The PUC is going to decide on all of our Reconsideration Motions.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 – 9:30 a.m.

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Large Hearing Room

121 – 7th Place E., 3rd Floor

St. Paul, MN  55101

Here’s the PUC Staff Briefing Paper:

Staff Briefing Papers re: CapX 2020 – July 14 Meeting

The order that started this flurry:

Order Granting CoN with Conditions

And all the Motions for Reconsideration:

CETF Attachment A

CETF Attachment B

Ex A – Surprise drop in power use

Ex B – Xcel 2008 Summary

Ex C – Otter Tail Corp SEC 10-K

Ex D – EIA Electric Power Monthly Chap 5

Ex E – 2008 NERC Reliability Assessment

Ex F – Press Release Sandok 4-3-09

Ex G – MTO Study Reports 3-31-09

Ex H – NYISO & ISO-NE 2-4-09

Ex I – JCSP 08 Executive Summary 2-8-09

Ex J – NY Testimony – US Senate Energy

PUC July 14 Staff Briefing Papers

Filed under:PUC Docket — posted by admin on July 10, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

Staff Briefing Papers have been released for the July 14 PUC Agenda Meeting, where we’ll be addressing our Motions for Reconsideration on the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need.

Staff Briefing Papers re: CapX 2020 – July 14 Meeting

Read ’em and yawn…

July 14 – PUC & Motions for Reconsideration

Filed under:PUC Docket,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on July 4, 2009 @ 10:51 am


Yes, folks, it’s this coming TUESDAY!!!

The many CapX 2020 Motions for Reconsideration are on the docket for July 14, 2009.  Note that they may or may not take public comment, so the agenda says and the Minnesota Rules allow.

If’ you want to come to the PUC for the show, the meeting starts at 9:30.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 @ 9:30 a.m.
Public Utilities Commission
3rd Floor – Large Hearing Room
121 – 7th Place East
St. Paul, MN  55101

Here’s the agenda item — #3 on a not very long list:

3. E002/CN-06-1115

Great River Energy;
Northern States Power Company d/b/a Xcel Energy

In the Matter of the Application of Great River Energy, Northern States Power Company (d/b/a Xcel Energy) and Others for Three 345 kV Transmission Lines.

Should the Commission reconsider its May 22, 2009 Order Granting Certificates of Need with Conditions? (PUC: Eknes)

The Commission has the authority to accept or decline a petition for reconsideration with or without a hearing or oral argument. (Minnesota Rules 7829.3000, Subpart 6) In other words, a decision on a petition for reconsideration can be made without taking oral comments at the Commission meeting. If you have questions about this particular docket, please contact Bret Eknes at 651-201-2236.

Here’s the Order at issue

Order Granting CoN with Conditions

And here are all the Reconsideration pleadings:

Applicants Request for Reconsideration

MOES – Reconsideration

CETF Petition for Reconsideration

CETF Attachment A

CETF Attachment B

NoCapX & U-CAN Motion for Reconsideration

Ex A – Surprise drop in power use

Ex B – Xcel 2008 Summary

Ex C – Otter Tail Corp SEC 10-K

Ex D – EIA Electric Power Monthly Chap 5

Ex E – 2008 NERC Reliability Assessment

Ex F – Press Release Sandok 4-3-09

Ex G – MTO Study Reports 3-31-09

Ex H – NYISO & ISO-NE 2-4-09

Ex I – JCSP 08 Executive Summary 2-8-09

Ex J – NY Testimony – US Senate Energy

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace