Badger Coulee application “complete”

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin — posted by admin on April 30, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

PSCLogoCropped

This in, earlier today:

PSC Norcross-Complete Application

Here’s an article in the La Crosse Tribune:

5 hours ago  • 

State regulators today accepted a revised application for a high-voltage power line between Holmen and Madison, triggering what’s likely to be a year-long review of the proposed $500-plus million project.

The move comes just over five months after the Public Service Commission rejected the initial application as incomplete, outlining 153 deficiencies. Concerns ranged from missing or broken elements in electronic mapping files to requests for additional explanation of the project need — a key issue for project opponents, who argue that local energy demand has been dropping.

A joint venture of ATC and Xcel Energy, the proposed 345-kilovolt line would connect to CapX2020, another high-voltage line being built between the Twin Cities and Holmen.

“We appreciate the public’s active involvement over the past several years in helping us evaluate possible routes,” ATC Manager of Environmental and Local Relations Greg Levesque said in a news release. “The PSC’s regulatory review phase allows further opportunity for stakeholders to submit comments directly to the PSC and be part of the process.”

Rob Danielson, a spokesman for one of several citizen groups opposing the project, said he still considers the application incomplete, because it fails to answer all the PSC’s questions and doesn’t address alternative solutions or the declining energy demand.

“We will continue to respond to requests for information,” said ATC spokeswoman Kaya Freiman. “It’s a totally normal part of the process.”

But Danielson was encouraged by the number of questions regulators asked.

“PSC questioning and persistence has supplied some important new information for ratepayers, including a report showing energy use in the Midwest has declined much faster than previously known … five times the recently reported national rate of decline,” he said.

The project includes two proposed routes out of the La Crosse area at a cost of $514 million to $552 million. One would go through Onalaska, the other between Holmen and Galesville, putting a second line of towers alongside those to be built for CapX.

ATC says it will provide lower cost electricity and enhanced reliability for Wisconsin customers while also providing a pathway for renewable energy.

The project has prompted opposition and calls for a comprehensive study of alternatives from dozens of municipalities and counties in western Wisconsin. Business groups — including the state’s chamber of commerce and grocers’ association — have come out in support.

The PSC now has 180 days to approve or deny the application, with the possibility of a six-month extension.

If approved, ATC anticipates construction would begin in 2016 and to have the line in service by the end of 2018.

 

ITC Rebuttal Testimony

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV — posted by admin on @ 4:52 am

Map_2345

Above, that’s the “it’s all connected” map showing how some of the MVP projects fit in with existing and permitted/under construction 345 kV projects.

The rebuttal testimony has been filed:

ITC:

Ashbacker_Rebuttal_20144-98750-04

Berry_Rebuttal_20144-98750-06

Collins_Rebuttal_20144-98750-08

Grover_Rebuttal_20144-98750-10

Schatzki_Rebuttal_20144-98750-14

Middleton_Rebuttal_20144-98750-12

MISO:

Chatterjee_Rebuttal_20144-98704-01

MCEA, et al., supporters of the project:

Rebuttal_Porter_20144-98753-02

Rebuttal_Porter_CV_20144-98753-03

Commerce:

Rakow Rebuttal_20144-98707-02

Heinen Direct_Trade Secret removed_20144-98866-02

 

News reports from ITC MN/IA meetings

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 27, 2014 @ 9:26 am

Last week the meetings were held on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the ITC Midwest MN/IA 345 kV transmission line.  Here are some reports:

Power line could be close to Blue  Earth

April 27, 2014

Some residents of a housing development just north of Blue Earth received some shocking news last Thursday.

A large, new electrical transmission line could possibly be joining the neighborhood.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce held two information and listening sessions at Hamilton Hall in Blue Earth last Thursday to explain the project and gather any comments concerning it.

ITC Midwest is seeking a state permit to build a 73-mile long, 345 kilowatt electrical power line using 130 to 190 foot tall towers. The transmission line will start near Jackson, travel east to near Huntley, then turn south to the Iowa border.

The route from Huntley south to the Iowa border will be along the western edge of Faribault County.

There are multiple variations of the proposed route. One of those alternate routes brings the line very close to the Riverside Heights development just north of Interstate 90.

“That one alternate route would bring the line within 100 to 200 feet away from my home,” Riverside Heights homeowner Randy Anderson says. “And yet I was not notified about this meeting. I just heard about it two hours ago.”

Faribault County commissioner John Roper echoed those comments.

“I am very disappointed the county was not kept in the loop on all this,” Roper said. “And I think you needed to notify all of the landowners near the proposed routes, not just the ones where you need easements for right-of-way.”

A staff member of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Ray Kirsch, replied he thought a copy of the environmental impact statement (EIS) had been sent to the county planning and zoning office.

“We are holding these meetings to allow everyone to make comments about the project,” Kirsch says. “We were here last July to gather information and comments and those have become part of the draft EIS.”

Besides the two meetings in Blue Earth, there also were listening sessions held in Jackson and Fairmont.

“People have until Friday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m. to make comments to my office,” Kirsch says. “We will incorporate all the comments into the final EIS.”

Then on May 13 and 14, an administrative law judge will hold comment sessions in Blue Earth, Fairmont and Jackson. Anyone can attend those sessions with questions, concerns and comment, Kirsch says.

On Thursday, approximately 50 people attended the afternoon comment session and about a dozen were at the evening one. Ten people made comments for the record, including several other residents of Riverside Heights.

Those giving comments included Tim Steier, Jeff Moore, Al Roesler, Carol Moore and Morris Hanson, as well as several persons from out side the local area.

And in the Lakefield Standard (part of it):

Running a 345-kilovolt transmission line just north of Interstate 90 — or even along it in some places — would be better from an aesthetic and agricultural standpoint than a route farther north, but worse in that it could affect an area of historical importance.

That finding is included in the draft environmental impact statement prepared for the ITC Midwest 345kV Transmission Line Project by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. ITC Midwest is proposing to construct a 73-mile transmission line from Lakefield east to Huntley, between 15 and 20 miles of which will run across Jackson County.

ITC Midwest has proposed two primary route options through Jackson County, one running nearly straight east from Lakefield along County Road 14 and 820th Street, the other running along the south edge of Boot Lake, jumping north along County Road 19, heading east at the intersection of County Road 16 and stair-stepping its way up to County Road 22.

And from the Fairmont Sentinal Online:

Power line generates comments

April 23, 2014
Jenn Brookens – Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT – Two meetings held in Fairmont on Tuesday offered information from a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed ITC Midwest 345-kV transmission line project.

The proposed line would run from Lakefield Junction in Jackson County, through Martin County, into Faribault County and then go south into Kossuth County in Iowa. The line would stretch 75 miles through southern Minnesota.

An original plan had the line running south of Interstate 90 on the north end of Sherburn, something that had many Sherburn residents concerned. But a modified route puts the transmission line north of the interstate instead.

While many in Sherburn may breathe a tentative sigh of relief, the original route will not be completely off the table until fall, when the state Public Utilities Commission decides on the certificate of need and route permit. To help, an administrative law judge is called in to review the project and issue a decision.

“The commission is not bound by the judge’s decision, but it holds a lot of sway, since they are the ones that hire him,” said Ray Kirsch, environmental review manager with the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

The judge is present at public hearings, comment periods and contested case hearings. Public hearings for the project will be held May 13-14.

Comments also are being accepted from now until May 9. Several people in attendance Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Hall spoke on the record, many of them Sherburn residents who voiced concerns about the original route plan that took the lines into town.

“Route A, as it was proposed, would run 120 feet from our church building,” said Ron Mixer, pastor at Sherburn Regional Worship Center. “If that route is selected, it would make our church building unusable.”

Mixer went on to explain that the building is all metal, and the lines would likely interfere with the building’s P.A. system, low-level radio frequency that helps the hard of hearing and the church’s video transmission. But those problems pale in comparison to the potential dangers the line would pose to those who attend the church, he argued.

“If something were to fail with those lines, it would be catastrophic,” Mixer said.

Health concerns also were expressed by others in attendance.

“We have great concerns about Route A,” said Martin County West Superintendent Allison Schmidt. “About 500 of the 700 students in my school district attend schools in Sherburn. While we appreciate the modified Route A, I believe there still is a concern for the health of those 500 students and staff members, so we would like that clarified.”

“It has been shown that high-voltage exposure is harmful for children and unborn children,” said Sarah Jagodzinske Rohman, a Martin County West school board member. “We hope you will look into protecting us as rate-payers, but more importantly as humans and our children, who are our future.”

There also were concerns about property values.

“A business that planned to build on some property just south of the interstate said he wouldn’t if that power line went through,” said Helen Murphy. “He said, ‘This line will kill Sherburn.'”

Verbal comments at the meeting were recorded for the report to the PUC, and other comments will be accepted until May 9 by mail, fax or e-mail to Kirsch. Comments can be left online at mn.gov/commerce/energyfacilities

Mailing address: Ray Kirsch, Environmental Review Manager, Minnesota Department of Commerce, 85 Seventh Place East, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55101-2198

Fax: (651) 539-0109

E-mail:

raymond.kirsch@state.mn.us

ITC Midwest’s MN/IA line – MVP project

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Nuts & Bolts,Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 4:46 am

As we say in transmission, “It’s all connected.”  This post is about the connections between what’s been proposed by ITC Midwest as the MN/IA 345 kV project, and its relation to other projects in the area and its place in the “package deal” Multi Value Project (MVP) Portfolio.  Remember in looking at these maps that in the Midwest, power flows roughly from the NW to the SE.

Once more with feeling, here’s the project map in Minnesota:

Map from 20132-83982-01-1This project above, is the Minnesota part of MISO’s “MVP 3” which is in Minnesota and Iowa, and which connects directly to MISO’s “MVP 4” in Iowa, heading east:

ITC MVP Study 3

So now, let’s look at the bigger picture, of which there are several.  First, the full MVP portfolio, 17 transmission projects in the Midwest:

MVP portfolio map

This MVP Portfolio was modeled, studied, and sold as a “package deal.”

MVP Portfolio Costs

Now let’s take a look at how this all fits together, MVP 2, 3, 4, 5 and other recent 345 kV additions to the system, remember, “It’s all connected” in transmission:

Map_2345

MVP 1 in the NW corner of this map runs from the Big Stone coal plant to the Brookings substation.

MVP 2 is the CapX 2020 Brookings-Hampton transmission project.  No CapX 2020 and CETF intervened in the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need docket (06-1115) and No CapX 2020 and U-CAN intervened in the Routing docket (08-1474).

MVP 3 is in part, this ITC Midwest MN/IA line, in pink on the map, divided roughly 50/50 between Minnesota and Iowa, and 50/50 between ITC Midwest and Mid American.  MVP 3 surrounds the “3” in the map, above, like a tuning fork, with two forks running west to east, and then a connecting line running north/south.

MVP 4 runs eastward from MVP 3, and connects into existing 345 kV transmission, the blue dots.

MVP 5 is in part the Badger Coulee line, in blue on the map.  Note the connecting blue dots between MVP 2’s Hampton substation through SE Minnesota to La Crosse, WI.  As above, CapX 2020 and CETF intervened in the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need docket (06-1115), and No CapX was an intervenor in that routing docket, jointly with U-CAN and North Route Group.  The other part of MVP 5 is the part connecting MVP 3 and MVP 4, via existing transmission, into MVP 5 and running towards Madison.

Here’s a map from the MVP report, where you can graphically (in the “WOW” “DUH!” sense) see that the point of all these projects, the package, is to move power from the cheaper areas to the higher priced areas, from where electricity sells for $30-50 to $70-200:

LMPThe “benefit” of being able to sell power for so much more than is currently possible is one hell of a benefit!

It’s connected by benefits — the “benefits” claimed are the benefits achieved if, and only if, all 17 MVP projects are operating.  All the modeling was done with that assumption, that ALL of the 17 projects are operating.

Here’s the full MISO Business Case document, check it out:

20110919 MVP Proposed Portfolio Business Case

And even more, the full MVP Report:

MVP Portfolio Analysis Full Report

And while we’re talking about “benefits” it’s time to trot out that ICF Benefits report again:

ICF – MISO Benefits Analysis Study

More in a bit — up next is cost info — there’s additional MISO stuff I need to look up.

 

Peter Valberg, Xcel’s EMF witness, is at it again…

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Buy the Farm — posted by admin on April 26, 2014 @ 11:14 am

valberg.d0ac0dde

A version of the old “joke,” how do you know Peter Valberg, Ph.D., is lying?  His lips are moving…

Xcel Energy is challenging Florence & Dave Minar and their Cedar Summit Farm’s election of Minnesota’s Buy the Farm law, which allows landowners facing utility condemnation to say, “You must buy us out.”  This is the law in Minnesota, but Xcel Energy hasn’t gotten the message.

Subd. 4.Contiguous land.

(a) When private real property that is an agricultural or nonagricultural homestead, nonhomestead agricultural land, rental residential property, and both commercial and noncommercial seasonal residential recreational property, as those terms are defined in section 273.13 is proposed to be acquired for the construction of a site or route for a high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more by eminent domain proceedings, the owner shall have the option to require the utility to condemn a fee interest in any amount of contiguous, commercially viable land which the owner wholly owns in undivided fee and elects in writing to transfer to the utility within 60 days after receipt of the notice of the objects of the petition filed pursuant to section 117.055. Commercial viability shall be determined without regard to the presence of the utility route or site. Within 60 days after receipt by the utility of an owner’s election to exercise this option, the utility shall provide written notice to the owner of any objection the utility has to the owner’s election, and if no objection is made within that time, any objection shall be deemed waived. Within 120 days of the service of an objection by the utility, the district court having jurisdiction over the eminent domain proceeding shall hold a hearing to determine whether the utility’s objection is upheld or rejected. The utility has the burden of proof to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the property elected by the owner is not commercially viable. The owner shall have only one such option and may not expand or otherwise modify an election without the consent of the utility. The required acquisition of land pursuant to this subdivision shall be considered an acquisition for a public purpose and for use in the utility’s business, for purposes of chapter 117 and section 500.24, respectively; provided that a utility shall divest itself completely of all such lands used for farming or capable of being used for farming not later than the time it can receive the market value paid at the time of acquisition of lands less any diminution in value by reason of the presence of the utility route or site. Upon the owner’s election made under this subdivision, the easement interest over and adjacent to the lands designated by the owner to be acquired in fee, sought in the condemnation petition for a right-of-way for a high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more shall automatically be converted into a fee taking.

(b) All rights and protections provided to an owner under chapter 117 apply to acquisition of land or an interest in land under this section.

(c) Within 120 days of an owner’s election under this subdivision to require the utility to acquire land, or 120 days after a district court decision overruling a utility objection to an election made pursuant to paragraph (a), the utility must make a written offer to acquire that land and amend its condemnation petition to include the additional land.

(d) For purposes of this subdivision, “owner” means the fee owner, or when applicable, the fee owner with the written consent of the contract for deed vendee, or the contract for deed vendee with the written consent of the fee owner.

For some reason, they hired shill Peter Valberg, Ph.D., to testify — I don’t see anything in “Buy the Farm” that makes this relevant.  Oh well…

So now, on to the “mistatements” when Valberg testified.  There were a couple of things he said that were patently false (not direct quotes, but the essence of what he falsely claimed):

The grid is 60 Hz so there’s no danger from ionizing radiation.

The EMF doesn’t transfer because it’s low frequency.

The magnetic fields were calculated at the “thermal limit” and the maximum was 100 mG at the centerline, and then decreased going outward.

1) 60 Hz — The grid is 60 Hz so there’s no danger from ionizing radiation.:

Folks, it’s basic physics, in which Valberg has a Ph.D., and basic electrical engineering, that the frequencies on the grid are NOT limited to 60 Hz and in fact go lower and go far, far higher.  Art Hughes, Ph.D. was doing research on impact of frequencies in the 1,000-1,500 Hz range when he died, in a pig barn, where he was doing the experiments.  Frequencies on the grid go up to the levels where it’s ionizing radiation.  HUH?  Yes, corona is that high, it’s ultra violet range, and it’s simple to demonstrate, just take a look at how utilities check for damage to the lines:

EPE_2013111816011292 The Ultraviolet Detection of Corona Discharge in Power Transmission Lines

Corona discharge is at that “ionizing” level, and if there is particulate matter nearby (and where isn’t there particulate matter nearby), that particulate matter picks up the ionization:

Link to abstracts of Henshaw’s corona & criteria pollutant articles

Here’s a chart of where corona shows up on the frequency spectrum: Chart

Easy to read Wiki on “corona discharge”

Here are two very interesting patent applications about corona and UV from transmission lines:

US5986276 – APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR ELIMINATING X-RAY HAZARDS FROM ELECTRICAL POWER DISTRIBUTION

EP1691461A1 – ELECTRIC POWER SYSTEM SUPPRESSING CORONA DISCHARGE FROM VIEWPOINT OF ENVIRONMENT

2) The EMF doesn’t transfer because it’s low frequency.

Ummmm… what does Valberg think line loss is?  And corona and line loss is a significant problem for utilities.  They use the corona detectors, as above, to find sources of major losses:

EPE_2013111816011292 The Ultraviolet Detection of Corona Discharge in Power Transmission Lines

3) The magnetic fields were calculated at the “thermal limit” and the maximum was 100 mG at the centerline, and then decreased going outward.

And let’s take a look at the magnetic field levels as addressed in the CapX 2020 Brookings-Hampton routing docket, because the levels were certainly not calculated for the “thermal limit,” as Valberg testified yesterday, they were calculated for at most 1/3 of the thermal limit amperage:

Affidavit of Bruce McKay

From the Brookings-Hampton application, pages 3-20 to 3-22, and look at the amps (click chart for larger pdf):

Brookings1Brookings2Brookings3

Now, note the range of amps, 1005.9, 841, 826.7 are the highest I see, but look at the thermal limits, and folks, this is IN THE CAPX 2020 CERTIFICATE OF NEED RECORD:

Schedin IR 3

In this Information Request response, they admit that the thermal limit for amps for this line is much greater than 1,000:

ShedinIR3

So building on these numbers, from the Affidavit of Bruce McKay above:

 

McKayChart

As Miss Helen Lee Murphy’s math teacher friend would agree, 390.71 mG and 304.92 mG are both above 100 mG.

Some other similar mG transmission posts — do you see a trend?

CapX Hampton – La Crosse – Affidavit – Bruce McKay

Hiawatha Project — McKay Affidavit and Exhibits – Final

Here is a chart from the Split Rock-Lakefield Jct. line with various conductor sizes with voltages, amps, and MVA:

Ex 35 App 7 Conductor spec

Some past posts about Valberg:

The ongoing saga of the Fargo-St. Cloud transmission line

CapX info dump in the Fargo docket (another McKay Affidavit here)

Peter Valberg, stop it!  It’s a matter of record, and you’re misrepresenting at best:

 

Center for Rural Affairs is SILENT!

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 23, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

Center4RuralAffairs

What’s so important about these ITC Midwest MN/IA line, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement meetings that the Center for Rural Affairs would send someone show up in Jackson, Minnesota, but rather than join the discussion, get paid to sit through this afternoon’s meeting like a bump on a log?  Oh, that’s right, they get paid to do this, it’s part of the RE-AMP transmission promotion program.  Really… ya should’a been there.  It seems Lucas Nelsen, the Energy Policy Associate at Center for Rural Affairs was here in Jackson, sitting right next to Duane Ninneman of CURE!  Duane, the company you keep, and I’d guess this is part of your “new duties” as RE-AMP’s Clean Energy Working Group leader for the next three years:

“My job as RE-AMP’s Clean Energy Working Group leader is to facilitate interaction between top-level clean energy thinkers to keep us on target to reach our global warming pollution reduction goals,” Ninneman stated. 

No wonder it was so quiet back there — and hey, why’d y’all leave so quickly?

LucasNelson_CRA

Lucas Nelson, Center for Rural Affairs, is the principal named as author on the “Energy From the Ground Up” report:

Energy From the Ground Up

This report is a review of media coverage of transmission projects, looking at how to handle objections to transmission:

100 discrete media pieces, examining a total of 14 different transmission projects. Each piece was then analyzed and organized based on the clear concerns identified within.  Those concerns were used to inform the common themes used in the review section, and to provide data that gives insight into the general views of stakeholders. 

why are you focused on handling objections?  Oh, that’s right, it’s part of the RE-AMP transmission promotion work.  What projects were you interested in?  “My” projects, and more:

Untitled

Of these projects, I’ve worked on half of them — the only ones I’ve not worked on are the Reynolds-Topeka, Grain Belt Express, Rock Island Clean Line, Illinois Rivers, Plains and Eastern, Center-Grand Forks, and Gateway Power.

What conclusions did they draw?  Center for Rural Affairs takes the position in this report, for example,  ono p. 8, that “As transmission serves a public need, utilities and developers serve as agents of the government and can receive this power.”  NO!!!  Much transmission does NOT serve a public need, and in particular, this ITC Midwest serves a PRIVATE desire, not need, the desire for profit.

Untitled2And in the section on “need” there is utter disregard for the statutory criteria for need!

 

Untitled3

Ahhh, yes, we know what complaint they’re talking about now, don’t we (haven’t read the article, but I’m a bettin’ it’s us):

Booted out of FERC

The bottom line of this “report” is an exercise in figuring out how to best handle objections, get these projects through, circumvent the obstacles, or as Beth Soholt says, “remove the impediments,” (I say, speaking as a proud impediment!),  inherently presuming that the projects should go through — and what should be disclosed in this “report,” and which is not, is full disclosure of the Center for Rural Affairs’ motivation for publishing this, i.e., did they get paid for this, and why would they take money to do this?  If they’re agriculturally focused, shouldn’t they be furthering landowners’ interests, helping explain eminent domain and helping landowners protect themselves from egregious developer/utility eminent domain practices?  I could go on and on, but you can see for yourself by reading this report that it’s a RE-AMP transmission promotion puff piece.  Nothing more.

Center for Rural Affairs has also weighed in specifically on this ITC Midwest MN/IA transmission line:

Two-State Transmission Project Takes Important Regulatory Step

It’s unfortunate that they don’t contribute to this need or routing process, don’t help landowners, farmers, and agricultural interests.  They’re the Center for Rural Affairs, but they’re not furthering their mission, and instead are working against it, and in favor of, and for, utilities and transmission developers.  What’s their mission?

Establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities.

And then there’s this RE-AMP promotion of transmission and revenue generation — RE-AMP_Foundations_Master_Grant_List.  How does that fit in to their mission?   Center for Rural Affairs‘ budget is over $5 MILLION annually.  Do they “need” the money that badly?  I think the term “Affairs” is off point, and a little baser word would be more apt… we know what y’all are and we have an idea of your price!

 

 

Burn, baby, burn…

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on @ 10:08 am

DSC02367

So yesterday, as I’m on the way into the meeting hall, a guy’s coming out, and I offer a flyer, and he holds his hands up, “No, I’m not part of this, I’m part of the burn!”  … the BURN?  Yup, seems they had scheduled a burn of a little swale/prairie behind the K of C Hall.  Shortly thereafter, the fire trucks pull in, little torches are lit, and burn, baby, burn…

DSC02377

DSC02379

Off to a great start in Fairmont

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV — posted by admin on April 22, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

DSC02365

Today is the start of a three day series of transmission meetings, and we started with a good crowd here in Fairmont for this afternoon’s meeting.

Fairmont Area Residents Voice Opinions Over Proposed High Voltage Transmission Lines

It’s the ITC Midwest MN/IA line, from Lakefield Jct. to Huntley, then south to IA, and ultimately off to Madison…

I’ve got a handout, with a few things for people to consider, most importantly, WRITE UP SOME COMMENTS BY MAY 9!

DEIS Handout

The most important part of this whole proceeding is that this is NOT needed.  It’s wanted, it’s desired, but that’s not need.  Just because they want to build it and make money is not sufficient reason for them to take people’s land and charge Minnesotans even one dollar for this project!  The DEIS quotes ITC’s need statements, and accepts them, using the ITC framing.

ITC is a transmission-only company.  ITC wants to build transmission so it can profit from building it and from providing transmission service.

This afternoon, I’m mostly concerned about Section 4 of the DEIS, “Alternatives to the Proposed Project.”  And as I commented, in looking at “Alternatives to the Proposed Project,” there’s really no alternative to their transmission for profit project, other than putting money directly in their pockets!!!

Some problems with the DEIS, omissions, clarifications, additions needed:

  • The DEIS should define “need.”
  • The DEIS should specify what capacity are they wanting, and what they want it for.  ITC claims that a lower voltage line “would be unable to provide enough capacity to improve reliability or support additional generation.” p. 49.  OK, so what capacity is that?
  • Every time the DEIS says “need,” it should change that to “want” or “desire.”  That would make it a lot easier to understand.
  • To the extent that it is claimed that this project is “to enable new wind” and “deliver existing and future wind generation” it must document how it is assured that wind is enabled/delivered, mindful that FERC specifies that transmission cannot discriminate and must serve all types of generation, and there’s a lot of coal coming in from the west.
  • The DEIS “Alternatives” section says “ITCM notes that the need for its project has been substantiated by its own studies and by those of MISO.”  Ummmm, the only option considered by ITCM and MISO is transmission, it’s a transmission-only company and a transmission operation, DUH!  “Additionally, MISO conducts studies to determine those projects that best meet identified transmisison needs.”  Oh, and those “identified transmission needs” are… ????
  • PROMOD modeling is ECONOMIC modeling.
  • There is a lot of surplus generation west of this project (see p. 48 of DEIS referencing “even more surplus generation that must be exported to regional load centers…”
  • “Different size” is not limited to “different voltage” and “different endpoints.”  For transmission, size = capacity.
  • The DEIS correctly states that “ITCM is an electric transmission company; it does not operate electrical generation plants or provide retail electric service.”  GOOD, that’s TRUE!  Now, what does that mean when considering how ITCM frames this project?
  • “In conclusion, while the 161 kV rebuild alternative may have potential for reduced human and environmental impacts, ITCM’s analysis indicates that it is less effective than a 345 kV line at meeting the need for the project.”  Ummm., SO?  What’s the state’s independent analysis?  Isn’t this what an EIS should be?

There were a lot of great comments, my favorite was Helen Lee (Lea?) Murphy who has a way with words, and noted we need an MLK or Nelson Mandela to challenge this line!  She also had a reasonable request, asking for another week to send in comments.

Many people were concerned about the EMF, and recognize the dangers of transmission.  It seems that the perception is that transmission lines are dangerous!  GOOD!  This is a pretty basic fact that has been hidden for way too long.

 
KEYC – Mankato News, Weather, Sports –

Speaking of which, here are the three documents I put into the record, pertaining to ultra violet related to transmission, associated with corona, and a byproduct of transmission, two patent applications and a study:

US5986276 – APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR ELIMINATING X-RAY HAZARDS FROM ELECTRICAL POWER DISTRIBUTION

EP1691461A1 – ELECTRIC POWER SYSTEM SUPPRESSING CORONA DISCHARGE FROM VIEWPOINT OF
ENVIRONMENT

EPE_2013111816011292 The Ultraviolet Detection of Corona Discharge in Power Transmission Lines

There were a lot of people from Sherburn promoting the Modified Route A, particularly concerned about the church, and about the impact of the line if ot goes on the south side if I-90:

DSC02366

In the Fairmont Sentinal:

Power line generates comments

April 23, 2014

FAIRMONT – Two meetings held in Fairmont on Tuesday offered information from a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed ITC Midwest 345-kV transmission line project.

The proposed line would run from Lakefield Junction in Jackson County, through Martin County, into Faribault County and then go south into Kossuth County in Iowa. The line would stretch 75 miles through southern Minnesota.

An original plan had the line running south of Interstate 90 on the north end of Sherburn, something that had many Sherburn residents concerned. But a modified route puts the transmission line north of the interstate instead.

While many in Sherburn may breathe a tentative sigh of relief, the original route will not be completely off the table until fall, when the state Public Utilities Commission decides on the certificate of need and route permit. To help, an administrative law judge is called in to review the project and issue a decision.

“The commission is not bound by the judge’s decision, but it holds a lot of sway, since they are the ones that hire him,” said Ray Kirsch, environmental review manager with the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

The judge is present at public hearings, comment periods and contested case hearings. Public hearings for the project will be held May 13-14.

Comments also are being accepted from now until May 9. Several people in attendance Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Hall spoke on the record, many of them Sherburn residents who voiced concerns about the original route plan that took the lines into town.

“Route A, as it was proposed, would run 120 feet from our church building,” said Ron Mixer, pastor at Sherburn Regional Worship Center. “If that route is selected, it would make our church building unusable.”

Mixer went on to explain that the building is all metal, and the lines would likely interfere with the building’s P.A. system, low-level radio frequency that helps the hard of hearing and the church’s video transmission. But those problems pale in comparison to the potential dangers the line would pose to those who attend the church, he argued.

“If something were to fail with those lines, it would be catastrophic,” Mixer said.

Health concerns also were expressed by others in attendance.

“We have great concerns about Route A,” said Martin County West Superintendent Allison Schmidt. “About 500 of the 700 students in my school district attend schools in Sherburn. While we appreciate the modified Route A, I believe there still is a concern for the health of those 500 students and staff members, so we would like that clarified.”

“It has been shown that high-voltage exposure is harmful for children and unborn children,” said Sarah Jagodzinske Rohman, a Martin County West school board member. “We hope you will look into protecting us as rate-payers, but more importantly as humans and our children, who are our future.”

There also were concerns about property values.

“A business that planned to build on some property just south of the interstate said he wouldn’t if that power line went through,” said Helen Murphy. “He said, ‘This line will kill Sherburn.'”

Verbal comments at the meeting were recorded for the report to the PUC, and other comments will be accepted until May 9 by mail, fax or e-mail to Kirsch. Comments can be left online at mn.gov/commerce/energyfacilities

Mailing address: Ray Kirsch, Environmental Review Manager, Minnesota Department of Commerce, 85 Seventh Place East, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55101-2198

Fax: (651) 539-0109

E-mail:

raymond.kirsch@sate.mn.us

 

On to the next meeting…

DEIS Meetings for ITC Midwest’s MN/IA line

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV — posted by admin on April 21, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

ITC MVP Study 3

This week we have three days of DEIS meetings, that’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the uninitiated.  The schedule:

Fairmont
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Knights of Columbus Hall
920 East 10th Street
Fairmont, MN 56031
 
Jackson
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
National Guard Armory
108 County Road 51
Jackson, MN 56143
 
Blue Earth
Thursday, April 24, 2014
1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Hamilton Hall
209 South Main Street
Blue Earth, MN 56013

This project is important because, well, look at the red line in the map above that represents this project.  It connects on the west to the Split Rock-Lakefield Jct. line from a decade ago, and then goes east, and drops down into Iowa, to become part of a web headed toward Chicago.  The red and green on that map constitute MISO designated MVP3, and to the east, the orange and blue are MVP 4, and further to the east, 1/2 of which is Badger Coulee, is MVP 5.  Important to note that there are 17 MVP projects, and all 17 must be built to offer the benefits touted, the modeling included all 17.  Not only that, but cost apportionment also included costs to states beyond just the percentage of the one project under review, i.e., there are claims of benefits of MVP 3, but those benefits require MVP 4 and MVP 5, and in fact, ALL the 17 MVP projects.  Costs to Minnesota ratepayers are “just” a portion of MVP 3, but there are also costs to Minnesota of MVP 4, MVP 5, and I think ALL of the 17 MVP projects.  So the benefits that are reliant on all the 17 projects being built must be balanced against the costs attributable to Minnesota for all 17 projects!  See, that wasn’t so hard, was it!

Here’s the DEIS from the Commerce ITC MN/IA DEIS page, it’s easier to cut and paste, though it’s a good idea to download because you never know when links will be changed or disappear:

Draft Environmental Impact Statement Text

Appendices

 

Cedar Summit organic dairy goes to court

Filed under:Buy the Farm — posted by admin on April 18, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

cedar-summit

It’s all about “Buy the Farm,” and Xcel Energy doesn’t want anyone to tell them they have to “Buy the Farm.”  Xcel, it’s the law!

Xcel Energy is saying “NO” to many landowners’ legitimate election of “Buy the Farm” under Minn. Stt. 216E.12, Subd. 4, where a landowner can force a utility to buy out all of its interest and take the farm, rather than condemn just a small easement.  In this case, they’re resisting Cedar Summit Farm’s efforts to get out from under the line.  How dare they!

Cedar Summit is an organic dairy farm, in the Minar family for many years and now operated by Flo and Dave Minar.  Throughout the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need and Route Permit process, they were there, very clearly telling Xcel that an organic dairy farm is no place for a transmission line.  But here comes Xcel… Cedar Summit elected to make them buy out the farm so they could move out from under the line, no small thing when you’re talking an organic dairy, and one that’s been in the family forever, and Xcel objects.  When Xcel Energy objects, then the landowners have to fight for their rights.  And every time landowners have to fight, even up to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the landowners win, and Xcel Energy loses. Here’s a great example, a Minnesota Supreme Court case where they told Xcel Energy what they could do with their legal theories:

Minnesota Supreme Court Opinion – Court File A11-1116

So why do landowners have to go into court, over and over and over and over.  SHAME, Xcel!

The Minar’s anad Cedar Summit Farm are in court next week in Scott County, Wednesday through Friday (though that can always change).

Here’s the case info on the courts site — there are three trials scheduled, and it’s not possible to tell who all is involved in each of them, but the STrib reports that the Minars will indeed be in court next week:

Case No_70-CV-13-1182

Here’s the write-up in the STrib:

MINNEAPOLIS — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota’s “Buy the Farm” law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it.

The case pits the developers of the CapX2020 project against Cedar Summit Farm near New Prague, which fills its old-school glass bottles on site and keeps its cows on a 100 percent grass diet. Owners Dave and Florence Minar say they can’t properly operate an organic dairy farm under a 345,000-volt power line, so they’re trying to use the law to force CapX2020 to buy their farm and pay the costs of relocating their operation.

The case is one of dozens of land disputes arising from CapX2020, an initiative by 11 utilities including Xcel Energy and Great River Energy to expand and ensure the reliability of the region’s electrical grid. The $2 billion project includes five new high-voltage lines covering nearly 800 miles. A planned line from Brookings, S.D., to Hampton, Minn., runs right over the Minars’ farm.

“Our whole business is at stake,” Dave Minar said Friday. “We don’t want to continue dairy farming under high-voltage power lines.”

They’re worried about stray voltage, which can crop up on dairy farms when electricity leaks from power lines and equipment. It can give cows small shocks that make them shy away from their water and food or make them so skittish that they’re hard to handle. It can reduce milk production and cause other health problems in the animals.

“They’re saying we won’t have a problem, but I don’t believe them,” Dave Minar said.

The trial is scheduled for Wednesday through Friday before Scott County District Judge Caroline Lennon in Shakopee. The Minars said they hope their case will be bolstered by changes in the 1977 law that they helped persuade the Legislature to adopt last year, as well as a recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision applying the law in favor of other property owners in the path of a CapX2020 line.

The Buy the Farm law lists several criteria a landowner must meet to exercise an “election” for a buyout and relocation costs. The Minars’ attorney, Rod Krass, said they easily qualify even though the utilities claim the Minars have not met any of the tests.

“Everything that can be contested, they’re contesting,” Krass said of the utilities. “And so this has put incredible pressure and stress on this family. We’re not understanding — given the Legislature’s obvious intent to protect people like the Minars — why we’re having to go through all of this.”

CapX2020 officials declined an interview request but issued a statement saying the Minars aren’t eligible because their operation counts as commercial land, and that only one transmission tower would be built on their land.

“Under the statute, commercial land is not eligible for election. In addition, the Supreme Court has held that a reasonableness requirement must be read into the statute,” the statement said. “The CapX2020 utilities have challenged the reasonableness of this election because it involves only one transmission structure that occupies less than one acre on a 132-acre property that includes a commercial dairy operation and retail store.”

Any compensation would be determined later. Even if they win, the Minars said, relocating would be difficult. They would need about 400 relatively contiguous acres not much farther from the Twin Cities than their current farm because that’s where most of their customers are, Florence Minar said. They’re not sure if they could find that much land that’s already certified as organic. If it’s not, it would take three years to get conventional farm land certified.

Cedar Summit Farm milk and other products are sold at most natural food stores in the Twin Cities area and some other outlets around the region, as well as at farm itself. Dave Minar said they had to work hard for 12 years to get shelf space in all the stores, and he doesn’t think they’d get most of it back if they were out of business for three years.

“We didn’t ask for this power line. It’s taken a chunk out of our lives for the last four or five years,” he said.


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace