MISO bars access to planning meetings

From the public meeting materials, here’s what they’re looking at, above.  These are significant additions to the transmission grid in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Look at the number of double circuits they want to add, and look at the new transmission planned for Minnesota and WIsconsin.  And note how, as with CapX 2020, it’s starting in the coal fields of the Dakotas.

MISO’s Economic Planning Users Group is planning a “Regional Transmission Overlay Study” and they’re having another meeting tomorrow, May 25, 2017 down in Metatairie, Louisiana.

Here’s the call in info:

WebEx Information
Event Number: 966 575 350
WebEx Password: Ts824634

Participant Dial-In Number: 1-800-689-9374
Participant Code: 823713

Meeting Materials from the MISO site:

Here’s the problem — they close the meeting, and people like me aren’t allowed to attend.  First I was told, back in January when I tried to register:

Thank you for registering for the Economic Planning Users Group (EPUG) on Jan 31.  The afternoon portion of this meeting will be held in CLOSED session and reserved from MISO Members or Market Participants only.  Please feel free to attend the morning session from 11:00 am to 12:45 pm ET / 10:00 am to 11:45 CT.

I filled out their “CEII – Non-Disclosure Agreement” form and fired it off.  But noooooo…

So next I went to the PUC’s Quarterly MISO update, where I was assured that we could make arrangements so that I could attend.  I resent the “CEII – Non-Disclosure Agreement” and went back and forth and it came to this (click for larger version).  Note this “explanation” of options to be able to attend:

The reason that you were not permitted to attend the closed session is because the meeting involved discussion of Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) and CEII access requests by Non-Member Individuals requires FERC clearance.  Another access option is to be included on Appendix A of a MISO member or Market Participant.

So that says there are two ways to gain access, 1) get “FERC clearance” or 2) “Another access option is to be included on Appendix A of a MISO member or Market Participant.”  One or the other. Emphasis added.  Here’s the email (click for larger version) laying out those two options:

Oh, I says to myself, off to FERC.  I sent in the requisite paperwork to FERC, and got “FERC clearance” and they shipped me the CEII information, including but not limited to the map.  I let MISO know I’d obtained “FERC clearance,” and here’s the response (click for larger version):

ARRRRGH, they have my CEII NDA on file, have had it since January 23, 2017.  I resent it to the writer of these emails on March 4, 2017, and I sent it again today, and objected to yet another change in their “rules” (click for larger version):

So the plot thickens — from MISO (click or larger version):

And from moi (click for larger version):

Xmsn Overlay coming soon to a backyard near you!

It’s early, so now’s the time to get agitated, get activated!

As if CapX 2020 wasn’t enough, and during the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need proceeding, word of the “JCSP” overlay came out.  And we know that Xcel, in its e21 Initiative, is whining about the grid only being 55% utilized (DOH! Because CapX and other transmission expansion wasn’t needed, was built, and now they’re trying to make us pay for it!).

And as if Obama’s RRTT wasn’t enough, now there’s this, check out Executive Order 13766:

Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects

And so now the rest of the story — here’s what they’re planning:

Here’s the list, in a spreadsheet:

20170131 EPUG Preliminary Overlay Ideas List

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has scheduled the MISO Utilities Quarterly Update Meeting for the Second Quarter of 2017 for Friday, March 3, 2017 from 10:00 AM to Noon in the Commission’s Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101.

MISO Q letter 03-10-2014.bh.-1

Note this part, to be discussed at this meeting:

Laying the ground work now for this, a huge build-out that isn’t needed, an overlay on top of transmission that wasn’t needed either.  NO!

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

20140512_161838_resized

CapX 2020 at Highway 61 south of Wabasha

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

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

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

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

In the press:

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

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

From WKBT (video here):

CapX2020 transmission line completed

And Wisconsin Public Radio:

Collaborative Utility Project Connects Electric Transmission From South Dakota To Wisconsin

Rochester Post-Bulletin:

Drone patrols the power line

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

20140512_161913_1_resized

CapX 2020 at Hwy. 61 looking towards the Mississippi

Put on your waders — CapX 2020 Report!

CapXCap1

It’s out, the report from U of M Humphrey School of Public Affairs about CapX 2020, headlining it as a “Model for addressing climate change.

Transmission Planning and CapX 2020: Building Trust to Build Regional Transmission Systems

Oh, please, this is all about coal, and you know it.  This is all about enabling marketing of electricity.  In fact, Xcel’s Tim Carlsbad testified most honestly that CapX 2020 was not for wind!  That’s because electrical energy isn’t ID’d by generation source, as Jimbo Alders also testified, and under FERC, discrimination in generation sources is not allowed, transmission must serve whatever is there.  And the report early on, p. 4, notes:

Both North and South Dakota have strong wind resources and North Dakota also has low-BTU lignite
coal resources that it wants to continue to use. New high-voltage transmission lines are needed to
support the Dakotas’ ability to export electricity to neighboring states.

See also: ICF-Independent Assessment MISO Benefits

Anyway, here it is, and it’s much like Phyllis Reha’s puff piece promoting CapX 2020 years ago while she was on the Public Utilities Commission, that this is the model other states should use:

MN PUC Commissioner Reha’s Feb 15 2006 presentation promoting CapX 2020

So put on your waders and reading glasses and have at it. Here’s the word on the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell – Chapter 97 – Revisor of Statutes that gave Xcel and Co. just what they wanted, transmission as a revenue stream:

CapX_Xmsn2005

And note how opposition is addressed, countered by an organization that received how much to promote transmission.  This is SO condescending:

HumphreyCapXReport

… and opposition discounted because it’s so technical, what with load flow studies, energy consumption trends, how could we possibly understand.  We couldn’t possibly understand… nevermind that the decreased demand we warned of, and which demonstrated lack of need, was the reality that we were entering in 2008.

XcelPeakDemand2000-2015

And remember Steve Rakow’s chart of demand, entered at the very end of the Certificate of Need hearing when demand was at issue???  In addition to NO identification of axis values, the trend he promoted, and which was adopted by the ALJ and Commission, has NOT happened, and instead Xcel is adjusting to the “new normal” and whining that the grid is only 55% utilized in its e21 and rate case filings.  Here’s Steve Rakow’s chart:

rakownapkindemand

Reality peak demand trajectory was lower than Rakow’s “slow growth” line, in fact, it’s the opposite from 2007 to present.  Suffice it to say:

ManureSpreader

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

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

map-lesueur-myrickroute

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!

Wild Planning & Zoning meeting in Le Sueur County!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,News coverage — posted by admin on June 16, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

TyroneXmsn

This is an article you MUST read!  Here is the story of GRE and MNVEC trying to string transmission over an area that was demonstrated not suitable for CapX 2020 transmission and getting schooled in history, public process, and ecology:

Substation, transmission lines will damage environment, opponents tell Planning Commission

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

And it turns out they don’t even know what infrastructure they’ve got on the ground and in the air.

DOH!

Dedication of CapX 2020?

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Fargo-St Cloud,St.Cloud-Monticello — posted by admin on May 4, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

WHAT?!?!  The dedication ceremony for the CapX 2020 Brookings – Hampton and Fargo – St. Cloud – Monticello projects, and I didn’t get a gold engraved invitation?  And of course there’s Beth Soholt, “Wind on the Wires” (f/k/a a program of the Izaak Walton League) toadying for these projects — how much did Wind on the Wires get in grants to promote transmission?  Minnesota Department of Commerce represented as well, though it’s the Commissioner!  Why wouldn’t they send Beth’s old boss, Bill Grant, particularly given that he’s now Deputy Commissioner of Commerce!  It’s all connected, don’t cha know.

They say these are energized.  Wonder if/when they’re going to put transformers in?  Anyone know?

CapX Dedication Ceremony

How’s this for a quote, from the Forum:

The power buzzing in the transformers come from another power line that stretches west to the coal power plants in Center, N.D.

And the full article here: Xcel energizes new Fargo to St. Cloud powerline

Here’s the poop from KNSI News:

CapX2020 transmission lines celebrated

May 4, 2015 at 4:08 pm

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) – A dedication ceremony was held today in St. Cloud to commemorate the completion of two high-voltage electric transmission lines — part of CapX2020. 

The CapX2020 Brookings County-Hampton and Fargo-St. Cloud-Monticello projects complete $1.3 billion worth of electric grid investment in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Will Kaul is chairman of CapX2020, a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin

“It’s just in time when the concern about the grid and the security and the resilience of the grid is very high … a time when the resource mix that is coming into play is in transition and new resources are coming online,” Kaul said.

The two projects took 11 years and were completed on time and without going over budget to provide reliable, affordable service to Minnesota and the surrounding region, while also expanding access to renewable energy, according to Teresa Mogensen of Xcel Energy.

“We compare our CapX2020 lines to another big project – the Vikings stadium – that’s a $1 billion investment, too,” said Mogensen, who provided some perspective.

The CapX2020 projects include four 345 kV transmission lines and one 230 kV line — the largest development of new transmission in the Upper Midwest in almost four decades.

One way the CapX2020 projects help keep prices low is by alleviating congestion on the system. When more electricity is needed in an area than the area’s transmission system can provide, electricity is dispatched from a different generation source that can serve the area, but at a higher cost.

 

 

Video from GRE

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on October 9, 2014 @ 10:00 am

CapX 2020 construction is marching on.  The other day I went down to Rochester and saw the structures coming out of the “North Rochester” substation heading east.

Here’s the CapX 2020 page on youtube!

In the inbox today, this well produced video from GRE, if only the subject matter wasn’t so depressing — it’s construction of the CapX 2020 Brookings-Hampton 345 kV transmission line, now almost complete:

 

Flo & David Minar & Cedar Summit WIN!!!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Buy the Farm — posted by admin on August 15, 2014 @ 6:49 am

MinorOrder

That says it all!

Here’s the full decision:

Minar Order_Buy the Farm

This is a big day, a victory for landowners who have a utility condemning their land for transmission.  Over and over, the utilities are losing, and landowners’ rights are affirmed by the court.  Yet because the utilities refuse to recognize their election of Buy the Farm (Minn. Stat. 216E.12, Subd. 4), landowners end up in a long involved and expensive legal wrangle — at what point will the court start holding utilities accountable for their abuse of process?  Because their objections are so unreasonable, utilities should be required to pay for more than landowners expenses in standing up for their rights, there should be additional damages awarded, say for “intentional infliction of emotional distress” or Rule 11 sanctions, something to wake them up to the abusive nature of their challenges.  The law is what it is, and as landowners have to continue to fight, it will probably become even more focused on landowner rights, session by legislative session, due to the utilities’ actions.

Take a few minutes today to let your state Representative and Senator know how important it is to protect landowner rights in utility condemnations and to uphold the Buy the Farm option!

State Representatives contact info

State Senators contact info

Once more with feeling: CONGRATULATIONS, DAVE AND FLO MINAR!!!!

In the STrib:

Utility must buy the farm its towers stand on, judge rules

In the Roch Post Bulletin:

‘Buy the Farm’ ruling puts Capx 2020 on the hook

And ASAP, take a trip over to Cedar Summit Farm, have a look around, check out their pasture fed organic dairy cows, and give them a big THANK YOU to let the Minar’s know that you support their efforts to preserve landowner rights.  Oh, and then there’s the milk… cheese… ice cream… and more!  They’re located just north of New Prague, on Drexel Ave. (Co. Rd. 15), just past 260th (Co. Rd. 2).

cedar-summit

 

 

 


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace