Decreased demand continues…

Filed under:News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on April 21, 2013 @ 1:30 pm


How did this happen?  Somebody’s sleeping at the switch!  I forgot to post the link for the 2012 Earnings Call transcript from Seeking Alpha! And it’s a doozy.  You can find the FULL TRANSCRIPT HERE.

Northern States Power – Minnesota estimates a  decrease of demand in Minnesota of about 1.2% (-1.2%) in 2013:

Andrew M. Weisel – Macquarie Research

A few questions on behalf of Angie Storozynski. First question is you talked quite a bit qualitatively about the load growth expectations, but can you give us the number that you’re expecting for 2013 and in the long term?

Teresa S. Madden – Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Sure. I mean, in terms of 2013, maybe if I just talk about it by operating company. We’re — for NSP-Minnesota, we’re looking at a decrease of about 1.2%, NSP-Wisconsin expected to be flat. In Colorado, just under 1%, actually, that’s more about 0.6%. And in Colorado — I mean, excuse me, and in Texas, over — just around 3%, I would say. So overall, we expect it to come in between up to 0.5% on a consolidated basis.

XEL Earnings Call, January 31, 2013.

Benjamin G. S. Fowke – Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Well, everything — overall, on the residential side, it’s safe to say everything is pretty flat. So then you move to the C&I side, and actually, the strongest C&I growth was in Wisconsin this year, followed by Texas, I think, followed by Colorado, which had small growth. And then we were — we didn’t grow at all in Minnesota for a number of reasons. That said, the economy definitely saw some signs of improvement in 2012. Housing permits were up. Job growth was better than the national average. Unemployment was equal to or better than the national average. So I think the economies are in decent shape across all our jurisdictions. Doesn’t necessarily mean it translates to high sales growth. And that’s consistent with our forecast. I mean, we’re not anticipating that we’re going to see a tremendous rebound in sales, even as the economies start to improve. I mean, I think, that’s our new normal, frankly.

That’s also reflected in their SEC filing showing decreased peak demand, from 9,792 in 2011 to 9,475 in 2012, and a forecast of 9,215 for 2013:

Northern States Power 10-K (2012).  Those are numbers I like to see.

Meanwhile, for example, Xcel has produced “forecasting” for the Hollydale Transmission Project that shows another picture entirely — that’s because the Hollydale application is based on old and outdated forecasts from 2006, the peak demand prior to the 2007 economic crash, and bases its need claim on a forecast of 1% annual growth in peak demand:

Hollydale Application, p. 42-48; 50-57; see also 12, 14, 35, 38; see also Table 2 and Table 3, p. 48-49.  Xcel’s “Hollydale Need Addendum,” dated January 24, 2013, exacerbates this error claiming a 1.8% growth rate and using a 1.8% growth projection for its forecasts.  Michlig Direct, Schedule 2, Hollydale Need Addendum, p. 24.  For the full Hollydale docket, go HERE and search for CoN Docket 12-113 or Routing Docket 11-152.

Remember the 2.49% annual increase of peak demand that CapX 2020 is based on?  What would this “Percent Load Growth Over Time” chart look like with a -1.2% and no expected improvement for the foreseeable future?

MUST ATTEND – PPSA Annual Hearing

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on December 6, 2012 @ 5:09 am


Now’s the time to tell your friends,

At our favorite agency…

It’s the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing!

PPSA Annual Hearing Notice – 2012

This is the annual time to tell the agency what does work and what does not work with the Power Plant Siting Act.  After the hearing, now officiated by an Administrative Law Judge (new as of a few years ago), a report is issued to the PUC and then ???  It used to go to the legislature, guess I have to find out what happens now.

December 21, 2012 beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Public Utilities Commission

3rd Floor Large Hearing Room

121 – 7th Place East

St. Paul, MN  55101

Each of you who have experience siting and routing of large electric energy facilities — this is the time to weigh in.  You can do it in person, and you can do it by filing comments.

Here is the Power Plant Siting Act, which governs the siting and routing of large energy facilities:

Power Plant Siting Act – 216E

Here are some prior dockets (to access the entire docket, individual comments, etc., go to :

2000 Summary of Proceedings

2000 Report EQB

2001 Summary of Proceedings

2001 Report EQB

2002 Summary of Proceedings

2002 Report to EQB

2003 Summary of Proceedings

2003 Report to EQB

2004 Summary of Proceedings

2004 Report to EQB

2005 Report to PUC

2006 Report to PUC – Docket 06-1733

2007 Report to PUC – Docket 07-1579

2008 Report to PUC – Docket 08-1426

2009 Report to PUC – Docket 09-1351

2010 Report to PUC – Docket 10-222

2011 Report to PUC – Docket 11-324

The Rulemaking Petition I’d filed in 2010 to address some of these problems has moved into the preliminary stage of a proposal, and the proposal is dreadful, pulling back and lessening opportunities for the public to participate, removing the “participant” option from ways to participate in the actual PPSA evidentiary hearings, where members of the public could question witnesses, VERY distressing:

OAH Rulemaking Request for Comments

OAH Rulemaking Draft Changes

Judge Lipman is in charge of this thus far, and he has said he is not publishing the comments received on the OAH website, so ??? Who knows.  Anyway, some time in the future there will be a formal rulemaking proposal published and we can formally comment again.  NOW is the time to register comments on their Draft Changes before they announce what changes they really want to make.

It’s long overdue to file rulemaking petitions for other aspects of PPSA or siting/routing.  Two weeks to get that ready!

At times it’s shouting in the wilderness, but we’ve got to weigh in or they think everything is hunky-dory and we all know it isn’t.

Xcel Energy 3Q info is out!

Filed under:Cost Recovery,News coverage,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on October 25, 2012 @ 10:22 am


I love it when this happens.  Yet again, Xcel demonstrates that demand is DOWN.


Xcel Energy’s 3Q Report

Xcel’s 3Q Earnings Release Presentation

Here is their Sales (Decline) info (click for larger graphic):

RUS Draft EIS is released… almost…

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,PUC Docket,Reports - Documents,RUS EIS,Wisconsin — posted by admin on December 15, 2011 @ 11:23 am

Just got word that Notice for the USDA’s RUS Public Meetings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is in the Zumbrota Shopper, and that the DEIS is released.


HUH?  I looked at the link in the notice… nada… turns out, per USDA’s Stephanie Strength, “The Federal Register notice and posting of the DEIS are not scheduled until Friday.”

So hold your horses!

The Comment period is open for 45 days following publication of US EPA’s notice… probably Friday too.

Also, there’s nothing in the Notice that says where to send Comments.  It says for further info or to request a copy of the DEIS to contact Stephanie Strength:

Public meetings are scheduled for evenings of the week of January 9, all week, with an “open house” from 5-6 p.m. and a “discussion period” from 6-8 p.m.

January 9, 2012, 5-8 p.m.
Alma High SchoolGym
S1618 State Rd 35

January 10, 2012, 5-8 p.m.
Wanamingo Community Center
401 Main Street
Wanamingo, MN

January 11, 2012, 5-8 p.m.
Cannon Falls High School Cafeteria
820 Minnesota St
Cannon Falls, MN

January 12, 2012, 5-8 p.m.
American LegionHall
2153rd St SW
Plainview, MN

January 13, 2012,  5-8 p.m.
Centerville/Town of Trempealeau Community Center
W24854 StateRd 54/93
Galesville, WI

Every time I try to PDF the Notice, Firefox crashes.  Here’s what I’ve got, it’s hard to read.  When I get a better copy, I’ll post that.

Sort of legible Notice, p. 1

A not so legible Notice, p. 2

What Xcel says about local need in LaCrosse

Filed under:Fargo-St Cloud,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Reports - Documents,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on September 1, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

The new “need” report is out, Xcel Energy filed it yesterday, in WISCONSIN, and it’s a doozy, reverse engineering, shifting nuts in the shell game, and pinning the tail on the moving donkey..


Xcel Supplemental Need Study – August 2011

When I got to p. 34, well, I pert near blew a gasket, because it’s more made up numbers, and if you look at just a few simple documents for LaCrosse “need” that THEY filed:

Here’s what it looks like on a spreadsheet (I’ve not added in the King Direct Sched 2 for Rochester yet):

Comparison of Certificate of Need and CPCN substation peaks


And this filing is not just about LaCrosse “need” that doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.  A lot of this, in my view the more important pat, is about a shift in rationale/justification to market desires, laid out in the MISO “Benefits” report (check “Conclusions” on p. 14 and at end):

ICF – MISO Benefits Analysis Study

It’s also clear here, found googling the “new” MVP transmission cost allocation absurdity:

MISO – MVP transmission powerpoint – August 2011

What struck me was this succinct description of what’s happening in transmission – take a look at slide 4 f the powerpoint:

Conditions Precedent to Increased Transmission Build

Before transmission is built a number of conditions must be met

– Increased consensus on energy policies (current and future)

– A robust business case that demonstrates value sufficient to support the construction of the transmission project

– A regional tariff that matches who benefits with who pays over time

– Cost recovery mechanisms that reduce financial risk

It’s all about market, it’s all about transfer capability/capacity.  Well DUH, but they’re out and out saying it here.  And an important part is also connected here on the first page:

As outlined below, the presence of a 345kV line from Minnesota into LaCrosse compbined with the expected LaCrosse to Madison 345kV line will provide significant regional benefits that will not be achievable with the completion of an alternate project.

DUH!  On to p. 4:

Transfer study analysis indicates the additional capacity, depending on the eastern termination, could be as high as 1200 MW over current system levels… This 1200 MW increase is not realized if a lower voltage alternative is constructed initially.

DUH! And it gets even more hilarious on p. 25:

For 2019, CapX 2020 additions, including the Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse 345kV transmission project and the Brookings County-win Cities 345kV project, relieve the Minnesota trapped generation identified in the 2010 and 2014 models.  Congestion in SE Wisconsin expands geographically to all of eastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


This filing refers to the “State of the Market Report for the MISO Electricity Markets” published in June 2011.  Here it is, have fun:

2010 MISO State of the Market Report – FINAL

And as you’re reading it, ask what precisely congestion has to do with reliability, and why we’re using market concepts to drive build-out of transmission.  There’s no relation between FERC economic policy and NERC reliability criteria, the economic market drivers are not related to state need and routing criteria — market wants are not “need.”  Makes me want to puke!

Fiber Optic & Transmission – OOPS!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Fargo-St Cloud,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on October 11, 2010 @ 8:13 am


This is in the OOPS! category.  Thanks to Tim Carlsgaard for reminding me of this report that I’d mentioned at a hearing recently — it’s got one of those technical findings that cracks me up:

The issue of safety of service personnel and the public arises in situations when low-voltage power is brought from a distribution system to the vicinity of high-voltage power lines to operate the electronic equipment. A fault or a switching surge on the high-voltage line may induce very high voltages in the low-voltage system.  This can cause damage to the equipment and also present a hazard to nearby humans.  In addition, concerns exist that the fault current flowing to ground in situations of high tower footing impedance can raise the potential of the local ground (GPR) to hazardous levels.  If the low-voltage supply system is also grounded at the fault location, the GPR can be transferred long distances through the low-voltage neutral (Transferred Potential) into the distribution system and into residences.  Experience has shown that these situations are rare, but can be very hazardous, leading to electrocution and residential fires, when they occur.  At this time, no obvious solutions can be suggested.

Here’s the full study:

EPRI – Fiber Optic Cables in Overhead Transmission Corridors

Lies, more lies… RPU demand forecast released

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on August 2, 2009 @ 8:37 am


Utilities’ demand forecasts are getting closer to the truth, exposing the CapX 2020 demand forecast lies.

An example in point, from RPU’s blog post:

Draft Infrastructure Plan Update presented at the July 28th Board Meeting

Color me PISSED OFF!!!  Yes, I know, it’s nothing new, but I really hate it when these lies of “increasing demand” are conveniently exposed in new “updated” forecasts  — after the PUC denies multiple Motions for Reconsideration regarding decreased demand.  CapX 2020 depends on a three part claim of need, and claimed that Rochester had an URGENT need for electricity due to increasing demand and they needed CapX 2020 to get enough juice in the area.  Yes, DUH, we know that is not true.  We know the forecasts are inflated.  The CapX 2020 record already reflects that the claimed Rochester local demand was utter bullshit, that the claim did not take the new 161kV lines into consideration, that the claim did not take the planned 100MW “West Side” gas plant into consideration, and that the forecasts were overestimated…

And folks, here’s the proof, straight from the horse’s… errrr… mouth, yeah, that’s it:

Rochester Public Utilities 2009 Infrastructure Update (using 2006 data)


Click here for RPU’s page with its forecasting and planning reports.

And I’ve heard that Comments will be taken on this, now’s your chance — I’ll post an email to send Comments to soon:

Tony Benson
Infrastructure Planning Comment
Rochester Public Utilities
4000 East River Road N.E.
Rochester, MN  55906
or email to:

Here’s the old report — we’ll be comparing:

RPU 2005 Report (using 2005 data)

And why am I so pissed off, you may ask?

It’s simple.  Here’s a little chart to elucidate:


And where did these numbers come from?  From these charts in the RPU reports!  First, the 2005 RPU Report:

2005-tableii-1And for comparison, the 2009 RPU Report just released:



Thanks to a little birdie, I have another cute little chart from RPU’s annual report:

RPU Annual Report – 2008 “Thinking Global, Acting Local”

rpuannualreportNote the 30+% decrease in Wholesale Sales?  Note the decreasing demand since 2007?  Sound familiar?

There’s even more in the 2009 MAPP Load & Capability Report.  In the MAPP L&C, check out the RPU pages starting on p. II-307, and see if that makes any sense to you.  It shows a lot lower demand numbers, it shows sales, but it doesn’t show purchases, and the numbers don’t add up to those in their own reports.  Their demand is mixed in with other nearby utilities and that must be where it is, but you’d think it would show up in purchases or sales…

So, looking at the new RPU report, yup, Rochester sure needs CapX 2020’s bundled and “double circuit ready” 345kV transmission line, eh?


How stupid do they think we are?  And of course they wait until our Motions for Reconsideration are rejected to release this information, and remember, it’s old information at that, the 2006 numbers are the last ones before demand started going down, so real forecasts, updated with “2007-present” information, will be a lot lower.

Send your comments to RPU, and I’ll have an email address posted as soon as I can find one:

Tony Benson
Infrastructure Planning Comment
Rochester Public Utilities
4000 East River Road N.E.
Rochester, MN  55906

or email to:

Commerce issues “Scoping Document” for CapX Brookings line

Filed under:Reports - Documents — posted by admin on July 5, 2009 @ 8:50 am

The Department of Commerce has issued the Scoping Document for the CapX 2020 Brookings line.

Commerce Scoping Decision – June 30, 2009

Look at this list of what’s outside the scope:


The “No Build” option is specifically excluded, and yet got zero serious attention in the “Environmental Report” for the Certificate of Need.  In the ER, they assumed applicants’ stated “need” and so dissed the “no build” saying it couldn’t meet all three types of need that applicants were claiming.  YEAH, SO???!!!???  And the PUC approves that lame excuse for environmental review of a project with this extreme level of impacts?

This whole siting docket is such utter bullshit.  If you recall, this is the docket where they had only two Citizen Advisory Task Force groups, despite interest across the line from east to west.  AND, this is the docket where both, not one, but BOTH, Citizen Advisory Task Force groups REFUSED to vote on route segments Commerce put before them — as I understand it, it was because of the way Commerce framed the “choices” so as not to be choices at all.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t there and, well, is it just me, or do the notes from the Task Force meetings refuse to come up for you too?

Minnesota River Crossings to New Prague Task Force Page

Lake Marion to Hampton Task Force Page

I’ll keep working on pulling those notes up from these pages in my spare time… SNORT!

CapX in the STrib

Filed under:Laws & Rules,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on December 25, 2008 @ 7:40 am

Merry Xmas and a lump of coal for CapX 2020.  They’re in the South Metro section of the STrib today, as if it’s just a South Metro project — where’s the West Metro, North Metro, and Greater Minnesota reports?  I think that means it only goes into print version sent to certain “South Metro” areas, and this deserves much wider coverage. The article says response is “muted.”  Hmmmmm, muted by what?  There are two Intervenors in the Certificate of Need proceeding saying NO to CapX2020, NoCapX and U-CAN.  Time to let David Peterson know what you think about CapX 2020!

David Peterson, Star Tribune


dapeterson [at]

Anyway, here’s the article:

The inside line on the south metro power line


December 24, 2008

Thousands of landowners in the rural southern metro area are days away from learning whether their acreage is being eyed for the pathway of a huge new power line that will stretch from South Dakota to Dakota County. Here’s what to expect:


Eleven utility companies have banded together to ask the state of Minnesota for permission to run a 345-kilowatt electrical power line from Brookings, S.D., to the Hampton area of southern Dakota County. They say it’s needed to serve not only a growing population but one that is sucking up far more power than it ever has. “In 30 years we’ve gone from 30 percent of homes with air conditioners to 70 percent,” said Randy Fordice, a spokesman for the CapX 2020 group. “We’ve gone from no computers in the home to two or three.”


The companies say today’s power lines do not affect farming much at all: There’s a single slender pole, and farmers can plow right up to it. They are seeking to follow roadways and the like as much as possible to minimize the annoyance.


That is what is soon to be disclosed, triggering much more intense public interest. CapX officials up to now have only been talking about vague corridors, one through Scott County and the other through Rice and LeSueur. But soon about 3,000 landowners will get letters saying they’ve been picked. “A big challenge has been where to cross the Minnesota River,” said Craig Poorker of Great River Energy, who’s working on routing the line. “One option is near soon-to-be-abandoned sewer ponds near Le Sueur; and there’s a northerly one that follows an existing 69-kilovolt line near Belle Plaine. We’re required to look for existing crossings.”


Some landowners will consider it a holiday gift of sorts: There is a one-time payment for a 150-foot-wide easement. The companies won’t give even a range of dollars, saying there are too many unknowns, including how much of a person’s land is affected.


The companies will file a permit request by early January naming a specific route. There will be public meetings this winter. A judge will preside over preliminary proceedings, and the state’s Public Utilities Commission will hold hearings in mid-2009, issuing a decision by late next year or early 2010.


So far, it’s muted. “We’ve been tracking this for the last couple of years,” said Scott County’s planning manager Brad Davis. “We are looking at the impacts, including how it will affect some existing and planned roads.” And closer to the scene? “I haven’t heard any complaints yet,” said Dick Klehr, a township supervisor in Belle Plaine township. “But no one knows exactly where it’s going. “It’s like when the pipeline went through for oil: Many were upset at first, but it was really just a few people working others up without knowing the full facts. The complaints turned to compliments once the thing got started. “I have no idea of the dollars involved, and that was true with the pipeline also. No one knew until the company met with farmers. It varied a lot, but it ended up being thousands per acre for some.”


The utilities involved in the so-called CapX 2020 project have an extensive website full of maps, photos and other background information at

Questions to: or 1-888-473-2279.

Train Wreck — Transmission for wind (NOT)

Filed under:Reports - Documents — posted by admin on June 11, 2008 @ 6:36 am

We know CapX 2020 isn’t for wind, even Tim Carlsgaard admits that he can’t say that it’s for wind…

Here are a couple of things that arrived in the inbox recently about this, a little light reading for a summer morning.

The first one is from my favorite utility toady, Ed Garvey, “Director and Acting Reliability Administrator” of the Minnesota Office of Energy Security. Garvey is the one who’s been interceding on the Mesaba Project and Big Stone transmission and who knows what else, and if his name is on it, that’s enough to put up my red flags… This one, well here it is:

Potential for and Barriers to State Interconnection Jurisdiction

It starts with a legal analysis, with a lead-in that’s factually incorrect and drawing conclusions about the cause of the MISO backlog of transmission interconnection requests, saying, really, dig this, “… much of which is due to a lack of sufficient existing transmission capability to support the explosion of wind-powered electric generation projects proposed in response to State policies…” Earth to Mars, folks, the backlog is due to the massive amounts of generation in queue and utility and developer desire for bulk power transfer, which is straining the system which is designed, a perfectly adequate system for serving local load and shifting power around during outages. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is a train headed for Garvey and his absurd proposal — at the very end are the comments of Rick Gonzalez, who, though he’s usually on “the other side,” always tells it like it is:

There is only one power system. To suggest that there can be multiple “on-ramps” within the same geographic area, just at different voltage levels, each with different interconnection procedures, makes little sense… To carry the highway analogy one step further, there is a rather obvious reason why each car has only one steering wheel, and one set of pedals.

… to suggest that circumventing the MISO interconnection process will somehow allow for significant amounts of new generation to be reliably connected sooner, is wishful thinking. The fundamental problem is that we do not have adequate transmission system capability to accommodate most of the proposed or potential new generation, nor do we have agreement on how much capability we should be planning for, or when to implement it.

Making it easier to connect new generation in an essentially unsupervised manner outside of the organized interconnection process will not help; rather, it is an invitation to a “train wreck” type of situation with respect to system reliability, safety, and economy, and also is totally contrary to the chronological queue management concept mandated by FERC…

… In summary, the concept of having some sort of alternative interconnection process certainly has a certain allure to it, given the frustrating situation we’re in (and have created for ourselves with FERC’s help). However, the physical realities of the power system do not yield to legalistic arguments regarding jurisdiction. Since the challenge is primarily a technical one, it is unlikely the solution will be found in the legal field.

Yup, that about sums it up… It seems to me that what’s at issue here is that there’s a lot of coal waiting in queue, enough to gobble up any transmission added, i.e. CapX 2020, and wind is looking for a way to jump ahead of its place in queue. Am I missing something here?

Here’s another report that was in the Google Alerts today:

Optimizing Wind Transmission from Distant Wind Farms

This one I haven’t read yet… but here’s one punch line from p. 3:

Using current estimates of the cost of a wind turbine and the cost of a transmission line, we estimate that the cost of delivered power from a wind farm with about 33% capacity that is locate (sic) 1,000 miles from the customer will be about $150/MWh with almost 2/3 of the cost due to transmission. This cost does not include measures to solve the moment to moment variability of wind turbine output or the intermittency of output.

Seems to me that this is saying that it makes no economic sense to transmit wind over long distances. yeah, tell me something new…

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace