Brookings – MOES Briefing Papers out!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on January 28, 2011 @ 10:08 am

Here it is, just downloading, here it is, the MOES Recommendation:

Brookings – MOES Staff Briefing Papers

The PUC meeting to address the Brookings Remand is:

Thursday February 3, 2011

Public Utilities Commission

121 E 7th St., Small Hearing Room

St. Paul, MN  55101

Parties will have time allotted for oral argument.  If you, a member of the public, wish to speak:

  • email; or
  • call 651-296-0406 or 800-657-3782, “Option 1″
  • Include your name, phone number and group affiliation, if any.

Bill Grant – Deputy Commissioner of Energy?

Filed under:News coverage,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on January 25, 2011 @ 9:17 am



Bill Grant headed the Midwest Izaak Walton League, the “environmental” organization that through the years has given the utilities everything they want, and has received foundation grants (it is his last name after all) to promote the most reprehensible things… particularly transmission, transmission, transmission.  They intervened in the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need (PUC Docket 06-1115) in favor of the project, what more need be said?


Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse… and after yesterday’s Executive Order 11-04, oh my, that was pretty awful, then Dayton makes the choice of Bill Grant, Izaak Walton League, as Deputy Commissioner of Energy.

So did Dayton make this appointment with knowledge of, or not knowing:

Settlement Agreement – ME3(Fresh Energy), Izaak Walton League, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, North American Water Office

$8.1 Million Wind on Wires grant from McKnight/Energy Foundation

“Wind on the Wires” website – remember, this is a subset of Walton’s, they’re on Walton’s payroll

Bill Grant – Sawmill Presentation – Promotion of Coal Gasification

Presentations at IEDC posted February 16th, 2007

IEDC gets carried away posted February 15th, 2007

And remember, Bill Grant has been on that Renewable Development Fund that gave Excelsior Energy $10 million in state money… and he’s the one who talks about “low carbon coal.”   I could go on and on and on, but just do a little googling and shake your head in amazement.   Give me a break…

How is this appointment in the public interest?

Izaak Walton League official tapped to head state energy division

Environmentalists happy he supports renewable energy

By Leslie Brooks Suzukamo

Updated: 01/24/2011 11:12:55 PM CST

Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman has appointed William Grant, an ardent environmentalist with the Izaak Walton League and advocate of renewable energy, as the state’s new deputy commissioner of its energy division.

Environmentalists praised the appointment as a sign that Gov. Mark Dayton wants to preserve Minnesota’s leadership role in renewable energy development.

“Bill is recognized by consumers, the energy industry and policy-makers as someone with terrific knowledge, ability and integrity,” Rothman said in a statement Monday. “He will be charged with ensuring that Minnesota’s energy needs are met while focusing on a green energy economy and jobs.”

The deputy commissioner also oversees the state’s regulated utilities and makes recommendations on rate hike requests.

Grant said his first priority will be “to maintain Minnesota’s leadership in progressive energy policies” while making sure consumers are protected.

He noted that the Minnesota House recently moved to lift the moratorium on developing more nuclear power and is looking at removing restrictions on building new coal-fired power plants, among other measures, but he declined to say what he would recommend until after he talks with the governor’s staff.

“Nobody knows Minnesota’s energy policy like Bill Grant,” said Michael Noble, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Fresh Energy.

“He’s got a 30-year track record in energy policy, and he’s helped put Minnesota in place as a national energy leader,” Noble said. “It’s a clear signal from the governor that he intends to make energy a key part of his vision for getting Minnesota back to work.”

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce agreed that Grant’s division will play a key role in the growth of the state’s economy.

“Bill Grant has got enormous experience in regards to environmental policy, but to do that job well, it’s about reliability and competitive costs as much as it is about protecting the environment. You’ve got to wear at least three hats,” said Bill Blazar, a spokesman for the chamber.

Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy said, “Xcel Energy works cooperatively with all of its regulators and will continue to do so.”

Brookings PUC meeting 2/3

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on January 21, 2011 @ 11:09 am

The Minnesota PUC meeting for the CapX 2020 Brookings – Hampton oral argument has been scheduled for February 3, 2011, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Notice of PUC meeting – CapX Brookings-Hampton

PUC Oral Argument and Deliberation

9:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 3, 2011

Public Utilities Commission

121 – 7th Place E, 3rd Floor – Small Hearing Room

St. Paul, Minnesota

Parties will have oral argument:

20 minutes – Applicants

15 minutes – NoCapX 2020 & United Citizen Action Network

10 minutes – Rebuttal of Applicants

As usual, “persons associated with one of the formal parties above should expect that their positions will be presented during oral argument of the parties.”  So parties don’t get two whacks … To register to speak,

  • email the PUC:, or
  • call 651-296-0406 or 800-657-3782, “Option 1”
  • Include your name, phone number and group affiliation, if any.

Deadline to register is Tuesday, February 1, 2011 @ 9:30 a.m.

USDA’s RUS files Macro Corridor Modification Maps

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on January 20, 2011 @ 10:44 am


I just stumbled on the October release of the USDA’s RUS Macro Corridor Modification Maps.  HUH??? It looks to me that they’ve added the Minnesota DEIS scoping alternative routes.  Good thing I was looking at the site for the Tri-State San Luis Valley proposal, or I never would have seen it.  Sure don’t recall notice…

CapX Hampton-LaCrosse Macro Corridor Change Maps

The RUS page says that the Comment period was extended, reopened through December 6,2010.   ???

I’ve asked Stephanie Strength for a copy of the Notice on this, and am sending in a request for an extension through March 1, 2011.  It’s not as if anything is happening, the conslutant hasn’t been hired, everybody’s snoozing… waiting for???

Request for Extension of Comment Period

CapX financing & Xcel capital organization

Filed under:Cost Recovery,News coverage — posted by admin on January 17, 2011 @ 10:01 am

Where is the money for CapX 2020 transmission infrastructure (and other capital costs) coming from?  This came up when our house deal was making life complicated, and then I was off in Colorado, so I didn’t get it posted, now it’s time to catch up!

Xcel went to the PUC for changes in its Capital Organization wiggle-room, and got what they wanted, with some additional reporting requirements.

What I’m noticing is that something like this that ‘s SO important, like the Otter Tail Power “Standstill Agreement,” and like the Otter Tail Power “Standstill Agreement,” there’s enviro silence.  Nobody is on this… why?

Xcel Request – 2011 Capital Organization – Part I

Xcel Request – 2011 Capital Organization – Part II

Xcel Request – 2011 Capital Organization – Part 3

OES Comments

Staff Briefing Papers

Commission Order – Jan 14 2011

Thankfully Bob Geiger, Finance & Commerce, was:

Utilities fielding $2B in projects for 2011

Posted: 5:17 pm Fri, January 7, 2011
By Bob Geiger

Wind, transmission line projects part of busy year for power providers

Minnesota utilities are powering up in 2011, submitting capital spending plans and proposals on power projects that will cost nearly $2 billion.

Utilities’ spending for 2011 is dominated by wind energy projects and planning the CapX2020 network of transmission lines to carry that power to consumers.

Neighbors and conservation groups are strongly opposed to several of the projects involved in these already-approved 2011 spending plans.

Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy leads utilities in capital spending after the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) on Thursday unanimously approved Xcel’s plans to spend $1.2 billion in 2011.

The regulatory board voted to let Xcel issue a variety of securities to help cover its 2011 capital spending.

According to documents filed with the MPUC, Xcel plans to pay for the capital projects with short-term debt and multiyear credit agreements, a $300 million long-term debt issue in the third quarter and $190 million in cash.

Brookings – NoCapX & U-CAN file Exceptions to ALJ’s Recommendation

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on January 6, 2011 @ 8:41 pm


Today NoCapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network filed Exceptions to ALJ Richard Luis’ Recommendation/Non-Recommendation filed on December 22, 2010.

Exceptions to Recommendation – Brookings Remand

Brookings line moves forward in South Dakota

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on @ 5:59 pm


Catching up here.  In November, CapX 2020 utilities filed their South Dakota permit application for the Brookings – Hampton transmission line:

CapX 2020 South Dakota application for Brookings-Hampton line

Does anyone remember the SDEIA study where they noted that there’s no market, and if they wanted to build transmission, well… WHY?

SDEIA Energy Study

And there’s a meeting about that part of the Brookings line TONIGHT!!!  The intervention deadline is January 24, 2011.

Notice of Public Hearing

Here’s from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader newspaper:

Hearing tonight to discuss line for wind farms in Brookings County

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will hold a hearing in Brookings tonight on a transmission line that would move power from wind farms in Brookings County to the Twin Cities.

Xcel Energy, representing the CapX2020 initiative – a group of 11 utilities proposing grid upgrades throughout the region – will make the pitch for the 10.6-mile, 345-kilovolt line.

The hearing is at 6:30 p.m. at the Swiftel Center, 824 32nd Ave., in Daktronics Banquet Room A.

Application for Wisconsin CapX part 1 filed

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on @ 9:39 am

Hearing Ex. 13, Big Picture Map

And the fun spreads to another state — CapX 2020 has made its first Wisconsin application, for the WI part of the Hampton to LaCrosse transmission line.  After that comes the “Badger-Coulee” line…

CapX 2020 Wisconsin Application – Hampton-LaCrosse

Note that last part about a “similar environmental impact statement for the Minnesota portion is expected to be complete this month.” No mention of the USDA-RUS Environmental Impact Statement!  Here’s the USDA’s RUS link for the CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse 345kV Transmission Line Proposal

The application can be found on the Wisconsin PSC’s site. CLICK HERE FOR PSC DOCKET PAGE- – SEARCH FOR DOCKET 5-CE-136.

For the most part, they seem to be basing the application, and “need” on old data.  The updates are… well, read them yourself.  A very interesting study for those of us who were in the Minnesota Certificate of Need proceeding:

TSSR Appendix B p 218 – 2009 Update to 2006 Roch LaX Study

And answers to “informal discovery” from PSC Staff, note reliance on 2007 testimony in Minnesota!

(file is too big — here’s the link!)

And here’s the scoop in the paper:

Proposal would send high-voltage lines through Buffalo, Trempealeau counties

An application filed Wednesday proposes at least 40 miles of new high-voltage transmission lines that would run through Buffalo and Trempealeau counties, including potential routes through Cochrane, Galesville and Arcadia.

A permit application filed by CapX2020 shows three route options for 345-kilovolt lines that would run from Alma to La Crosse, Wis.

A 43-mile route that follows Highway 35 through Cochrane before routing east of the highway before Fountain City, running north of Trempealeau and down to Onalaska.

A 48-mile route that follows Highway 35 through Cochrane before routing east of the highway before Fountain City, then heading to Galesville before running to Onalaska.

A 55-mile route that runs south of Waumandee to near Arcadia, then runs south until it veers east into Galesville before heading to Onalaska.

All three routes would then hook into a substation that would be built in the town of Onalaska, the application states. The documents filed with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin relate to the Wisconsin portion of a proposed 120- to 145-mile line that would stretch from Hampton, Minn., to La Crosse.

Officials with CapX2020, an energy-company consortium, say the $450 million project will ensure the areas along the line have access to reliable, affordable electricity.

But portions of the plans, which could possibly affect more than 1,000 landowners in the two states, have received opposition on both sides of the river. Two groups have filed several court motions in objection to proposed CapX2020 routes in Minnesota, but have been unsuccessful so far. And both the Mississippi River Parkway Commission and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation have submitted letters objecting to any new voltage lines along Hwy. 35, which is part of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway.

“Simply stated, the GRRNSB is viewed as a destination unto itself, and it makes no sense to have any measurable gap in the route,” a letter from WisDOT states. “Wisconsin, along with other states and members of this multi-state scenic byway, promote the entire route to tourists.”

A final route for the Wisconsin portion of the line will not be determined for at least a year, documents state. Under that timeline, right-of-way acquisition would start in July 2012, construction in 2013 and the lines would be put in service in December 2015, according to the application.

CapX2020’s submission Wednesday of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity application simply starts the process, company officials said. If the application is deemed complete, the public review process will begin, and an environmental review and impact statement will also be completed.

A similar environmental impact statement for the Minnesota portion of the project is expected to be complete this month, officials have said.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace