Found MidAmerican’s MVP 3 & 4 Substation

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on April 14, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

Mystery solved???  I think so… deep breathe… looks like MidAmerican is OK, in compliance.  I’d checked the IUB’s E-22099 docket, and it looked like MidAmerican hadn’t been granted the franchise, briefs had just been filed, but no order.  So I contacted the Office of the Consumer Advocate, and in talking to the Consumer Advocate’s attorney, he explained that the E-22099 docket had been split into two parts.  It’s hard to tell from the docket, everything’s a jumble, but in short, the leg to the east of the Black Hawk substation, which had been granted, is the one they’re building, and the other is to the west of the Black Hawk substation, which has not been granted… yet.  They’ve just finished briefing, earlier this month, and are now waiting for the decision of the ALJ.  WHEW!  They’re checking with the utility to assure they’re only working on the eastern part, but from what I saw, that would be correct — all the brand new transmission towers, and the work in the fields that I saw, was on the eastern side, and on the west, old H-frame structures that have clearly been there a LONG time (and from the filings in E-22099, what the fight is about, whether they can enlarge the easement to double circuit with that existing line).  OK, now I’m satisfied… so moving on to FERC and their transmission adder docket!

This photo is from the road just to the immediate north east of the line, showing the new structures and wires to the east connecting into the substation.


Curiouser and curiouser… Coming up 63 today, just north of Waterloo, I found the MVP 3 and MVP 4 substation… or so it says:


Here’s the map of MPV 3 and MVP 4, and this is the “Blackhawk” substation in Black Hawk County:


To look at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) docket for this project (it’s the MidAmerican part of MVP 4) in Black Hawk County, GO HERE TO IUB SEARCH PAGE and search for docket E-22099.

In that docket, MidAmerican argues that the two are not necessarily connected, are not dependent, and yet I’d say the sign at the substation says otherwise.

Here’s what it looks like from above — that’s Hwy. 63, the divided 4 lane to the east, and the gravel roads are Bennington (E/W) and Burton (N/S), this is on Burton, just south of Bennington — and now it’s a lot more built up, one of the larger substations I’ve seen:


From the west, it looks like an old 230k V line on H-frames, but it could be higher voltage.  Straight east from this substation, built after this photo, is a big new 345 kV transmission line, all ready for a second circuit:


Is this depressing or what… sigh…

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…



NUCLEAR?!?! What is MN Senate thinking?

Filed under:Laws & Rules,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on March 2, 2015 @ 1:58 pm

Prairie Island nuclear plant

That’s “our” reactor, the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, here in Red Wing, it’s within the city limits (which were expanded to include the plant).  I represented Florence Township from 1995, when Xcel, f/k/a NSP, applied to put nuclear waste in Florence Township under the “alternate site mandate,” and that went on, and on, and on, until they finally withdrew their application at the NRC in … what, 1999?  2000?  That’s one I thought would never end.  But that’s the thing about nuclear, it’s never over.


There are two bills before the Senate Environment and Energy Committee TOMORROW:

  • SF306 is simply worded, deleting the Minn. Stat. 216.243, Subd. 3b prohibition of new construction of a nuclear plant and changes it to “Additional storage of spent nuclear fuel” and over the previous language that states: “Any certificate of need for additional storage of spent nuclear fuel for a facility seeking a license extension shall address the impacts of continued operations over the period for which approval is sought.”  It’s authored by Kiffmeyer, coauthored by Dahms and Anderson.

SF536So we have a blanket repeal of the nuclear construction prohibition, and a specific opening for a Certificate of Need for a nuclear generator at the Monticello site.

Authors contact info is linked above, and emails for Senate Energy committee members and the authors are also listed below.

Whether it’s targeted as a replacement for the Fukushima Daiichi style GE plant, or whether it’s to add and operate a second reactor, WHY?

First, there’s no need.  There is a glut of electricity, as our friend, Xcel’s Ben Fowkes said, when they could no longer keep up the GROW GROW GROW fiction.  Here’s the Seeking Alpha transcript of the XEL Earnings Call, January 31, 2013. 

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.

For last year:

Finally, NSP-Minnesota sales increased six-tenths of a percent driven by growth in the number of residential and small C&I customers and usage increases in the small C&I class.

From Xcel’s IRP (Docket 15-21), p. 45 of 102:

Historic&ForecastPeakDemand_IRPp45And here’s what they had to say about that (note they do NOT go back further than 2011, so we don’t get to see the 2000-2010 numbers):

We forecast a period of relatively flat growth such that our median base peak will increase only 0.4 percent in each year of the planning period…

That chart is NOT consistent with the 2014 SEC 10K filing, which shows a 2014 peak demand of 8,848 MW (info below is linked, see p. 9 at 10-K link):

Capacity and Demand
Uninterrupted system peak demand for the NSP System’s electric utility for each of the last three years and the forecast for 2015, assuming normal weather, is listed below.

That lower number is consistent with the downward trend of the 2014 NERC Long Term Reliability Assessment, now showing growth rates at lowest levels on record (note that it has NEVER been close to the CapX 2020 “forecast” of 2.49% annually):

2014 NERC-Wide Demand

And here’s the picture for MISO from the 2014 NERC Long Term Reliability Assessment:

MISO Peak Demand Reserve Margins

2014 NERC Long Term Reliability Assessment, p. 38 (or p. 46 of 115 pdf).

Also from the 2014 SEC 10-K link:


So we don’t “need” it, there’s no talk of a new nuclear plant in their recently filed IRP.  So why???

And the “WHY?” may be clearer when taken into context with last week’s hearing at House Energy, where the intent, in part, behind legislation there was to make Minnesota an exporter of energy.  Again, WHY?  Why make the state an exporter of energy?  And if we do what would that do for our rates here?  How does that fit with Xcel’s well funded plan to institute its e21 Initiative, and how does that fit with Xcel’s desire to use ratepayer money to find other market options?  The House bill would let natural gas plants be built without a Certificate of Need, whether by an IPP or regulated utility, with the key being that they are selling into the MISO grid, and not for Minnesota native load.

But nuclear is SO expensive!  First, there’s an immediate example of nuclear construction cost overruns right here in Minnesota, at the Monticello nuclear plant, where they went way beyond what was approved in the Certificate of Need:

Xcel management blamed for cost overruns at Monticello

So what was that about?  Costs more than doubled, increased by a factor of 2.33!!!  From the article:

The project to extend the plant’s life and increase power output ballooned from an estimated $320 million in 2008 to $665 million when it was completed last year. However, the final price tag likely will rise to $748 million, including construction-in-progress financial costs.

And let’s look at new construction, the first new nuclear plant in the US in 30 years:

C&U disputes Southern Co. claim for $247 million in penalties for cost overruns at Plant Vogtle

The cost punchline on the Vogtle plant?  Southern, Westinghouse and CB&I are already in court over previous cost overruns on the project, which is currently expected to cost $14.5 billion.

Here’s that other project:

Shaw Power Group, Westinghouse, face cost issues at S.C. project.

The cost punch line here?  The NRC is expected to act soon on the Summer license. Summer is projected to cost about $9 billion.

Building new plants?  Well, NEI has some info, BUT it’s outdated, nuclear has not caught up, and this is the most current I can find on the site (HERE’S THE WHOLE REPORT):

CapitalCosts2013So please explain — why would anyone want to build a new nuclear plant?

  • There is no need.
  • They cost so much that it’s unreasonable to even consider, and is the definition of imprudent!

Why are Reps. Kiffmeyer and Anderson trying to make this a possibility?  Is this for real?  Is it a diversion from some other issue?


To contact the Senate Energy and Environment Committee, go to COMMITTEE LINK, because many MN Senators have form access, not direct emails.  Boo-hiss…  Here are the emails listed, but go to link to see the buttons for the Senators with form access only:;;;;;;;;

Senate authors:;;

SF306 is authored by Kiffmeyer, coauthored by Dahms and Anderson, click names for links!

SF0536 is authored by Anderson only.

HF338 is sponsored by O’Neill ; Newberger ; Garofalo ; Howe ; Baker ; McDonald ; Nornes, click names for links!

U of M to “document the CapX2020 experience” EH???

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on February 18, 2015 @ 3:51 pm


This Research Assistant job popped up — wonder who’s paying for this… and what’s the point?




Just filed Petition for Intervention in Xcel’s e21 Docket

Filed under:Cost Recovery,Laws & Rules,News coverage,Nuts & Bolts,PUC Docket — posted by admin on February 6, 2015 @ 5:44 pm


Yes, I’ve filed this under “Energy” “Disaster” because it’s a train wreck of a proposal, and I cannot believe people would buy into this… or sell out into this.  What, you say?  e21!


In December, Xcel filed this, and I swear, this was the heading:


“Roadmap for SUPPORTING?”  Really…

So what is it?  It’s a lot of whining about how hard it is to be a utility and that things are changing.  Ummmmm… yeah.  As if Xcel didn’t know that?

It feels to me like it’s another whack at “restructuring,” a/k/a deregulation, and a “we’re too big to fail” argument.  And as before with “restructuring,” everyone’s getting in line, jumping on the bandwagon.

Listen to this recommendation:

(J)1. Encourage the use of, and give additional weight to, settlement agreements among parties, as long as the Commission determines that the agreements are in the public interest.


And now that we’ve permitted and built all this excess transmission capacity, they’re whining about under-utilization… can you believe it?  Check this recommendation:

(N) Identify and develop opportunities to reduce customer costs by improving overall grid efficiency.  In Minnesota, the total electric system utilization is approximately 55 percent (average demand divided by peak demand), thus providing an opportunity to reduce system costs by better utilizing existing system assets (e.g., generation, wires, etc.).

This sounds like the best opening to get into the CapX and MVP dockets and get them revoked.  Give me a break…

So I just filed this, we’re gonna do what we can:

Legalectric and Muller – Petition for Intervention

Why file for intervention?  Well, this thing is all about stakeholders, and argues that, hey, look, all the stakeholders agree so just do it.  Ummmm… right… and just who are the stakeholders?  Those who have made those agreements with them in the past that got us right where we are today, DOH! What a fine mess you’ve gotten us into… let’s not do it yet again!


Great GRE meeting tonight for Tyrone xmsn project!

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


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:


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?

Responses to Motions for Reconsideration of ITC Midwest MN/IA Xmsn

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on December 31, 2014 @ 1:38 pm


The ITC Midwest MN/IA 345 kV line is the pink one above “3” in the map above.

In the Certificate of Need docket, both ITC Midwest and DoC-DER filed Responses, and in the Routing docket, ITC Midwest filed a response.  The Commission will digest it for a while and then there will be a Notice of Commission Meeting at least 10 days prior to the meeting.

Certificate of Need docket (12-1053):

Reconsideration_CoN_Applicant’s Reply_201412-105705-01


Routing Docket (13-1337):


Here are the Motions for Reconsideration that were filed:

No CapX 2020 Motion for Reconsideration – Certificate of Need

Jagodozinski_Reconsideration – Route





Motion for Reconsideration — ITC Midwest

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on December 15, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

ITC MVP Study 3

It’s that time — ’tis the season.  Last month, the Public Utilities Commission filed its Orders in the ITC Midwest MN/IA transmission project docket granting the Certificate of Need and a Route Permit.

Order_Certificate of Need_201411-104931-01

In Minnesota, we have 20 days to file a Motion for Reconsideration, and that’s TODAY!  Two were filed:

Jagodiznski_Motion for Reconsideration – Route

No CapX 2020 Motion for Reconsideration – Certificate of Need

The applicant will get a chance to respond, and then the Commission will put it on their agenda… we shall see!

PUC issues written orders in ITC docket

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on November 25, 2014 @ 2:00 pm


It’s official!  Here are the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Orders in the ITC Midwest MN/IA 345 kV Transmission Project case for their Certificate of Need and Route Permit — hot off the press:

Order_Certificate of Need_201411-104931-01

Order_Route Permit_14-0120_12-1337

Today the clock starts ticking.  If there’s anything that you, an “affected party” take issue with and want the Commission to reconsider, there is a 20 day window to file a Motion for Reconsideration.  That means you need to file it by December 15, 2014.

Not only is this relevant to the ITC docket, but as the first of the MISO MVP projects to come down the pike, it’s also relevant to the Badger Coulee docket now ongoing in Wisconsin (GO HERE and search for PSC Docket 05-CE-142) as the first MVP project in Wisconsin.


Here’s the short version of the Certificate of Need Order:


Here are some issues for No CapX 2020 — this is the Commission’s interpretation — from the Certificate of Need Order:

1 2 3 4 5

So there ya have it!  Monday December 15, 2014 is the deadline for Motions for Reconsideration.







Look what AWEA wants for us!

Filed under:Cost Recovery,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on November 1, 2014 @ 12:13 pm


There’s the Forbes article about American Wind Energy Ass (AWEA) advocating for this massive mess of new 765 kV lines.

Experts: Reducing Carbon Emissions and Increasing Grid Reliability are Doable

Experts?  Ummmm, AWEA?  No, they are NOT transmission experts, they are only expert in doing what their masters pay them to do.  Here’s their “vision” from a couple of years ago:

Green Power Superhighways

Report – Update to the Superhighways report that AWEA’s Michael Goggin wrote in fall 2013.

In Minnesota, there’s one paralleling the CapX 2020 line, then another cutting the state in two from Big Stone to the Metro, and another from Split Rock to Adams along I-90.  Who the hell do they think they are to advocate for this overkill of transmission?  And note that in the Dakotas, as always, they start at the big coal plants.  Infrastructure like this is the best way to assure coal never shuts down, adding capacity instead of shutting coal down and using that capacity.  And if they do it this way, then they can run our coal plants forever.  Oh, right… this is the plan AEP supports.

First and foremost, remember that this is about economics — money and profit from building transmission and providing transmission service — the grid IS electrically reliable, so says NERC in its latest State of Reliability 2013 Report:





And here’s the NERC Report (one should be due out soon, used to be October, but they’ve pushed it back):

2013 NERC Reliability Assessment

What strikes me is that so many are willing to believe that the electric grid is not “reliable” and are willing to attribute economic issues like “congestion” to claims that the system is not reliable.  And then there’s their successful effort to shift cost allocation so that the generators no longer pay for transmission necessary to access and safely operate the grid.  In the past, generators paid, but then in the gas plant surge over a decade ago, so many were built without transmission upgrades that we were in transmission deficit, evidenced in the 2001-2004 SW MN 345 kV Four Certificates of Need (MN PUC Docket 01-1958).  Check this TLTG Table, click for a larger version:

TLTG_1-H_PUCDocket01-1958For their 1-H option, the one that the enviros agreed to in this project, acquiesced to (remember, this was the project where they got a group together and asked “What would it take to support this project?”), the system starts out with a 1475 MW deficit.  It’s not until they’ve fixed some long standing problems, such as the sagging Wilmarth line, and the FT. CALHOUN INTERFACE which is in the base case (!!!!), and after spending over $138 million including their wide ranging “base case” of necessary fixes, that they start actually adding some system capacity.  DOH!  Give me a break…

The real problem is failure to make those added generators pay for fixing the system impacts, and then the desire to add wind projects without making them pay for system impacts, and more importantly, of wanting to add wind on top of the existing coal generation, without removing the coal which would make plenty of room for wind.  The price of their wanting to “find a way forward for coal.”

American Wind Energy Ass, how dare you.  This one’s for you:


From AWEA’s 2012 IRS 990 (the most recent one on Guidestar), p. 25 and 29, they’re getting paid a lot:



AWEA p 25


AWEA p 29


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace