Complaint filed at FERC

Filed under:FERC — posted by admin on March 2, 2013 @ 8:47 am


Yesterday, Citizens Energy Task Force and Save Our Unique Lands filed a Complaint at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO), Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) and the CapX 2020 Applicant utilities had violated NERC reliability standards by approving the CapX 2020 Hampton-La Crosse transmission line in MTEP 08 when the knew or should have known that it would cause system instability and would not provide the transfer capability they wanted, that it wouldn’t do the job as claimed, that running a radial line to La Crosse would just bring transmission system instability to La Crosse.

Here’s the FERC Docket EL13-49-000 — CLICK HERE FOR NOTICE!

FERC Complaint – CETF and SOUL

It even made a USA Today online collection of energy news… but that was yesterday and they’ve moved on…

From La Crosse Tribune:

CapX 2020 line will create grid instability, according to opponents

In the Rochester Post Bulletin:

Citizens groups to challenge $500M CapX project

and in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Complaint: Stop Wisconsin link in CapX 2020 power line project

The 48-mile, $211 million, high-voltage line from Minnesota to Wisconsin was approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission last May. Opponents filed a lawsuit seeking a court review of the decision, but Dane County Circuit Judge Amy Smith turned down the request last October saying the lawyer who filed the case is not licensed to practice in Wisconsin.

FERC Can-O-Worms!

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Cost Recovery,FERC,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Wisconsin — posted by admin on October 24, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

The ownership mess at FERC gets curiouser and curiouser, messier and messier.  Hot off the wire is an ITC complaint against our friends at ATC:

Complaint – ITC Midwest LLC v. ATC LLC

This is another FERC docket, and to see the entire thing as it grows, GO HERE TO FERC DOCKET SEARCH, and search for docket EL13-13.

Here’s a map of the projects at issue:


What they’re saying is that as with Xcel Energy, ATC is not playing well with others.  ATC has Xcel on the western side looking for 1/2 of Badger Coulee, and now ITC is on the East (or south, depending on your perspective, the eastern terminus) looking for their piece of the pie.

In this filing is a cute map from the MTEP which shows just where the “congestion” is:


Response from Xcel about Info Requests


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.


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!

Buy the Farm at MN Appellate Court

Filed under:Appeal,Brookings Routing Docket,Cost Recovery,Fargo-St Cloud,FERC,Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on May 21, 2012 @ 2:50 pm


Last week, Thursday to be precise, the “Buy the Farm” provision under the Power Plant Siting Act and Northern States Power’s challenge to compensation avenues available to landowners electing the “Buy the Farm option under Minn. Stat. 216E.12, Subd. 4 was at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

This case stems from the St. Cloud to Monticello part of the Fargo to Monticello transmission line, the first to be permitted.  Now they’re trying to take the land.  The focus of the case is the landowners’ right to relocation compensation and other compensation, available both under Minn. Stat. ch. 117 (Minn. Stat.117.187 and 117.152), the Minnesota Uniform Relocation Act and federal law.  I don’t have a copy of the Stearns County District Court Order being appealed, but I do have a similar order that was issued in Wright County, reference in this brief:

Wright County Order – July 13, 2011

Here’s the court’s page for this case.


And here are the briefs, special thanks to a little birdie (and no thanks to our friends at NSP!):

Appellants NSP, et al., Initial Brief

Appellants NSP, et al., Initial Brief – Appendix

Respondents Enos Pudas – Brief

Respondents Hanson Stich – Brief

Appellants NSP, et al., Reply Brief and Supplemental Appendix

This case is in the news, as well it should be, it is THE appellate case of the year:

Landowners seek fair compensation for impact of CapX power line

May. 19, 2012

ROCKVILLE — Ken and Tess Koltes know the power line is coming, and they can’t stop it.

They know it’s not going to matter much whether they agree to the amount of money offered by the utility companies for the right to run the CapX 2020 line across their century dairy farm in St. Joseph Township, or whether they fight until the bitter end for every last dime.

Still, the Kolteses aren’t ready to go away quietly.

They have to live with the high-voltage transmission line scarring their rolling farm for the rest of their lives and the lives of their two sons, who started milking cows with them just two years ago. So they’re choosing to make it as difficult for the power companies as they can.

“We’ve got to do what we can,” Ken Koltes said. “We’re a small cog in the wheel, but we’ve got to try.”

The couple is among scores of Stearns and Wright county landowners caught up in a complicated legal process the CapX utilities are using to secure the land they need to build the 238-mile power line from Monticello to Fargo, N.D.

The condemnation process can be lengthy, expensive and sometimes daunting for landowners. It’s been used countless times to secure land for highways, buildings and pipelines, but rarely for high-voltage transmission lines.

In fact, this is the first time in four decades Stearns County has seen land condemned for a power line. And it’s the first test of a law passed in 1973 that allows landowners to force utility companies to buy their entire property rather than live beneath a high-voltage transmission line — an option known as “Buy the Farm.” That option has sparked legal debate and a case heard last week by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

“This is new to almost everybody involved,” said Igor Lenzner, an attorney with Rinke Noonan, a St. Cloud law firm representing dozens of landowners in CapX condemnation cases.

What makes this time different, observers say, is the sheer number of landowners and properties involved and the complexity of the cases, as well as the emotional nature of the cases.

“Nobody wants somebody to come and say, ‘Guess what? We’re buying and you’re selling. You don’t have a choice,’ ” Lenzner said.


CATFIGHT! Xcel and ATC go at it at FERC

Filed under:FERC — posted by admin on February 17, 2012 @ 9:25 pm





I love it when this happens… Xcel Energy just filed a Complaint at FERC wanting to grab its share of the Badger-Coulee transmission line, and ATC says, NO, it’s MY line, we get it ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.  Xcel wants in on this lucrative proposition, if they’re not part of it they’re essentially screwed having set up all the rest of it, and ATC is giving them, at best, the raspberries.


Here’s the poop from the FERC docket:

Complaint – Xcel Energy Services and Northern States Power Wisconsin v. American Transmission Company

Ex. A – Affidavit of Mogensen

Ex. B – Affidavit of Kline

Ex. C – MISO MVP Analysis

Ex. D – WIREs Phase II

Ex. E – CapX Vision Study

Ex. F – RES Update Study

Ex. G – Western Wisconsin Reliability Study

Ex. H – Letter – Xcel to ATC July 15, 2011

Ex. I – Letter – MISO to ATC September 15, 2011

Ex. J – Letter – ATC to MISO October4, 2011

Ex. K – Letter – MISO to ATC October 28, 2011

Ex. L – Letter – Xcel to ATC January 17, 2012

Ex. M – Service List

Ex. N – Form of Notice


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace