Bill Howley, “The Power Line” blogger, has died

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on April 26, 2015 @ 10:06 am


Bill Howley died yesterday.

Bill Howley is known by anyone working in opposition to transmission projects.  Due to a transmission line proposed in his community, he learned pretty much everything there is to know about transmission, wrote about it faithfully and fearlessly for years, and became an expert on advocacy, economics and technology of all things electrical.  He’s one of the first resources people would turn to when they first learned of transmission projects.  Recently, he’d taken the position of Program Director for WV SUN.

Bill Howley’s blog, established in 2008 — take a few minutes to get an idea of the depth of his work.  Here’s hoping that his family will keep this blog going in perpetuity, a memorial to his work and as a guiding light for all those who are dealing with transmission projects:

The Power Line

The View from Calhoun County

From the Hur Herald from Sunny Cal:

People’s Advocate Bill Howley of Calhoun County has died.

His life’s work was based on his favorite quote by Ghandi, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

He was a well-known researcher, consultant, consumer advocate, activist, writer, and paralegal.

Howley, 62, of Red Bud Lane, Chloe, died in a vehicle accident on I-79 in Braxton County Thursday evening.

A graduate of Yale University, he and and his wife Loren Howley, Grantsville attorney, moved to Calhoun County years ago to live their lives in the country.

For several years he was a public advocate for consumer rights related to electric company abuse of consumers and published The Power Line, an on-line media outlet.

He was a leader defeating the goliath PATH electric transmission project promoted by WV’s coal fired power plants, that power would have exported to northeast urban areas, with a part of those costs being absorbed by consumers and taxpayers in West Virginia.

Howley protested the state’s taxing of deep coal that cannot be mined under 1,000 parcels of Washington District land, the Calhoun Commission taking action against the proposal, which was dropped.

He recently assumed a position as Program Director for West Virginia Sun, an organization that is helping West Virginia communities create affordable renewable power.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

PSC files Order for Badger Coulee Xmsn

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin — posted by admin on April 23, 2015 @ 5:43 pm


Final Order 05-CE-142

Let’s see… there is NO MENTION of MVP 5.  It doesn’t deal with cost apportionment of the 17 MVP projects.

And how is it that Commissioner Huebsch didn’t recuse, and that’s OK?  He didn’t disclose potential conflict until March 6, 2015:

Huebsch – Conflict Routes O & P

Huebsch1and…Huebsch2… and of course…



Badger Coulee transmission line gets final OK

Land acquisition set to begin for BadgerCoulee transmission line

Real estate acquisition work on Badger Coulee Line to begin in May


Brusven is lobbyist for ITC!

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Laws & Rules — posted by admin on April 20, 2015 @ 8:34 am


I’m having one of those “D’OH!” moments…

Remember at the tail end of the ITC case where there was suddenly a claim that the Geronimo wind project in SW Minnesota wouldn’t go on line without the ITC MVP 3 transmission project?  And as suddenly, Dr. Rakow of Commerce reversed his testimony on Sunday night before the hearing started Monday?

Here’s a post about their claim at the public hearing that the Odell wind project couldn’t go online:

ITC Midwest transmission hearing OVER!!??!!

From that post:

Not only were these two Geronimo representatives present, but Gerinomo attorney Christie Brusven was present at the ITC Midwest DEIS Hearings and the Public Hearings. Here she is just after having posed for a photo in front of the tractors:


If this is a concern, is there some reason Odell Wind Project representatives did not raise this earlier?  Is there some reason that ITC Midwest did not raise this in their application or voluminous responses to voluminous Information Requests?

Well,I tried to bring this up at the “Evidentiary” hearing, in quotes because it was such a farce.


The ALJ deems this not relevant.

And now I see that not only is Brusven counsel for Geronimo, but she’s a lobbyist for ITC:

Association data for:

ITC Holdings Corp (Intl Transmission Co)
Krista Tanner, President
100 East Grand Ste 230
Des Moines, IA 50309
Association Number: 6092

Lobbyists Registered Registration
Lisa M Agrimonti 3967 6/11/2012
Frances E Brown 2368 5/22/2009
Christina K Brusven 2685 9/14/2012
Matthew Carstens 2859 9/14/2012
Timothy Iannettoni 3177 3/20/2014
Michael C Krikava 547 6/8/2012
Molly B Murphy 2755 1/12/2012
Thomas R Murphy 999 5/8/2009 Yes
Todd W Schulz 3006 3/20/2013
Kodi Jean Verhalen 2548 6/8/2012

DOH!  And this “new information” about Odell suddenly pops up at the public hearing at the last minute?  Right…

Would it have been any different had it been on the record that the Odell Wind Project attorney was also attorney/lobbyist for ITC?  I doubt it, but… this is yet another example of …


Found MidAmerican’s MVP 3 & 4 Substation

Filed under:ITC MN & IA 345 kV,Nuts & Bolts — posted by admin on April 14, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

Mystery solved???  I think so… deep breathe… looks like MidAmerican is OK, in compliance.  I’d checked the IUB’s E-22099 docket, and it looked like MidAmerican hadn’t been granted the franchise, briefs had just been filed, but no order.  So I contacted the Office of the Consumer Advocate, and in talking to the Consumer Advocate’s attorney, he explained that the E-22099 docket had been split into two parts.  It’s hard to tell from the docket, everything’s a jumble, but in short, the leg to the east of the Black Hawk substation, which had been granted, is the one they’re building, and the other is to the west of the Black Hawk substation, which has not been granted… yet.  They’ve just finished briefing, earlier this month, and are now waiting for the decision of the ALJ.  WHEW!  They’re checking with the utility to assure they’re only working on the eastern part, but from what I saw, that would be correct — all the brand new transmission towers, and the work in the fields that I saw, was on the eastern side, and on the west, old H-frame structures that have clearly been there a LONG time (and from the filings in E-22099, what the fight is about, whether they can enlarge the easement to double circuit with that existing line).  OK, now I’m satisfied… so moving on to FERC and their transmission adder docket!

This photo is from the road just to the immediate north east of the line, showing the new structures and wires to the east connecting into the substation.


Curiouser and curiouser… Coming up 63 today, just north of Waterloo, I found the MVP 3 and MVP 4 substation… or so it says:


Here’s the map of MPV 3 and MVP 4, and this is the “Blackhawk” substation in Black Hawk County:


To look at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) docket for this project (it’s the MidAmerican part of MVP 4) in Black Hawk County, GO HERE TO IUB SEARCH PAGE and search for docket E-22099.

In that docket, MidAmerican argues that the two are not necessarily connected, are not dependent, and yet I’d say the sign at the substation says otherwise.

Here’s what it looks like from above — that’s Hwy. 63, the divided 4 lane to the east, and the gravel roads are Bennington (E/W) and Burton (N/S), this is on Burton, just south of Bennington — and now it’s a lot more built up, one of the larger substations I’ve seen:


From the west, it looks like an old 230k V line on H-frames, but it could be higher voltage.  Straight east from this substation, built after this photo, is a big new 345 kV transmission line, all ready for a second circuit:


Is this depressing or what… sigh…

Next up, ATC and ITC’s Cardinal — Hickory Creek

Filed under:Nuts & Bolts,Upcoming Events — posted by admin on April 13, 2015 @ 8:01 am

20150412_160822_resizedThat’s Genoa, looking a lot like the Allis reactor that used to be up at Elk River.  Good to see Irv and George at the table yesterday!

Greetings from utility infrastructure land… next up in the transmission build-out is the Cardinal-Spring Green-Hickory Creek, or whatever name they’re putting on it these days.  I don’t like the way they reverse it as if it’s going east to west when we know better, it’s export from Iowa and the Dakotas and maybe even Minnesota!  It’s to go from west of Dubuque (connecting to MISO MVP 4, I presume) to Cardinal (which is essentially Madison).

Hickory Creek

Cardinal-Hickory Creek website

So later today, I’ll try to get a photo of that Dubuque substation and where it might cross (there’s a big coal plant downtown).  It’ll mean another crossing of the Mississippi by a 345 kV transmission line.  It’ll probably also mean another eagle take permit.  Just yesterday, between Red Wing and La Crosse, I counted 10 eagle nests, but the best one we saw was #11 near Genoa, with two eagles sitting in the tree next to the nest.

Here’s the map, and below is the Stockman plant in Cassville, with a substation that could be used, it’s in the study area on the northern end of the “study area” abutting the Mississippi (so where’s the map for the Iowa parts of this project?):

Dubuque-CardinalAnd here’s the Stockman plant, in Cassville — I wonder, do they know this could be coming their way?  Supposedly they’re doing the “public involvement” piece right now…  There is transmission going both ways out of that plant, across the river and up the bluff…




Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 6, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

Why am I on this mailing list?


Let’s see… they got $75k from the PSC (PSC REF#: 212767, PSC REF#: 212769), $37,500 to CETF directly attributable to the IC Request I drafted…

CETF – SOUL $75,000 Intervenor Compensation Award

And look at the numbers presented above… oh my…

And about “soul” from the Wiki link:


The Modern English word “soul“, derived from Old Englishsáwol, sáwel, was first attested to in the 8th-century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50—it is cognate with other Germanic and Baltic terms for the same idea, including Gothicsaiwala, Old High Germansêula, sêla, Old Saxonsêola, Old Low Franconiansêla, sîla, Old Norsesála and Lithuaniansiela. Further etymology of the Germanic word is uncertain. A more recent suggestion[4] connects the word with a root for “binding”, Germanic *sailian (OE sÄ“lian, OHG seilen), related to the notion of being “bound” in death, and the practice of ritually binding or restraining the corpse of the deceased in the grave to prevent their return as a ghost.

Yup, shoulda, woulda… that “practice of ritually binding or restraining the corpse of the deceased in the grave to prevent their return as a ghost” just might have been what was called for…