Why a STrib puff piece for CapX 2020?

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on February 24, 2013 @ 5:33 pm


“Rodney Dangerfield is the patron saint of transmission systems,” quipped Will Kaul, vice president of transmission at Great River Energy and chairman of the CapX2020 group of 11 Minnesota utilities involved in the 800-mile project.

Why would there be a puff piece on CapX 2020 in the STrib today?

Maybe it’s because they’re announcing the South Dakota coal connection?

Maybe it’s because the Appellate oral arguments are approaching on March 21st?

Maybe it’s because they’ve been getting such bad press lately about their attitude towards landowners electing Buy the Farm and all their antics to avoid paying out just compensation?

Maybe it’s because the legislative efforts, a la HF 338 and SF 183; HF 665 and SF 455?  Or HF 438 and SF 464; and HF 439 and SF674?

Whatever the reason, the oozing of CapX 2020 feel good toadyism is something to behold.  Put your comments in on this article — it’s such a one-sided PR piece that it begs for a few choice words from you!  Here it is:

$2.2 billion project will overhaul Minnesota’s electrical grid

The $2.2 billion CapX2020 project will modernize Minnesota’s electrical grid and capture wind energy that is sometimes wasted

When it comes to big-dig construction projects, public attention over the last few years has focused on the publicly subsidized Vikings football stadium that will cost $975 million.

Meanwhile, a bigger, more critical, but less publicly electrifying project will complete about $1 billion worth of work this year alone. It’s the $2.2 billion overhaul of the state’s electrical transmission system and replacement of 1970s-vintage technology that dates to before the Metrodome was built.

Electrical transmission gets little respect.


SD Coal Connection Announced

Filed under:News coverage,South Dakota,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on @ 4:47 pm

transmission_towers =coal


Finally, the South Dakota to Minnesota transmission line is announced.

Transmission equals coal, the “benefits” of transmission are realized when coal displaces natural gas, when coal can be shipped anywhere:

ICF – MISO Benefits Analysis Study

And that can only happen with a massive transmission build-out, the likes of which we’re seeing with CapX 2020, and with a 765kV transmission web waiting in the wings:

RGOS – Regional Generation Outlet Study

We weren’t allowed to address coal and transmission lines from the Dakotas to Minnesota in the CapX Certificate of Need proceeding, even though their own map shows the full plan, from the Dakotas to Madison, yes, old news, but here we go again — see those transmission lines starting in the Dakotas?


Finally, they’ve announced the South Dakota transmission lines, in this case, from Ellendale, SD to Big Stone, SD:

$300 million transmission line project to be discussed

By Jeff Natalie-Lees, jnatalie-lees@aberdeennews.com

11:16 p.m. CST, February 23, 2013

One of the largest electrical transmission line projects proposed in years will be discussed at five open house meetings this week.

The line from Big Stone City to Ellendale, N.D., would cover 150 to 175 miles and cut across land owned by several hundred farmers. The cost is estimated at $300 million to $340 million.

“It is definitely one of the biggest ones we have participated in,” said Mark Hanson, spokesman for Montana-Dakota Utilities.

The line, which would be jointly operated by Montana-Dakota Utilities and Otter Tail Power Company, would provide many benefits to the region, including providing transmission capacity for wind energy.

The meetings are designed to allow people to see the proposed corridors for the line and ask questions.

“We will be taking all this feedback from landowners and agencies and developing a preferred route,” Hanson said. “That is what we need when we file the route permit with the South Dakota and North Dakota public utilities commissions.”

Construction on the line would begin in 2016 and take three years to complete. In the meantime, the utilities will be working on securing easements from landowners and completing permits.

Landowners who sign an easement will receive a one-time payment for purchase of land at pole sites, Hanson said. The poles will be between 700 feet to 1,200 feet apart.

While precautions will be made to avoid damaging any crops during the construction of the poles and lines, landowners will be compensated for any damage, Hanson said.

The line has been recommended by the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, the independent regulatory agency for electrical transmission in 15 states and parts of Canada, as a “multivalue project.”

A study determined the need for the the line, Hanson said, and provide benefits such as:

While landowners are the most affected by the transmission line, everyone is invited to the meetings to learn more about the project, Hanson said.


Open House meetings are scheduled in the following towns:

Groton: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, Groton Area School; presentation at 6 p.m.

Ellendale, N.D.: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Fireside Restaurant and Lounge; presentation at noon.

Britton: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Britton-Hecla High School; presentation at 6 p.m.

Webster: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, The Galley; presentation at noon.

Milbank: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Milbank Visitors Center; presentation at 6 p.m.

So why did it take so long?  Looks like it’s timed to begin as Minnesota ends…


image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace