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):

RUS’ Cardinal-Hickory Creek meetings

Filed under:Cardinal-Hickory,Laws & Rules,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,RUS EIS,Upcoming Events,Wisconsin — posted by admin on December 7, 2016 @ 7:16 am

20161206_1655071

Slow evening at Rural Utilities Service’s (RUS) scoping meeting for the Environmental Impact Statement for the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission project.  RUS is involved because Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC) plans to hold a 9% undivided interest in the project, and are looking to RUS to provide the funding.  RUS held two more meetings, following on prior meetings October 31 and November 1 & 2, because their notice for those meetings went out a day late, so another Notice went out:

Notice of Intent To Hold Public Meetings and Prepare Environmental Impact Statement (October 18, 2016

Second Notice_2016-27988-2

Where’s my prior post on these meetings?  It’s gone! Here’s the dates and locations (click for larger version) — the last one is tomorrow in Barneveld, Wisconsin:

noice12-6-7-2016

So to make quick work of it, this is cut and pasted from the RUS Cardinal Hickory Creek page:

I had a quick chat with Dennis Rankin who’s in charge of the environmental review on this and the Dairyland Q-1 South projects, and had a few quick things to register, particularly that ATC has announced that the project is delayed:

ATC postpones Cardinal-Hickory Creek project – The Dodgeville Chronicle -Dodgeville, WI

I had this article and a few comments to add tonight, and will file more detailed comments before the deadline — now January 6, 2017.

Overland-Legalectric Preliminary Comments Cardinal-Hickory Creek(don’t worry, I’ll get this looking pretty by the deadline!)

20161206_1654551

On the way in, there was new transmission marching across the countryside, so ugly:

xmsn-mvp

And look how close to this house in New Vienna, right up near the garage, and not far from the house either — this line cut right through the middle of town:

20161206_1550331

20161206_1551041

newvienna1

But all in all, it was a beautiful day for a drive today!

20161206_1543442

CapX 2020 files going into recycling & dumpster…

Filed under:Cost Recovery,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Nuts & Bolts,Reports - Documents,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on September 18, 2016 @ 3:08 pm

rocktenn

The CapX 2020 project has been a part of my life for over 12 years… and now it’s mostly up and running.  So I’ve spent the day digging through the dusty files.  What a mess.  Boxes and boxes and boxes.

Image result for CapX 2020

That’s a map from 2007 or so with coal plants ID’d from the MISO queue, some up and running, many not (good!).  The north/south line along the MN and ND/SD border is missing.  The North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin legs are all permitted too, much constructed.  Well played, Xcel.

During the Certificate of Need proceeding, we were not able to address the bulk power transfer aspect of this, because after all, “it terminates in Wisconsin.”

terminatelax

Meanwhile, Xcel Energy’s rate case based on its e21 Initiative whines that the grid is only 55% utilized!

55

You’re not going to be efficient if you’re reliant on massive transmission lines, DOH!  Oh well, we knew all this, and yet here we are, billions of dollars of “wires in the air” and the bills just now arriving.  Xcel argued that No CapX 2020 should be excluded:

miso-mvp

But CapX 2020’s Minnesota Brookings – Hampton transmission line is part of MISO’s MVP 17 project portfolio!  DOH!  And the judge apparently missed that Xcel brought up both CapX 2020 cost recovery and MISO MVP cost recovery in their direct testimony!

Oh, but it doesn’t end there…

No CapX 2020 was not allowed to intervene in the rate case and address transmission recovery, after all, the permits have been granted, so WHY DOES NO CAPX EVEN EXIST?!?!?  So said the judge:

objection1

Oh well…

Remember their shindig on Tuesday:

September 26, 2016

Time?  They’re not telling…

Hampton Substation

Highway 52 and 215th Street (N. of Hwy. 50)

 

September 26 — Mark Your Calendars!!

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,News coverage,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on September 16, 2016 @ 11:50 am

hamptonsubstation

CapX 2020/Xcel Energy is holding a PR shindig, firing up the Hampton – La Crosse leg of its transmission build-out.  Their scheme, their scam, is nothing to celebrate.  But yes, there’s an event coming up… and it should be appropriately observed… where did I put that “No CapX 2020” banner?

September 26, 2016

Time?  They’re not telling…

Hampton Substation

Highway 52 and 215th Street (N. of Hwy. 50)

This project has been 12 years of my life… first got wind of it in 2004 at a MAPP NM-SPG meeting, though really, it was apparent with the release of the WIREs-WRAO Report from 1998.  That was 18 years ago.  Transmission is not rocket science!  As we say, “It’s all connected!”  Oh, but wait… for the purposes of the Minnesota Certificate of Need proceeding, we couldn’t connected all the dots, and the CapX folks insisted that it only went to La Crosse!!!  Oh, please…

terminatelax

Anyway, the planed shindig was reported in the Rochester Post Bulletin:

Nice try, Tim. My identity is a more closely guarded secret than Colonel Sanders’ recipe. But if you’d like to send me a piece of cake, I can’t stop you.

Have messages in to both Tim Carlsbad and Grant Stevenson, but the timing is top secret, no invitation is forthcoming, so I guess I’ll just have to crash.  Tom Hillstrom quit, went to Met Council, and is now back with Xcel as contractor, is he in on this?  Better check with “Hilly” too!

Where’s the Hampton substation?  As you approach from the south on Hwy. 52, north of Hwy. 50, there’s this ugly Corten steel “Gateway to the Metro” of transmission towers, with the Hampton on the west side, at 215th Street — can’t miss it:

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20140411_150213_resized

DSCN0155

ATC’s Construction Meeting and “Economic Planning”

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Upcoming Events,Wisconsin — posted by admin on April 7, 2016 @ 2:29 pm

ATCBuilding

American Transmission Company (ATC) is holding a “Construction Meeting” about the Badger Coulee transmission project on April 14, an open house from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Town of Springfield Town Hall, 6157 County Highway P, Dane County, Wisconsin.

ATC to host construction meeting in Springfield

 

ATC is also holding a round or two of planning meetings, and the next “Customer and Stakeholder” Meeting is planned for April 19, 2016, from 1-3 p.m. at ATC HQ in Pewaukee.

What’s important about this is that in addition to the annual “10 Year Assessment,” they’re also doing “Economic Planning.”

2015 10-Year Assessment Summary

2016 10-Year Assessment Study Design

What goes on at these ATC “stakeholder” meetings?

2-24-2016_Compiled Meeting Questions and Comments

Here are materials for that 2-24-2016 meeting:

Meeting Agenda

ATC 2015 Assessment Summary Presentation

2016 Assessment Preliminary Study Design

ATC MTEP Appendix Data

ATC 2015 Economic Planning Study Results

ATC 2016 Economic Planning Study Kickoff

Here’s ATC’s Annual Report:  ATC releases 2015 Annual Report

They have an entire page on “Economic Planning” and the entire notion of “Economic Planning” goes to the private purpose of transmission, moving bulk power for profit.  That’s very different than the regulated utilities’ need to supply their native (captive) load with electricity.  The wholesale market was deregulated, electricity is now on economic dispatch, and the basis of electric generation, transmission, distribution, and use, is fundamentally changed.  As a society, we’ve not yet grasped this concept, and what it means to us as ratepayers, landowners, and humans.

In light of this, Comments made at a recent Transmission Confab and captured by RTO Insider are enlightening (though note the questioning is from Allohina, a witness and proponent in the CapX 2020 buildout, it’s questionable, because they’ve already got their project!):

RTO Insider

Economic benefits have been sketchy at best for some projects, and so grossly overstated as to be hilarious in others, where it’s clear that the benefits go to the generators as decreased production costs:

ICF-Independent Assessment MISO Benefits

As above, ATC is hosting another “Customer and Stakeholder” Meeting on April 19, 2016, from 1-3 p.m.  The ATC page says it’s at ATC HQ in Pewaukee, WI, but ATC HQ address is not listed on the ATC site, and there are two ATC offices on Ridgeview Parkway, close, but which?  Message sent, will report back.

ATCBuilding

Scoping Mtg. TOMRROW – Rochester Gas Pipeline

Filed under:Laws & Rules,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on February 28, 2016 @ 8:13 pm

Map

Tomorrow it’s a meeting or two about a pipeline, but that’s not all… it’s about a gas plant at the beginning of this pipeline route!

First the pipeline — Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation is the applicant, and it’s PUC Docket 15-8858, a docket for a pipeline route on the west and southern edges of Rochester, Minnesota, starting at the “Westside” substation on the west side of town, along the big gas transmission pipeline that runs parallel with Hwy. 14.  From there it goes a section west, and then south and around to the east.

mtg

Meeting Presentation for tomorrow

And lo and behold, last week, Rochester Public Utilities announced its long planned natural gas generating plant for that same location as this pipeline starts, at 19th St. NW and 60th Ave. N. W.  This proposed plant was at issue during the CapX 2020 Transmission Certificate of Need docket, where RPU discussed building a natural gas plant in its RPU_34945_Report_June_2005.  Here’s the 2015_update_rpu_infrastructure_study.  During the CapX 2020 CoN hearing, that notion was pooh-poohed, but we knew better.  And voila, here it is!

First they brought it up at RPU Board meetings over the summer:

PUB- Resolution 4315 – Resolution: West Side Energy Station

Westside Energy Station Epc – Bids in Minnesota

And finally, last week, RPU made it’s plans to add new natural gas generation VERY public:

A New Generating Station for Rochester

Back in that CapX 2020 Certificate of Need proceeding (PUC Docket 06-1115) it was an issue because the “need” used to justify CapX 2020 transmission to Rochester was so very small that it could be met with this RPU planned natural gas plant.  Here’s what I wrote in the 2008 No CapX 2020 Initial Brief:

Most importantly, the need is overstated. In addition to modeling performed with all local generation off line, infrastructure planned was not considered. For example, in Rochester, there are FOUR 161kV lines planned that were not taken into consideration, and which could well serve Rochester’s needs. In addition, RPU, the Rochester utility, has planned for new generation at the West Side substation (Ex. 100, lower left corner), where two of those four lines will be connection to serve Rochester. Ex. 157, Report on the Electric Utility Baseline Strategy for 2005-2030 Electric Infrastructure, June 2005, Summary p. S-21-S-22. Specifically, this report recommends actions that have been taken by RPU, resulting in the Westside Substation and transmission from it to serve the city:

Consider taking options on approximately 100 acres of land within the RPU service territory near a high pressure gas line and transmission facilities under RPU control for installation of future combustion turbine capacity.

…Around 2014, assuming that new generation is required in accordance with the long range plan and that generation has not been installed in connection with the transmission issue, begin the process for installation of approximately 50-100MW of natural gas-fired generation for an inservice date of 2018. The generation should be low capital cost with as low an operating cost as is consistent with expected operating capacity factors.

Id.

Local load as a reason for CapX is not supported by the evidence. The need, even if assumed, can be met in other ways, and these small amounts, if assumed in its entirety, cannot justify a project of this size.

And here we are, deja vu all over again.  Guess we need to make sure that phased and connected actions are considered in this pipeline environmental review.

And another thing, this pipeline environmental review — the PUC, despite that Sandpiper case, ordered a “comparative environmental analysis.”

PUC_Order – February 3, 2016, PUC eDockets #20162-117966-01

Nope, that “environmental review lite” is NOT sufficient…

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

NSP_Stack

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

Next up, ATC and ITC’s Cardinal — Hickory Creek

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on April 13, 2015 @ 8:01 am

20150412_160822_resizedThat’s Genoa, looking a lot like the Allis reactor that used to be up at Elk River.  Good to see Irv and George at the table yesterday!

Greetings from utility infrastructure land… next up in the transmission build-out is the Cardinal-Spring Green-Hickory Creek, or whatever name they’re putting on it these days.  I don’t like the way they reverse it as if it’s going east to west when we know better, it’s export from Iowa and the Dakotas and maybe even Minnesota!  It’s to go from west of Dubuque (connecting to MISO MVP 4, I presume) to Cardinal (which is essentially Madison).

Hickory Creek

Cardinal-Hickory Creek website

So later today, I’ll try to get a photo of that Dubuque substation and where it might cross (there’s a big coal plant downtown).  It’ll mean another crossing of the Mississippi by a 345 kV transmission line.  It’ll probably also mean another eagle take permit.  Just yesterday, between Red Wing and La Crosse, I counted 10 eagle nests, but the best one we saw was #11 near Genoa, with two eagles sitting in the tree next to the nest.

Here’s the map, and below is the Stockman plant in Cassville, with a substation that could be used, it’s in the study area on the northern end of the “study area” abutting the Mississippi (so where’s the map for the Iowa parts of this project?):

Dubuque-CardinalAnd here’s the Stockman plant, in Cassville — I wonder, do they know this could be coming their way?  Supposedly they’re doing the “public involvement” piece right now…  There is transmission going both ways out of that plant, across the river and up the bluff…

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Great GRE meeting tonight for Tyrone xmsn project!

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on January 27, 2015 @ 9:43 pm

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Tonight Great River Energy held a great meeting on the Tyrone Transmission Project, a “little” 69 kV project along Myrick Street in Le Sueur.  For such a short project, what a turn out — this was towards the end, when I got there, it was standing room only, down the hall, all the way to the door.

What was great about this is the level of understanding the folks have, not the GRE folks of course, but the regular people looking for information about how this project came to be proposed, and what they could do about it.  LOVE IT when that happens!  Questions like:

  • Will penta poles leach into the groundwater (10′ well in area!)?
  • If they want to power the currently non-existent warehouse district, why isn’t substation over there?
  • If this is for Cambria, shouldn’t the substation be on their property?
  • About that underground line serving Cambria, what’s up with that?
  • If they’re wanting to serve Cambria and the warehouse district on the other side, why tap into the existing 69kV so far to the east and then run all that way back west, isn’t there a better way to do it?

There should be a good article about this in the Le Sueur News-Herald tomorrow or Thursday.

Here’s what they think they want to do:

TyroneXmsn

Here’s the Notice blurb they sent out:

Tyrone Transmission Upgrade — pdoc749712

And the GRE Tyrone Transmission Project page!

Next stop, Le Sueur County Zoning & Planning for the first step towards a Conditional Use Permit.  Are we having fun yet?

Remember Myrick Street??? Here we go again!

Filed under:Upcoming Events — posted by admin on January 25, 2015 @ 3:52 pm

TyroneXmsn

This is a new transmission line proposed by Great River Energy in the Myrick area, just up the hill from the Minnesota River in Le Sueur. Great River Energy is holding an open house on Tuesday!

Great River Energy Open House

Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

at the

Le Sueur Library

118 Ferry Street

Le Sueur, Minnesota

Here’s the Notice blurb they sent out:

Tyrone Transmission Upgrade — pdoc749712

And the GRE Tyrone Transmission Project page!

What they’re not mentioning is that this project will require approval by the County, and that application is expected to be filed some time after the Open House.  So mark your calendars, and keep an eye out!

Le Sueur County Planning and Zoning page

Le Sueur County Planning Commission

Le Sueur County Commissioners

And let’s wax nostalgic for a bit… remember that old, rejected, Myrick CapX 2020 proposal?  Here it is below, an addition DURING THE HEARING, long after the opportunity to add new route options had been closed.  It was added after Xcel finally got the word that the DOT would not allow them to ram through their Le Sueur Scenic Easements.  We’re on some familiar territory here:

map-lesueur-myrickroute

Here’s an article about this Tyrone line in the Le Sueur News-Herald:

Open house on proposed electric transmission line near Le Sueur planned

Posted: Saturday, January 10, 2015 12:42 pm | Updated: 1:52 pm, Mon Jan 12, 2015.


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace