PSC Staff Objects!!!

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on February 28, 2012 @ 11:24 am

Seems PSC staff objects to putting fundamental evidence in the record:

PSC Counsel Letter to Service List Regarding Process

Oh, well, NoCapX & CETF object to that!  So let’s find a way to deal with this:

NoCapX and CETF Motion for Official Notice

CATFIGHT! Xcel and ATC go at it at FERC

Filed under:FERC — posted by admin on February 17, 2012 @ 9:25 pm





I love it when this happens… Xcel Energy just filed a Complaint at FERC wanting to grab its share of the Badger-Coulee transmission line, and ATC says, NO, it’s MY line, we get it ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.  Xcel wants in on this lucrative proposition, if they’re not part of it they’re essentially screwed having set up all the rest of it, and ATC is giving them, at best, the raspberries.


Here’s the poop from the FERC docket:

Complaint – Xcel Energy Services and Northern States Power Wisconsin v. American Transmission Company

Ex. A – Affidavit of Mogensen

Ex. B – Affidavit of Kline

Ex. C – MISO MVP Analysis

Ex. D – WIREs Phase II

Ex. E – CapX Vision Study

Ex. F – RES Update Study

Ex. G – Western Wisconsin Reliability Study

Ex. H – Letter – Xcel to ATC July 15, 2011

Ex. I – Letter – MISO to ATC September 15, 2011

Ex. J – Letter – ATC to MISO October4, 2011

Ex. K – Letter – MISO to ATC October 28, 2011

Ex. L – Letter – Xcel to ATC January 17, 2012

Ex. M – Service List

Ex. N – Form of Notice


ND – CapX in the news

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on February 10, 2012 @ 8:09 am

And in North Dakota, utilities are singing the same ol’ song, doing the same dance, and the people are struggling to deal with it:

Fargo and southern neighbors at war again

Residents upset with proposed power line

New power transition (sic) line has some voicing concern

WI – Hampton-LaCrosse in the news

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Wisconsin — posted by admin on February 9, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

And the Wisconsin CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse transmission project in the news:

Agri-View – Environmental Impact Statement for CapX 2020 available

LaCrosse Tribune – CapX 2020 plan draws crowd in Holmen

WKBT LaCrosse – Holmen Weighs in on CapX 2020

WXOW – CapX 2020 public informational meeting held in Holmen

LaCrosse Tribune – LTE – A.M. Yeske: Power line project doesn’t benefit state

MN Hampton-LaX in the news

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on @ 10:36 pm

It’s been an intense couple of days.   Here’s coverage on the ALJ’s recommendation of the Dam Route for CapX 2020’s Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse line:

KTTC – Judge picks route for massive CapX 2020345 kV power line

KAAL – CapX 2020 line crossing Zumbro River in Mazeppa

Roch Post Bulletin – Judge rules on CapX 2020 Route

Minnesota – ALJ Recommends Zumbro Dam Route

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on February 8, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

ALJ Sheehy has filed her Recommendation for the CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse transmission project.  Here it is:

ALJ Sheehy’s Recommendation to PUC

This is one of the most detailed Recommendations I’ve ever seen, the footnotes are specific and extensive.  I’ve not read much, just a quick scan to see how Segment 3 went, and she chose the Zumbro Dam route, specifically 3P Zumbro S and the 3P-004 Option.


That means it’s going over the Zumbro Dam crossing, something we’d advocated against due to the high biodiversity at that site and affected landowners.

NRG – NoCapX – U-CAN Initial Brief

NRG – NoCapX – U-CAN Reply Brief

From our brief:

Ms. Schrenzel specified in her testimony at the hearing, and again in a July 29, 2011 Comment:

As stated in previous comment letters, the DNR recommends crossings of public waters to generally be located where there is existing infrastructure. For example, the Zumbro River should be crossed where existing infrastructure exists and there is the least impact to resources from clearing or construction activities. The Zumbro River crossing at the white bridge in Segment 3 appears to result in the least impact from clearing, and utilizes an existing river crossing.

However, in its discussion of the Zumbro River crossing, one point that was missed by the Applicant was concern for the Zumbro Dam crossing. Applicant argues in their Initial Brief that “[n]obody advocated for or against the Zumbro Dam Crossing. This is not correct. Wabasha County, Mazeppa Township, Mazeppa City, and Zumbro Township, and also Pine Island Twp in a Public Comment letter, which advocated against the North Route crossing of the Zumbro River and the Zumbro Dam crossing and supported the Applicant’s Modified Preferred Route

Gotta get this out to all of you who are waiting…

WI alternative – 161 kV through Florence Township?

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on February 5, 2012 @ 9:16 am

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission awarded Citizens Utility Board Intervenor Compensation, and specified that part of their charge was to “address in its analysis the implications of lower voltage solutions in the LaCrosse area given American Transmission Company LLC’s testimony regarding locations for a future transmission line interconnection with the proposed CapX 2020 345 kV line.”

PSC Order – CUB Intervenor Compensation

So what is this “lower voltage solutions” all about?

Xcel Energy proposed several 161kV “solutions” to the claimed need problem in the LaCrosse area, including a line going over “Site P” in Florence Township, after it filed its application and got the word that its “need” claim wasn’t flying:

Xcel Supplemental Need Study – August 2011

Here they are (they start on p. 5 of the study linked above):

  • LaCrosse 161 kV Alternative: The 161 kV La Crosse Alternative includes 161 kV fixes for the La Crosse area and a 345 kV line from Hampton to North Rochester and two 161 kV lines from North Rochester to the Rochester load serving area. For La Crosse, this includes reconductoring/rebuilding a number of lines in the La Crosse area and building a new 161 kV transmission line across the Mississippi River to connect to the Prairie Island source at Spring Creek Substation. Figure B shows the 161 kV La Crosse Alternative. Full details of this option can be found in Section


  • Initial 161 kV North Rochester – Briggs Road Alternative and Revised Alternative: The option which included a 161 kV line from North Rochester to Briggs Road is shown in Figure C below. This option was first introduced in the TSSR and was shown to have a load serving capability of 550 MW. Following the TSSR, planning engineers analyzed what facilities would be necessary to have this alternative serve load to the same level realized by the 345 kV Project and the La Crosse 161 kV Alternative and concluded that to reach 750 MW load level, the alternative needed to tie in at a new substation near Alma and include all the reconductoring associated with the Reconductor Only option described below. The 161 kV North Rochester – Briggs Road (revised to serve 750 MW) Alternative is shown in Figure D. Full details of these alternatives are in Section


  • 161 kV North Rochester – Briggs Road (revised to serve to 750 MW) Alternative:


Oh my, that first one is a really bad idea… Does Xcel Energy get that the first option, the “Spring Creek-Lake City-Alma-LaCrosse” line runs right through “Site P” for nuclear waste in Florence?  Does Xcel Energy really want to stir up Florence Township again?  They proposed this… Xcel, better duck and cover!

Also, note that in the first “Briggs Road” option, it doesn’t connect to the Alma substation.  But in the second, it does.  Seems that connecting in Alma is required to deliver the 750 MW?  Why is that?

And another question — what is Xcel Energy doing to notify the people on these “low voltage” routes that they are being offered as alternatives to the CapX 2020 345kV Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse transmission project?  Anything?????

This Spring Creek (Prairie Island) – LaCrosse proposal is the same route that S.O.U.L. and North American Water Office were advocating as a 345kV alternative to the Arrowhead line:

Arrowhead Transmission Project #2 – Decision Matrix (selected)

Gee, thanks a lot!  Wonder why they’d advocate for that route, why advocate FOR any line?  Hmmmmmm… that was not long after North American Water Office signed the transmission deal:

Settlement Agreement – MCEA, Waltons, ME3, NAWO filed with PUC 6/23/03

Deja vu all over again…

The MN Hampton-Roch-LaX report?

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on February 4, 2012 @ 9:48 am


It’s February now.  It seems Administrative Law Judge Kathleen Sheehy is M-I-A.  The hearing for the CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-LaCrosse line ended in June, public hearings were the week of June 13th, and evidentiary hearings the week of June 20th, Comments due by June 29, 2011 and record closed.  Briefs were filed in October.   Ummmmmmm, that was a long time ago!  We’re going on four months now.  We got the final exhibit list a month ago yesterday, which usually means the ALJ recommendation is imminent.  Nope, guess not!

This tells me something is up…

When I think of the problem in Wisconsin, that “none of the nine routes considered in this EIS are viable alternatives,” and because Minnesota knows what a problem that was on the Brookings line, DOT easements making the LeSueur route not a viable, legal alternative, it makes me wonder if Minnesota is waiting for that to be made clear and then Minnesota doesn’t have to decide.

On the other hand, maybe the Recommendation came out and it went into that Black Hole at MOES where the Comments go?


IC & FEIS – Long week in transmission land

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 9:09 am

Finally, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has funded, albeit partially, Citizens Energy Task Force.

PSC Order – CETF Intervenor Compensation

Note Walker’s appointee Ellen Nowak dissents.  CETF’s work is duplicative.  ???  No other party is proposing an appraiser as witness.  And as far as “need” goes, Citizens Utility Board represents ratepayers which is very different from landowner interests, and you haven’t heard CUB say NO!  And “duplicative of the work being done by Commission staff?”  Give me a break…

None of the other intervenors put in any comments on the DEIS, NONE!

And then there’s the Final Environmental Impact Statement.  It’s out.  There’s not a simple way to get it online:

Go to

Scroll down to “search dockets” and plug in docket 05-CE-136

Scroll down and pick out the parts of the Final Environmental Impact Statement

If you need a hard copy, I think the go-to guy is Jim Lepinski:


Hearings are coming up in March, just a month away…

March 13, 2012 at 1p and 6p
Alma American Legion
501 North Main Street
Alma, Wisconsin
March 14, 2012 at 1p and 6p
Centerville Community Center
W24854 State Road 54/93
Centerville, WI

Pay particular attention to p. 277:

WisDOT’s state inability to issue permits for paralleling the GRRNSB or release scenic easements along it could have a severe impact on the viability of several of the proposed routes and the transmission application.  If WisDOT cannot (as it states in its December 23, 2011, comments on the draft EIS) issue permits and release scenic easement rights for the project along the GRRNSB in Segments 2A through 2D, 2O by the Trempealeau River, and/or8A through 8C, 9, and 18H, and if realignments proposed by the applicants in their December 23, 2011, Supplemental Comments on the draft EIS do not resolve this problem, then none of the nine routes considered in this EIS are viable alternatives.

That’s a pretty important statement.  And it’s Brookings LeSueur River Crossing all over again, where Xcel chose its “Preferred” route over DOT scenic easements and it’s not possible to use that route.  Shouldn’t they know that ahead of time?  They’re the pros!  Or did they know it and try to ram their way through anyway?  And shouldn’t MOES have picked that up, shouldn’t that have been prominent in the EIS?  But noooo, the comments were hidden until the public hearings!  So we end up with an initial PUC routing decision and Minnesota River crossing that won’t work legally, and we end up with a remand.  What a waste of our time and efforts, a serious problem for affected landowners who didn’t get notice.

Let’s pay a little attention to recent history, folks.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace