PUC issues written orders in ITC docket

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on November 25, 2014 @ 2:00 pm


It’s official!  Here are the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Orders in the ITC Midwest MN/IA 345 kV Transmission Project case for their Certificate of Need and Route Permit — hot off the press:

Order_Certificate of Need_201411-104931-01

Order_Route Permit_14-0120_12-1337

Today the clock starts ticking.  If there’s anything that you, an “affected party” take issue with and want the Commission to reconsider, there is a 20 day window to file a Motion for Reconsideration.  That means you need to file it by December 15, 2014.

Not only is this relevant to the ITC docket, but as the first of the MISO MVP projects to come down the pike, it’s also relevant to the Badger Coulee docket now ongoing in Wisconsin (GO HERE and search for PSC Docket 05-CE-142) as the first MVP project in Wisconsin.


Here’s the short version of the Certificate of Need Order:


Here are some issues for No CapX 2020 — this is the Commission’s interpretation — from the Certificate of Need Order:

1 2 3 4 5

So there ya have it!  Monday December 15, 2014 is the deadline for Motions for Reconsideration.







Hearing dates, and CapX 2020 in the news

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,Upcoming Events,Wisconsin — posted by admin on November 23, 2014 @ 10:55 am

CapX 2020 in the news… see below.


And in Wisconsin — public hearings on Badger Coulee, La Crosse to Madison, start the week after next:


Condemnations start along CapX2020 powerline route

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014 7:50 pm

To clear the way for an 11.4-mile segment of new transmission lines, a power utility has started the process of condemning properties stretching from Chester to Oronoco.

The project is part of CapX2020, a massive plan designed to upgrade the electric transmission system in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In total, the plan will cost $2.2 billion, cover 800 miles and finish in late 2015.

CapX2020 has negotiated deals with 43 land owners to build this 161 kV segment to connect Rochester to the main network, according to project spokesperson Tim Carlsgaard. Tree removal work could begin on the those parcels yet this month.



Icy water, eagles factor into CapX2020 river crossing


ALMA, Wis. — On a blustery November morning on an island in the Mississippi River, a construction crew was hard at work using a massive crane and welding equipment to tear down a 70-foot-tall section of lattice tower.

It was all part of a $30 million effort to string the new CapX2020 transmission lines across the Mississippi River near Alma. The project is a daunting one, requiring the use of barges to transport 3,280 cubic yards of concrete, a 250-ton crane and 6 miles of steel pipe to an island and a peninsula in the river being used for the river crossing. Making that work even more difficult has been the earlier-than-normal cold weather.

“It’s been cold. We’ve been fighting with the ice, so we’re looking to get done in the next couple of weeks,” Zach Pontzer said on Friday morning.





PSC Issues Notice of Hearing for Badger Coulee

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Laws & Rules,Upcoming Events,Wisconsin — posted by admin on November 1, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

The PSC has issued the Notice of Hearing for the Badger Coulee transmission project.  Dates, times, locations below.  Because there’s something even more important — look at the restrictions for those who want to comment:

CommentRestrictionsThere’s nothing in the docket of anyone, objecting to this.  WAKE UP!!!  Parties representing “the public” better stand up!

Here’s even more limitations, setting out the ways people can comment, and that a person may make only ONE comment:


And this too:


Now ain’t that encouraging?  Doesn’t that make you want to run right out and comment?

But remember, there is the option of writing a “Non-Party Brief” as described in the Prehearing Memorandum — see p. 9:

Prehearing Memorandum_Scheduling


Here’s the ALJ’s acknowledgement of that option, and how to do it, from the Prehearing Conference back in August (FYI, it’s Motion for Leave to file a non-party brief, not “relief”):


Here’s the Public Hearing schedule — you’ve got a month to get ready:


When you make your public comment, be sure to let Judge Newmark know what you think of all these restrictions.

Look what AWEA wants for us!

Filed under:Cost Recovery,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on @ 12:13 pm


There’s the Forbes article about American Wind Energy Ass (AWEA) advocating for this massive mess of new 765 kV lines.

Experts: Reducing Carbon Emissions and Increasing Grid Reliability are Doable

Experts?  Ummmm, AWEA?  No, they are NOT transmission experts, they are only expert in doing what their masters pay them to do.  Here’s their “vision” from a couple of years ago:

Green Power Superhighways

Report – Update to the Superhighways report that AWEA’s Michael Goggin wrote in fall 2013.

In Minnesota, there’s one paralleling the CapX 2020 line, then another cutting the state in two from Big Stone to the Metro, and another from Split Rock to Adams along I-90.  Who the hell do they think they are to advocate for this overkill of transmission?  And note that in the Dakotas, as always, they start at the big coal plants.  Infrastructure like this is the best way to assure coal never shuts down, adding capacity instead of shutting coal down and using that capacity.  And if they do it this way, then they can run our coal plants forever.  Oh, right… this is the plan AEP supports.

First and foremost, remember that this is about economics — money and profit from building transmission and providing transmission service — the grid IS electrically reliable, so says NERC in its latest State of Reliability 2013 Report:





And here’s the NERC Report (one should be due out soon, used to be October, but they’ve pushed it back):

2013 NERC Reliability Assessment

What strikes me is that so many are willing to believe that the electric grid is not “reliable” and are willing to attribute economic issues like “congestion” to claims that the system is not reliable.  And then there’s their successful effort to shift cost allocation so that the generators no longer pay for transmission necessary to access and safely operate the grid.  In the past, generators paid, but then in the gas plant surge over a decade ago, so many were built without transmission upgrades that we were in transmission deficit, evidenced in the 2001-2004 SW MN 345 kV Four Certificates of Need (MN PUC Docket 01-1958).  Check this TLTG Table, click for a larger version:

TLTG_1-H_PUCDocket01-1958For their 1-H option, the one that the enviros agreed to in this project, acquiesced to (remember, this was the project where they got a group together and asked “What would it take to support this project?”), the system starts out with a 1475 MW deficit.  It’s not until they’ve fixed some long standing problems, such as the sagging Wilmarth line, and the FT. CALHOUN INTERFACE which is in the base case (!!!!), and after spending over $138 million including their wide ranging “base case” of necessary fixes, that they start actually adding some system capacity.  DOH!  Give me a break…

The real problem is failure to make those added generators pay for fixing the system impacts, and then the desire to add wind projects without making them pay for system impacts, and more importantly, of wanting to add wind on top of the existing coal generation, without removing the coal which would make plenty of room for wind.  The price of their wanting to “find a way forward for coal.”

American Wind Energy Ass, how dare you.  This one’s for you:


From AWEA’s 2012 IRS 990 (the most recent one on Guidestar), p. 25 and 29, they’re getting paid a lot:



AWEA p 25


AWEA p 29


image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace