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

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.

 

 

CapX transmission economic benefits???

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud,News coverage — posted by admin on July 12, 2013 @ 9:44 am

birdie-eveninggrosbeak

Another little birdie reminded me of the CapX push about all the great gobs of dough that this project brings to communities.  OK, fine, we know what we are, and let’s discuss the price.

From the CapX 2020 website, here’s a blurb that I’d missed somehow, propaganda extraordinaire:

From Wisconsin, in a March article on board candidates for New Holland Township, this report:

When asked what were there 3 most important subjects, Naegle gave the following answer.  His answer illustrates the degree of impact the above board bribe can have, perhaps did have, in weakening local government resistance to the line.

NAEGLE: CapX2020. The project will be starting soon. We need to be aware of what is being done and to protect the town of Holland. The town of Holland will be receiving $615,540 as a one-time payment in mid-2013, which is to be used for parks and environmental projects. The town will also receive $72,800 annually beginning in 2014 with no specific designation. It is important to spend this money wisely. I think some of this money should go to paying down town debt. Paying on loans for the new fire truck and Holland Sand Prairie would be my priority.

Roads and sign repairs. The town is behind on road repair work for many of our town roads. Town speed, stop and street signs are also in need of repair or replacement. This is state mandated. There is a timeline to get this work done. This could be one place we could use the CapX2020 annual payment of $72,800 in the future.

The Parks Committee would like to improve our parks by putting in more equipment, shelters and signage. I would propose using the one time CAPX2020 money in the mount of $615,540 to help improve parks. To keep taxes down, a portion of this money should also be used to pay off the Holland Sand Prairie.

And in the paper in Minnesota (and while reading this, don’t forget the Xcel smashing success in slashing utility personal property tax in half or more since the 1994 Prairie Island agreement, grrrrrrrrrrrrr). from the St. Cloud Times:

CapX 2020 line bumps up area property tax revenues

The new CapX 2020 transmission line cutting across Stearns County also is generating property tax dollars to local governments.

Northern States Power, an Xcel Energy company, is the top property taxpayer in the county, replacing Crossroads owner St. Cloud Mall LLC, which had long held the top spot. Xcel is one of the utilities building the CapX line from Monticello to Fargo, N.D.

NSP will pay $3.3 million in property taxes this year on Stearns County property with a total estimated market value of $93.7 million, according to a report from the county assessor’s office. That’s up from $2.7 million in taxes paid last year.

The transmission line already is operating between Monticello and St. Cloud. Construction is underway on the stretch between Fargo and St. Cloud.

The route follows Interstate Highway 94 from Fargo to Sauk Centre, then veers south near Freeport before connecting to a new substation in St. Cloud.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue calculates the property value of utilities such as power plants and transmission lines based on their cost and the amount of income they generate. The amount of property taxes paid by Xcel next year will increase more as the remainder of the line is completed, County Assessor Gary Grossinger said.

The other taxpayers in the top 10 are CentraCare Health, Minnesota Pipeline Co., Wal-Mart, Coborn’s, St. Cloud Medical Group, IRET Properties, Cold Spring Granite Co. and Great River Energy.

CapX 2020 in the news!

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud,News coverage — posted by admin on May 15, 2013 @ 7:32 am

Yeah, I know… haven’t posted anything for a while.  But things are a happenin’ !!!

From the Echo Press in Alexandria, a Letter to the Editor:

Letter – Energy company’s actions are downright petty

To the editor:

As a retired dairy farmer, I remember the hard fought battles between family farmers and utility companies over high voltage power lines cutting across Minnesota in the 1970s.

One of the outcomes of this was the “Buy the Farm” law. Essentially, this law says that farmers and landowners have the right to require that companies purchase their entire farm if high voltage power lines are forced onto their property. The law was intended to require utilities to fully reimburse farmers and landowners for their land, relocation expenses and lost business.

When I heard that Xcel Energy and the other backers of CapX2020 are claiming that farmers are “voluntarily” relocating their farms and any reimbursements for moving expenses and lost business would be “extra compensation,” I can’t say I was surprised.

Farmers and landowners didn’t have a choice about the high voltage lines cutting across their land. It was forced upon them. The Buy the Farm law has been on the books for 35 years and Xcel Energy and the rest of them knew it.

But the energy conglomerate backing the project thinks that by using their considerable resources (Xcel Energy alone has 37 registered lobbyists in Minnesota) they can sidestep the law.

CapX2020 is estimated to cost $2.2 billion. With less than 100 landowners expected to file for relocation across the entire state, their attempt to short change farmers and landowners is downright petty.

The Minnesota House did the right thing by including in their Ag Omnibus Finance bill language that clarifies the original intent of the Buy the Farm law. That bill is in conference committee right now and the conferees from both the House and Senate should stand up for family farmers and make sure the Buy the Farm clarification is included in the final bill.

Alan Perish

Browerville, MN

Tuesday – Gov’s Environmental Review meetings begin!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Fargo-St Cloud,Uncategorized — posted by admin on November 25, 2012 @ 11:11 am

Starts in Rochester on Tuesday MORNING at 9:30 a.m.  Whose brilliant idea was that, who can show up at 9:30 a.m. on a Tuesday?

How did this slashing of environmental review, started under Pawlenty, continue under Gov. Mark Dayton?  It started right after Dayton got into office, with Executive Order 11-04:

E.O. 11-04 Establishing Goals and Procedures to Ensure that Certain Environmental Permits are Issued More Efficiently

That E.O. pushed the MPCA and DNR to ram through permits through FAST (and delay has NOT been a demonstrable problem, because the delays have been caused by applicants not providing required information) as if that “improves” environmental review.

And then comes Gov. Dayton’s Executive Order 11-32, which started this round:

Executive Order 11-32

He’s pushing for “streamlining” and those words are just so wrongheaded.  And they way he’s doing it, all this activity at the EQB making recommendations on “improving environmental review” and “governance and coordination” BEFORE they have the public meetings and this “Environmental Congress.”  So tell me, how is it that the fix isn’t in, and we’re now going through the motions after it’s already a done deal?  Do tell, how are these “oh-so-proud we’re DFL” Democrats any better than the “strip-the-funding-until-regulation-collapses” Republicans?  It’s bad news any way you look at it.

But yes, let’s look at it.

Here’s what the EQB released last week.  Deputy Commissioner Bill Grant (Settlement Agreement – ME3(Fresh Energy), Izaak Walton League, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, North American Water Office) now in charge of Energy Facilities Permitting, and Matt Langan (who now works for Xcel, so two different sources have said, way to go Matt… sigh… after blowing environmental review on CapX Hampton-La Crosse, omitting transmission where there’s a HUGE corridor, and saying there’s transmission where there is none, GOOD JOB!) were to do the “Report Card.”  They have no business doing any such thing, are uniquely disqualified.  But Matt left, leaving Bill Grant… that environmental review is in any way in his hands is disturbing.

Reading the Evaluation and Recommendations for Improving Environmental Review, maybe the Comments got through to some extent.  The ultimate recommendations are better than the draft, for sure.

OH MY!  The Recommendations for Environmental Governance and Coordination are even better, recommending no changes to recognizing that there isn’t sufficient staff to do the work.  The MPCA part could still be a problem, as it recommends MPCA address how to change, so keep on it!

Some of the meetings are this week, starting Tuesday at TOO EARLY O’CLOCK!  It looks to me that Ellen Anderson is doing for Dayton what Mike Bull did for Pawlenty (well, among other things), these dog and pony shows across the state.  I’ve been passing out handouts about this hoping to get folks to turn out and give them a piece of their mind about what “improvement” of environmental review should mean.   Handout – RW Forum

Blue Check Mark November 27 – Rochester, Wood Lake Meeting Center 9:30am – 12:00pm

Blue Check Mark November 27 – Bloomington, Normandale Community College 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Blue Check Mark November 28 – Duluth, Lake Superior College 5:30pm – 8:00pm

Blue Check Mark December 10 – Worthington, Worthington High School 3:30pm – 6:00pm

Blue Check Mark December 12 – St. Cloud, Stearns County Service Center 5:30pm – 8:00pm

Blue Check Mark December 14 – Moorhead, Minnesota State University 3:00pm – 5:30pm

Response from Xcel about Info Requests

xcel-logo

Recently, well, October 10, 2012, I sent a request to Xcel Energy for their contracts referenced in their latest Compliance Filing, specifically for each project the

Correspondence to Xcel Energy and MN Dept of Commerce Oct 10, 2012

Correspondence to Public Utilities Commission October 10, 2012

What was I asking for?  I asked Xcel Energy and the Dept. of Commerce to:

Please provide any and all New, Amended and/or Restated Project Participation Agreements, Construction Management Agreements, Transmission Capacity Exchange Agreements, and Operation and Maintenance Agreements for all segments of the CapX 2020 transmission project covered under the above-numbered Certificate of Need docket, including but not limited to Brookings –Hampton; Fargo – St. Cloud; St. Cloud – Monticello; and Hampton – Rochester – La Crosse. Please do not include those agreements filed in Appendix B of the original Certificate of Need application.

I got a response from Commerce that they had no such agreements, and it was good to get that confirmation of what I’d suspected.

More interesting, though, is that Xcel Energy, using way too many words, refuses to disclose, saying that it is “untimely and seeks confidential trade secret information that is not necessary for review of Xcel Energy’s compliance filings in this docket.”   They have made other compliance filings, and, well, it’s true, I just did this now, because a few thoughts occurred to me reading their most recent compliance filing, and if you recall, folks, I’m just one person here with office assistants without opposable thumbs, three CapX appeals, an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court, Goodhue Wind, and a hospice dog who needs help to get up the stairs, outside, and requires regular baths.  Sometimes it takes a while to get to things, sometimes it takes a while for something to sink in.  I do it when I can, and I did it.  And they don’t like it.  Oh well, guess that means I’m going to have to dig a little deeper.

Here’s their response:

Xcel Energy Response to Information Request

And it seems their collective memory needs to be refreshed:

Finally, to the extent CETF seeks to propound discovery, such request is improper because CETF is not a party in this docket.

HELLO?!?!

CETF Intervention Petition

Pre-Hearing Order – Granting CETF & MISO Petitions to Intervene – PUC Docket 06-1115

Citizens Energy Task Force is indeed a party to this docket.  So here we go again, once more with feeling:

No CapX 2020, U-CAN and CETF Comment – October 24, 2012

From the resistance, looks like Xcel Energy realizes the importance of these documents!  Onward!

Condemnation Notices going out

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Fargo-St Cloud,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Laws & Rules — posted by admin on August 28, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

high-voltage-warning-sign-s-2217

Duck and cover!  Condemnation notices are being served for the CapX 2020 Brookings-Hampton transmission line in the Redwood Falls area.

IF YOU ARE SERVED WITH A NOTICE OF CONDEMNATION GET LEGAL COUNSEL RIGHT AWAY. Do NOT sit in this, it will not go away, and there is no venue for fighting this line, it is over and done, it is coming.  You need legal help because this moves fast, the Quick Take is just that, they take it and they do it quickly.

If you are considering Buy the Farm, talk to an attorney who can advise you about it, and do it quickly.  QUICKLY, FAST.  DO NOT IGNORE THE NOTICE.  There is only a 60 day window from the date you are served to properly elect the Buy the Farm option.

It’s important to get legal counsel because Xcel’s land acquisition people have been trying to limit what compensation landowners can get.  There have been cases in the District Court on the St. Cloud-Monticello line, where landowners won, and then Xcel dragged it to Appellate Court (hey, can’t have landowners win, after all),  and the Appellate Court tossed out the landowners win, so now it’s headed to the Supreme Court.

Wright County Order – July 13, 2011

Buy the Farm – NSP v. Aleckson, Pudas, Hanson, et al.

This is a serious problem for landowners, and many of the clients I represent are very concerned and looking at options to help.

PLEASE, again, if you’ve been served, do NOT delay in getting legal counsel.  And caution, I’ve seen evidence in both Minnesota and Wisconsin of non-attorneys jumping into the fray and taking landowners money to “represent” them in condemnation proceedings, and that’s UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW, and worse, landowners have been screwed.  Make sure you’re dealing with an attorney licensed to practice in your state and who has eminent domain experience.

Complaints about Unauthorized Practice of Law should be sent to:

Minnesota – Lawyers Board of Professional Responsibility


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace