Robert Schulte’s SDEIA Study

Filed under:Reports - Documents — posted by admin on March 29, 2008 @ 7:51 am

There’s a study I want to get in front of all of you interested in CapX — I just realized I had only posted it on Legalectric, with just a mention of it here, and it’s something that needs a bit of attention. It’s a South Dakota Energy Infrastructure Authority (SDEIA) study, by Robert Schulte. Schulte is now Schulte & Ass, LLP, but he’s a former Excelsior Energy toadie who got out while the going was good, and he got the contract to look at new generation and markets in South Dakota. What’s good about it is that he specifically addresses the lack of market and that SD shouldn’t be getting into the transmission business and if they want to get into generation, they’d first better make damn sure they’ve got a market. Yeah, that’s my kind of study in light of the unreasonable and unsubstantiated claims of need on the part of yahoos wanting to build generation in the Dakotas!

SDEIA Energy Study – Schulte

The focus is on coal and nuclear generation, both of which are mega-costly and not exactly “prudent” expenditures:

The SDEIA published an Electric Industry Interviews Report in December 2006. That report observed that efforts by state government to promote greater exports of electric power would require production plant additions, mitigation of transmission line constraints and the identification of customers willing to purchase the energy made in South Dakota. This new Report confirms the same findings; but gives greater visibility to the very large dollar investments that will be required of anyone seeking to license and construct new electric generating facilities – coal, nuclear or wind – anywhere on the Great Plains.

His map of coal railroad lines (p. 17) leaves out the one that I ran next to each trip out to CA and back in the bleary-eyed old days when I was a meat/produce hauler, it was Powder River coal coming across Wyoming into South Dakota into Minnesota, and I’d see trains full of coal next to the highway from Orin Jct. into South Dakota. They did a major rebuild of the tracks back when I was driving, so probably late 80s, and it’s nonstop coal trains — why isn’t it on his map, particularly if this is supposed to be a South Dakota focused study? Hmmmmm… A 10 second search revealed this map, rail lines of DM&E and IC&E:


OK, so that’s a major omission. But anyway, on page 18, he notes limitations for coal construction. This is good news, but with the omission of the coal rail lines that I’ve seen with my own bleary eyes, it raises questions. ????? Then he lists the CURRENT projects (by no means all those in the MISO queue):

2.6.1 Supercritical, Pulverized Coal, Steam Boilers, Pending Projects
Current projects in the region involving pulverized coal are:

• Big Stone II, South Dakota
• Westin 4, Wisconsin
• Nebraska City 2, Nebraska
• Whalen Energy Center, Nebraska
• Council Bluffs 4, Iowa

2.6.2 IGCC Pending Projects
Public and private interests are proceeding with planning and development of the
following IGCC projects in the region:

• Mesaba Energy Project, Excelsior Energy, Minnesota
• Basin Electric Cooperative IGCC Project, North or South Dakota

Big Stone may be in trouble, WestOn moves on, coal is in trouble in Nebraska, and Council Bluffs went up like an elevator, Mesaba is going down like cod liver oil gagging all the way, and Basin has just been proposed, the “Selby NextGen” HERE on NoCapX, so as you can see, it’s a very mixed bag.

Here are all the coal projects, ALL the projects in the MISO queue. As of December 4, 2007:

MISO queue Dec 4 2007

There’s about 3,000MW of coal in SD, 2,000 in ND, 3,200 in IA, and 1,800 in Wisconsin, and 5,000MW in Illinois. And that goes to “market” and explains why SD coal hasn’t got a market to go to! Can’t see any reason Illinois would want to buy coal from SD when they’ve got plenty already there and plenty more on the drawing board.

The same is true with wind. Look at the MISO queue. There’s over 14,000 MW of wind in Illinois on the MISO queue. Why would Illinois want to buy wind from SD when they’ve got so much of their own going up? 14,000 MW — that’s more than is planned

This report deals with market — read it and wonder.

The thing this study says that I really appreciate, other than that they’d better identify a market before spending massive amounts on generation and transmission infrastructure, is his finding on relative cost of generation scenarios:


Wind/Gas combo… now what I want to see is CURRENT cost figures, because IGCC, we know from Mesaba is $96-104 in 2005, not his low numbers, and we know that SCPC is in the 70s from Big Stone:


So what will it take to get some current numbers on all of this?

And looking at need for CapX, looking at the MISO queue, looking at generation all over, whatever is their justification?

Go through the Information Requests (posted HERE) and see what they have to say, and wonder…

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace