Joel Johnson gets a substation?

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on December 31, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

Hmmmmmm… CapX routing application for the “Brookings” line is in, and I’m downloading the maps (takes forever).  A hunch has been confirmed… remember Joel Johnson, who in 2002 ran for House District 25B but David Bly, now Rep. David Bly, got the nomination, and then Johnson was Bly’s Treasurer?   Joel Johnson who was House DFL Caucus Dir. of Communications?  Joel Johnson who I saw lurking with a few others near the skyway between the PUC and Commerce and who is now working with Carolyn Sampson, lobbying for Minnesota Rural Electric Association?  Ask Joel about the first house on the left (east) just north of “HM30” at the bend in the route (and intersection with the Wilmarth line), the owner of that house and the land surrounding it!

FYI, here’s what MREA’s newsletter has to say about Ken Tschumper’s Comment submitted for the CapX record — wonder who wrote this gem:

Limited Legislative Experience Equals Electrical Engineering Degree

Freshman State House Representative Ken Tschumper recently took aim at the CapX 2020 project observing that ―throughout the CapX process, we have discovered that the power lines are not needed, the utilities have failed to let the public know the impact on ratepayers and they are locking us into coal-fired generation. The proposed lines are simply a way of getting coal fired generation to feed Milwaukee and Chicago.

The LaCrescent DFL member harping that the CapX transmission effort, which largely will deliver wind generation, was not adequately chatted-up is notable. To date CapX 2020 has held 13 joint meetings with the Minnesota Department of Commerce in nine locations and hosted more than 100 open houses for the public to learn more about the project. The PUC also held 13 public hearings where landowners could submit verbal or written comments directly to the Administrative Law Judge overseeing the case. Additionally, CapX 2020 representatives have briefed county commissioners in each county the project could impact, briefed reporters at every newspaper within the project corridor (more than 90 papers) and sent at least five newsletters (many of which included information on public meetings and open houses) to every landowner within project corridors along with more than 210,000 letters sent to potentially affected landowners.

Tschumper‘s revision is similar to believing Bobbie Gentry‘s 1967 Ode to Billie Jo that, instead of jumping, Billy Jo Macalister‘s otherwise sure footing eluded her on the Tallahatchie Bridge when she took a header.

And will someone explain to me why Greg Davids is listed as the Rep. for 31B on the legislative site?   EEEEEEEEEEUW, I thought we had seen the last of him, but now Rep. Ken Tschumper is nowhere to be found… I cannot believe, do not want to believe, that Davids won the election.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

No CapX 2020 – in Cannon Falls Beacon

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 5:10 pm

A Letter to the Editor in the Cannon Falls Beacon today — at the PPSA Hearing yesterday, we learned from one landowner that his home and five other nearby were NOT shown on the maps.  Houses were represented by little squares, and there were no little squares for his home and neighbors.  Shades of the Goodhue County nuclear waste application… anyway, here’s the LTE:

No CAPX2020

To the editor:

Why is it that with a project that could potentially affect 70,000 people from the Dakotas, through Minnesota, to Wisconsin, when the first CapX2020 document was filed in 2006, I have only heard of it just in time to stand before an administrative judge to give testimony that we neither need, nor want CapX2020 in residential and agricultural areas in Goodhue County?

Why is it that Xcel, Dairyland and nine other utilities have united in one group (CapX2020) so they only need to bypass the checks and balances (contained in the law to safeguard our freedom) ONCE, rather than the many times they’d have to do so separately if they were not in a combined group; and why is it that our legislature who’s supposed to be the voice of the people has given these same power companies exceptions to the statutes that are on the books for everyone else except the utility companies?

Why is it that after giving testimony in front of that same administrative judge that has yet to make a determination on whether we need the project, I am attending public meetings hosted by CapX2020 to determine the route of the project whose certificate of need has not yet been approved?

Why is it that when I attended those same public meetings and talked to someone in a leadership role to determine routing for CapX2020, that he said he had no idea – he was not aware there were so many houses in our area that may be affected by that route? It makes you wonder what else he was not aware of!

Why is it that I need to lose sleep at night worrying about the potential health hazards to my children and family that may result from CapX2020 being routed through a residential and agricultural area, when I live on a small dirt road with seven houses on it off the main highway, and I don’t live on a major state road or interstate highway that is already zoned for uses like the CapX2020 project?

CapX2020 is an unnecessary, huge power line that carries 345 kilovolts, 10-20 times normal power lines, which may be proposed to be doubled to 690 kilovolts in the future. The poles are over 15 stories high (170 feet) and will be visible for miles. Until electro magnetic field (EMF) exposure is proven safe, stop exposing citizens to potential risk, and don’t put it in residential and agricultural areas.

Why is it that when I chose to live in Goodhue County (an area that’s well known for its protective stance for agriculture, and its proud support of many of our longtime residents whose families have been in this area for many generations), I need to fight against the CapX2020 project that may jeopardize those same agricultural interests and families that work so hard to feed mine?

When evaluating the need for new high voltage power lines, Minnesota statutes require analysis of the direct and indirect economic impact of proposed sites and routes including, but not limited to, productive agricultural land lost or impaired.

Why is it that myself, and other property owners who are similarly affected, need to work so hard to inform others in the area of the potential damage to property values resulting from CapX2020, rather than have citizens in every township so affected join forces in a united voice against the project that’s impossible for CapX2020 to ignore?

No matter where we live in between Hampton and LaCrosse, let’s join forces in a united voice against a project that puts high voltage power lines in residential and agricultural areas and not on existing industrial rights-of-way.

The next meeting is tentatively set for JANUARY to inform the public as to the recommended route that CapX2020 will be submitting to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Check out the web site at for scheduling and specific route information.

CapX2020 IS AN UNNECESSARY, HUGE POWER LINE THAT THREATENS OUR HEALTH, AGRICULTURAL LAND, AND PROPERTY VALUES. ATTEND THE PUBLIC MEETINGS ON THE CapX2020 PROJECT and help us assist CapX2020 and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in making an INFORMED CHOICE when considering WHERE these 15-story power lines may be built as they travel across Minnesota and into Wisconsin.

Linda Grovender

CapX Brookings Route Permit filed

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 1:20 pm

Their press release:

CapX 2020 files Route Permit Application for Brookings County-Hampton Project

The docket number is ET2/TL-08-1474.  To get to the PUC eDockets file:

  • Go to; then
  • Click on eDockets (big blue button); then
  • Go to “Search Documents” and then
  • Search for Docket 08-1474.

There’s a new feature on the Commerce “Energy Facilities Permitting” site, you can sign up with a click to get feeds of filings, but because the EFP page doesn’t have all the info that’s on the PUC docket so it’s hard to tell if a feed of partial documents… aaaaargh

In the St.PPP:

Two new power line routes proposed

… sigh… it’s sounding like CapX’s press release!  Need more info!



Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on December 27, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

Remember “WIREs?”  The Wisconsin Interface Reliability Enhancement Study:

This was the “final cut” of a much larger group of transmission projects studied in the late 90s by the greatest and biggest and bestest group of transmission engineers ever assembled between the covers of such a small little study — which “studied” a dozen or more transmission projects to see which would be the “be all and end all” of transmission, and of them, they selected that ONE project to be built — 3j, the Arrowhead transmission line.  Well, since then, most of the others proposed then have been applied for, so much for the be all and end all.

WIREs is back, but it’s different.  What’s fun about it, though, is that it explains the philosophy behind CapX 2020 and all the regional transmission they want to build.


Their mission?


Under our Bylaws, all WIRES members “share the goal of promoting electric transmission” including WIRES’ mission:

1.  to provide a forum within which owners, investors, and customers of electric transmission in the North American energy market can promote a legal and public policy climate, as well as a public understanding, which encourages development of a robust high-voltage transmission grid and
2. to ensure a uniform high level of reliable service and economic efficiency in wholesale electricity transactions through a portfolio of transmission solutions…

…or try this one on for size:

The creation of WIRES is a response to a growing need for transmission infrastructure investment and the related need to highlight policies essential to support that investment. Getting the right policies in place depends on viewing transmission as (1) integral to an efficient wholesale power system, (2) critical to effectively functioning markets, (3) a way to bring choice, fuel diversity, and system flexibility to power markets and customers, and (4) an area where investment in new technologies can often expand the capacity or efficiency of the grid without siting new linear facilities.

There was some interesting testimony about where the money was coming from for the CapX project… Laura McCarten testified that CapX was working with Lehman Brothers!!!  SNORT!  WIRES has this to say about capital:

Why isn’t transmission getting the financial backing it needs? And how will WIRES help improve capital attraction for transmission?

Transmission is becoming a more attractive investment but there are regulatory and execution risks that are slowing the infusion of capital needed to keep pace with the foreseeable increases in electrical demand and the competition for customers. Transmission investors need a more certain risk/reward equation when it comes to cost allocation, rates, and the siting of facilities; they too often conclude that they should invest elsewhere when faced with tying up resources for years in a process with an uncertain financial outcome. This is simply not acceptable; the stability and reliability of the electric grid is critical to the quality of electric service and the success of regional economies.

WIRES will emphasize the broad benefits of transmission: facilitation of regional markets, the critical link to renewable and other remote energy sources, high levels of reliability, and efficient use ofexisting generation capacity. Decision makers need to recognize that transmission costs represent only a small – less than 10 percent – portion of customers’ electricity bills.

Less than 10%?  Methinks that if they have their way and this transmission that will change, no?  Cost recovery is a big purpose of WIRES…

Will Kaul, of GRE, testified before the Senate, where he clarifies the point of CapX and legislative changes they pushed through (remember Will Kaul – he’s the guy who announced Big Stone II transmission as the first part of CapX – Kaul CapX letter – Sept 6 2005 – BSII):

William Kaul – Testimony before Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Hearing- June 17, 2008

The legislative changes in Minnesota included addressing the issues of regulatory lag in cost recovery for investor-owned utilities, giving regional reliability and the electricity market due consideration in the certificate of need process, placing all transmission permitting within the purview of a single state agency and allowing for the transfer of transmission assets into a Transco if deemed in the public interest by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

And of course, here’s the plan for CapX, per “Transmission Projects at a Glance” from Edison Electric Institute, p. 57:

Looks like a transmission superhighway for coal to me!  Here’s the full report:

EEI\’s Transmission Projects At a Glance (see p. 57-58; 59)

Look at the SW 345kV line on p. 59 and note how it connects into the map above at the top of this post… funny how that works:

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.

No CapX 2020 in Warsaw, Stanton and Holden Townships!

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on December 18, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

Well, that’s partly it, but now… for the rest of the story…

NO CAPX 2020 IN MINNESOTA!!! That’s the cheer we want to hear!

Here’s an article from the Cannon Falls Beacon:

Rural group opposes new power line
by Ken Haggerty

A crowd of over 60, many sporting “No CapX2020 in Warsaw, Stanton and Holden Township” stickers, showed up at an informational meeting in Cannon Falls on December 11, to voice concerns over the proposed new high voltage power line running from Hampton to Rochester and on to LaCrosse.

CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 11 regional utilities to expand the electric transmission grid by 2020. An application for a certificate of need is currently before a judge in St. Paul, with a decision possibly expected in January.

The application includes proposals for a 200 mile, 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission line from the Brookings, SD area to a proposed new substation just north and east of Hampton (this line would be bringing power from coal plants in South Dakota as well as new wind projects in southwestern Minnesota), a 250 mile 345 kV line between Fargo, St. Cloud and power plants in Monticello, a 70 mile 230 kV line between Bemidji and Grand Rapids and the 150 mile, 345 kV line between Hampton and Rochester, linking to LaCrosse.

The utilities cite studies showing expected growth and increase in customer demand for electricity as the reason for the project, which could cost close to $2 billion in total. They have targeted construction for 2012-2015. Opponents of the project, like the Citizens Energy Task Force, led by Bev Topp of Eureka Township, have testified the need is not clear, especially for the line to Rochester-LaCrosse and that a weakening economy, conservation efforts and new technologies all should be considered in the 2020 planning process.

While the certificate of need is still pending, Xcel Energy spokesman Tom Hillstrom says the CapX2020 group is confident the need has been proven and has moved forward with the process for identifying possible routes for the power lines over the last year.

It was the recently released CapX2020 plans showing five specific possible routes for power lines between Hampton and Zumbrota with four out of five near Highway 56 and only one along Highway 52 that got local township residents concerned.

“Why they wouldn’t locate it along Highway 52 is beyond me,” said Warsaw resident Greg Soule, an attorney in the Twin Cities, who helped organize the township residents’ opposition. Soule says placing 170 foot high towers every 1,000 feet will drastically alter the rural character of Warsaw and the other townships.

“They are bringing the city to us. If I wanted to live in a business or industrial area, I would have bought property along 52,” said Soule.

To see the detailed maps of proposed routes, go to The Citizens Energy Task Force has a site at with its case presented.

Included are incoming routes for the South Dakota line from the west into the proposed Hampton substation. One route comes in west of Hampton on 240th Street, zigzagging to 220th Street and passing the city of Hampton to the north. Another route comes in west of Randolph, along Highway 86 and 290th Street before heading to Hampton via Highway 47, passing Hampton to the south and east.

The maps from Hampton to Zumbrota are more convoluted. Besides the options of Highway 52 to Zumbrota and a couple of routes in the Highway 56 and Highway 60 corridors that would lead into Zumbrota, a number of possible crossing routes from Highway 56 to Highway 52 are shown, including Highway 19 and two crossings south of 19.

Hillstrom said they are eager to gather as many comments and concerns as possible on proposed routes.

Routing possibilities revealed for CapX transmission

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on December 16, 2008 @ 10:13 am

Blogging has been a lot less fun without Steve Sviggum as Speaker, but wait… he may be back in the news!  CapX 2020 route proposals are roaring through Kenyon and could be going over his land!  No… drat… it misses him by about half a mile to the east and the same to the south…  But remember, we have him to thank for the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell (Ch. 97) that changed transmission criteria, gave them rate recovery for “Construction in Progress” and authorized “transmission only” companies, a la Xcel’s failed TRANSLink.

THE PROPOSED CAPX 2020 ROUTES HAVE BEEN REVEALED, and they’ve started dog & pony shows around the state.  They say on some of the maps, “Please do not reproduce or repost these maps without permission from the CapX 2020 utilities.”  Uh-huh… right… so sue me and call me a terrorist…

See for yourself, here are the maps, it’s confusing because it’s a web, not a line proposal.  But the short story?  Now is the time to squawk like hell.  It’s too late to be part of the Certificate of Need proceeding, though when the Commission takes it up you can comment then.  And remember, you can Intervene in the siting process, yet to unfold…

Brookings line

Numbered backwards, low numbers are east, high are west, and #10 is that little leg that connects Big Stone II transmission with CapX transmission:

Brookings Map 1

Brookings Map 2

If you’re in District 25, contact & to let them know what you think about Maps 2 & 3

Brookings Map 3

Brookings Map 4

Brookings Map 5

Brookings Map 6

Brookings Map 7

Brookings Map 8

Brookings Map 9

Brookings Map 10 – BSII connector xmsn

LaCrosse line

These are numbered NW to SE…

LaX Map 1

LaX Map 2 – Kenyon area

LaX Map 3

LaX Map 4

LaX Map 5

LaX Map 6

LaX Map 7

LaX Map 8

LaX Map 9

Fargo Line

… I’m downloading…

They’re downloaded, now to post… LOTS of maps…

Initial Briefs of Intervenors

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on December 12, 2008 @ 9:43 am

Yup, it’s time for Briefs again.  Mine’s awfully lame, other stuff like making a living, was a competing interest, and then there’s lack of access to transcripts… aaaarrrgh, but there we are… maybe the Reply Brief won’t be such a struggle.

CapX 2020 Applicants – Initial Brief

Citizens Energy Task Force – Initial Brief

MISO – Initial Brief

NoCapX 2020 – Initial Brief

U-CAN-Initial Brief

MOES – Initial Brief

NAWO-ILSR – Initial Brief

Really, all I wanted to do was send a 20 foot copy of the CapX 2020 map, their own map, showing the “region” and the transmission proposed:

Motion to Reopen denied, but…

Filed under:PUC Docket — posted by admin on December 10, 2008 @ 10:13 am

Judge Heydinger has denied NoCapX 2020’s Motion to Reopen, but opening this door, stating:

If NoCapX has newly discovered evidence, that is, new forecasts that it has run based on substantiated new information that was not available at the time of the hearing, it may make an offer of proof, and the evidence will be added to the record and forwarded to the Public Utilities Commission to consider if it chooses to do so.

And the Order:


1. The Motion for Limited Discovery and to Reopen the Hearing is DENIED.
2. NoCapX may file an offer of proof if it has newly obtained evidence that calls into question the Applicants’ peak demand forecasting. The offer of proof will be included in the record and forwarded to the Commission in the event that it chooses to review it.

Here’s the Order in its entirety:

Order – Motion to Reopen DENIED

PPSA Annual Hearing and Potluck

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on December 3, 2008 @ 8:30 pm

Yes, it’s baaaaaaaaack!  It’s the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing and Potluck.  It’s from 10:00 a.m. to high noon only, no evening session, so this is it!  Bring your Comments, your critical thinking cap, and a dish to pass!  Bring your own plate and silverware so we can make it nearly ZERO WASTE!

Here it is, direct from the PUC:


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the staff of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will convene the annual public hearing on the Power Plant Siting and Transmission Line Routing Program from 10:00 to 12:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 30, 2008.

Metro Square Building
Small Hearing Room, Third Floor
121 7th Place East, Suite 350
St. Paul, Minnesota, 55101.

The annual hearing is intended to advise the public of matters relating to the siting of large electric power generating plants and routing of high voltage transmission lines and to afford interested persons an opportunity to be heard regarding any aspects of the Commission’s activities, duties, or policies pursuant to the Power Plant Siting Act, Minnesota Statutes section 216E.001-.18, or its Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Rules, Minnesota Rules chapter 7849.5020 to 7849.6500.

At the hearing the public will be afforded an opportunity to be heard through the presentation of oral or written statements. Written statements may also be submitted for inclusion in the annual hearing record by delivery to the Commission’s offices at the address above by the close of business on January 31, 2008. The staff recognizes that the time and location makes it difficult for all interested persons to attend, and emphasizes that written comments are encouraged and will be given equal consideration.

Direct all inquiries and written comments regarding the annual hearing to: Bob Cupit, Phone 651-201-2255, email:


Power Plant Siting and Transmission Line Routing Program Annual Hearing
Tuesday, December 30, 2008

10:00 AM start time
Utilities represented: Energy Facilities, Electricity, Natural Gas

Agenda – Public Hearing

Annual Review of Energy Facilities Permitting Programs

I. Introductions
II. Overview of Programs
a.   Public Utilities Commission – Facility Permitting Unit
b.   Department of Commerce – Energy Facility Permitting Unit
c.   PUC and DOC coordination of authorities and processes
III. Projects Reviewed
a. Projects completed in 2008
b. Pending and anticipated projects
i. Electric Facilities Subject to Power Plant Siting Act
1. Generating Plants
2. Transmission Lines
ii. Other Jurisdictional Energy Facilities
1. Wind Projects
2. Pipelines
IV. Public Questions and Comments
V. Adjourn

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace