DENIED – Oronoco’s Petition to Supreme Court

Filed under:Appeal,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse — posted by admin on August 21, 2013 @ 9:43 am


Oronoco Township had petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court for review of the Appellate affirmation of the Public Utilities Commission to route the CapX 2020 Hampton- La Crosse transmission line through Oronoco Township near Co. Rd. 12.


I don’t think “Aunt Bea” will be pleased… but even if it does buy Rochester, it doesn’t buy everything!


1 worker killed & 1 injured

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 14, 2013 @ 10:56 am

xcel_logoAs Xcel said in a billboard near the capital, beware, powerlines kill.  That was a safety reminder for people climbing on their roofs, but now it’s a terrible fact for a construction worker on the CapX 2020 transmission project.

KARE 11 – with film clip of site:

Worker dies after construction mishap near New Prague

In the STrib:

One man was killed and at least one other was injured Wednesday morning while working on the CapX2020 power line construction project near New Prague in Scott County, authorities said.

Randy Fordice, a spokesman for Great River Energy, said crews were digging a hole about 50 feet deep for the foundation of a power pole. The workers were on the ground outside the hole and were attached to a harness with straps attached to a very large piece of concrete when the accident happened. They were part of the crew preparing for concrete to be poured into the hole.

A piece of the safety gear broke, Fordice said, and the two men fell into the hole.

“We’re trying to figure out what happened, what piece of equipment failed and why,” he said late Wednesday morning.

The surviving worker had injuries to his extremeties and was taken by helicopter to a local hospital. The other man died at the scene.

The accident happened at 8:50 a.m. along County Road 2 between Drexel Avenue and Hwy. 21. Authorities are still investigating the accident, Fordice said.

On Monday, helicopters began stringing heavy-duty transmission lines on the CapX2020 project, which involves 250 miles of high-voltage line between Brookings County, S.D., and Dakota County. Wednesday’s accident did not involve that portion of the construction.

On KMSP TV with film clip too:

1 killed, 1 injured in New Prague construction hole fall

On KEYC Mankato:

Worker dies on workplace accident near New Prague

Benefits of Transmission????

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on August 12, 2013 @ 9:47 am


DOH!  This is NOT rocket science.  This came out last month, posted on the CapX 2020 site, and around the same time, there was a PR push about the tax payments, “benefits,” that local governments were receiving for the CapX 2020 transmission lines.  This report is all about the “benefits” and not about the costs, let’s be clear on that:

WIRES Brattle Report – Benefits of Transmission Jul 2013

Now I’ll take a look at this…

What it looks like is advance work for the 765kV overlay, for which there is no logical “need” claim.  They want to turn “planning” on its head, and put “benefits” at the top, the first item on the check list, in “planning.”  I’ll be using a lot of “quotes” here because I’m not buying it.

What they advise, what they’re trying to sell, is that transmission planning should:

1) Identify potential transmission projects that could supplement or replace baseline reliability projects and to develop a comprehensive list of their likely benefits.

2) Estimate the value of as many of the identified benefits as practical.

3) Determine whether the proposed transmission investments would be beneficial overall by comparing the magnitude of estimated economy-wide benefits with estimates of the total costs of the projects.

4) Address cost allocation.

They say that “planners must plan for the highest value first…”


Citing my favorite Posner decision, they quote, “To the extent that a utility benefits from the costs of new facilities, it may be said to have “caused” a part of those costs to be incurred, as without the expectation of its contributions the facilities might not have been built, or might have been delayed.

Illinois Commerce Commission v FERC (7th Cir.)

Benefits should be weighed at the outset when assessing need, in essence benefits supplanting need as reason for a transmission project.  Yeah, OK, what’s new???

(still reading)

Xcel/NSP responds to Oronoco Supreme Court Petition

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 9:46 am

Here it is – sorry it took so long to get it posted!  I’d scanned it in, and then lost it.  AAAARGH!

Xcel Response to Oronoco Petition to MN Supreme Court

And here are the others already posted:

Public Utilities Commission Response to Oronoco Petition to Supreme Court

Oronoco Petition to Supreme Court

PUC answers Oronoco’s Petition to MN Supreme Court

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 4, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

It’s filed, the Public Utilities Commission’s Answer to Oronoco Township’s Petition to the Supreme Court for review of the routing decision over the White Bridge Road in Oronoco.

Public Utilities Commission Response to Oronoco Petition to Supreme Court

I expect Xcel to file one too, but maybe not.  The possibility of the Supreme Court taking on this case is slim to none because it’s an Administrative decision, and the Appellate Court gives great deference to the agency decision, and the Supreme Court?  It’s not about to act on an administrative case with a unanimous decision.  It just doesn’t happen — and it’s not like the Court of Appeals where they have to take whatever comes its way — the Supreme Court gets to pick and choose.  I’m really surprised Oronoco filed the Petition, but oh well… guess they can afford it…

Here’s Oronoco’s Petition:

Oronoco Petition to Supreme Court

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace