CapX Brookings/Myrick route good for something!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Information Requests,News coverage,Reports - Documents — posted by admin on June 19, 2015 @ 5:00 am


When the Applicants added the Myrick route, oh-so-improperly at the very end of a long proceeding when they saw they couldn’t get their way due to DOT easements, it was excruciating.  Successfully defeated, but excruciating because it was so wrong, so ham handed, and yet accepted by the judge and the Public Utilities Commission.

So then they proposed a similar route for a smaller transmission line, the Tyrone line, years later.  What?  Whatever were they thinking?  Apparently they weren’t, and it doesn’t seem they knew about “Myrick” and anything that had come before.

GREAT recap of the first Planning Commission meeting here:

Substation, transmission lines will damage environment, opponents tell Planning Commission – Le Sueur MN_ News

Well, this is a subject I know all too well, and I’ve been brought into this Tyrone 69 kV transmission and substation proceeding at Le Sueur County.  Way too familiar.  The thing about this that’s NOT been made clear is that the utilities snuck in a big honkin’ substation and attached it to the Wilmarth line.  There was a plan to connect the CapX 2020 Helena sub to Wilmarth, and to link that to the St. Thomas substation, but though they did build the Helena sub connecting CapX with Wilmarth, there was no line to St. Thomas to the south.  Instead, and how they did this is beyond me, they built a brand new unplanned-for substation, called the Shea’s Lake substation, and connected that to St. Thomas.  Had to have cost at least $15 million.  ???  Where did that come from?

So back to this Tyrone project at Le Sueur County.  Emily Pollack had intervened in the proceeding, allowed under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, and now I’m representing her in this, and we just sent out some information requests and will see what we can see:

Cover_Le Sueur P&Z

Attachment Binder_FINAL

Cover_Applicants GRE & MVEC

There’s good stuff in the Attachment Binder, particularly the North Mankato Load Serving Study and the Biennial Transmission Plans showing their plans for local load serving.  Without the basic information on this project, there’s no basis for a decision by the County.

But here’s the rub — they built this new Shea’s Lake substation to serve the Le Sueur and Le Center areas, so folks, that’s the substation that should be used!  No excuse to build it for this purpose, and then not use it!

Wild Planning & Zoning meeting in Le Sueur County!

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,News coverage — posted by admin on June 16, 2015 @ 1:01 pm


This is an article you MUST read!  Here is the story of GRE and MNVEC trying to string transmission over an area that was demonstrated not suitable for CapX 2020 transmission and getting schooled in history, public process, and ecology:

Substation, transmission lines will damage environment, opponents tell Planning Commission

And in pdf: Substation, transmission lines will damage environment, opponents tell Planning Commission – Le Sueur MN_ News

And it turns out they don’t even know what infrastructure they’ve got on the ground and in the air.


Dubuque says NO to MVP 5 Cardinal-Hickory?

Filed under:Cardinal-Hickory — posted by admin on June 14, 2015 @ 9:29 am


NO?  YES!  It’s likely to happen, and the Cardinal-Hickory 1/2 of MVP 5 will be coming before the Dubuque City Council soon.

Remember ITC’s 1/2 of MVP 3 (shown above the “3” on map) that it applied for, and which was permitted, last year?  Remember ATC and Xcel’s 1/2 of MVP 5 (“shown above the “5” on map) that it applied for, and which was permitted this year?  Well now, another piece of that MVP plan, the other 1/2 of MVP 5, the dashed line below “5” above, is gearing up, and is being met with some significant opposition.  And also well-funded promotion, with Center for Rural Affairs receiving at least $670,000 since 2010 to promote transmission, including these MVP projects (and they’re not the only one, check out RE-AMP funding!).

Dubuque: No to Powerline

According to this article:

Van Milligen concurs with a recommendation by Planning Services Manager Laura Carstens and City Engineer Gus Psihoyos that council members adopt a resolution stating that the filing of a petition by ITC and a formal hearing process would not be in the public interest.

“I think the memo is pretty straightforward,” Psihoyos said. “We have issues that we saw on all three routes, and a transmission line can’t be within 250 feet of a residence.”

Here’s the Telegraph Herald’s view of the alternate routes proposed and what it would do to Dubuque:


A couple months ago, Alan and I went on a utility intrastructure tour which included the Cassville substation that they might try to use:


Dubuque has put a lot into its waterfront, and pass-through transmission is the last thing they need.  Interesting too is the city’s ordinance requiring a 250 foot distance from residences — something every township, city, county and state in the U.S. should adopt.

And here’s an interesting factoid from that Dubuque Telegraph Herald article:

Staff at the Center for Rural Affairs also is following the project. Dyersville, Iowa, was chosen for its new office, the only one in Iowa, because of its proximity to Dubuque and the high-voltage transmission line.

WOW!  The lengths they’ll go to in promotion of transmission — what does that office cost in rent, staff, expenses?  How much is Center for Rural Affairs getting to do this?  Center for Rural Affairs has been getting a lot of transmission specific dough:

Oh, look, more:

And more, so in three years, $520,000 to support transmission from Kresge Foundation:

And in 2014, McKnight Foundation takes over funding these transmission toadies, with another $150,000, so $670,000 over 4 years:

Center for Rural Affairs

Lyons NE

to engage local communities in establishing environmentally responsible siting for clean energy transmission in Wisconsin and Iowa, and to co-support the RE-AMP Rural Communities Caucus leader and staff coordinator

$670,000… $670,000 over 4 years… a budget like that makes me green with envy.  How many transmission opponents have that sort of budget?  Think what we could do with that… or even half of that… or even a quarter of that!!!
If Center for Rural Affairs can get that kind of money to promote transmission, that says a lot about what these projects are worth to the developers!  This is not rocket science.  It’s all about the electricity market.  There’s a LOT of money at stake, a lot of profit to be made, and it’s profit made on the backs of all of us in transmission “flyover” land, using us, our land, to get to market.

WI PSC denys Segment A and CETF/SOUL Motions

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin — posted by admin on June 4, 2015 @ 6:36 am


IMPORTANT NOTICE: Today, after the PSC’s sound rejection of Petitions for Rehearing, the 30 day clock for judicial review starts ticking:

Petition for Judicial Review

Utility regulators reject requests for new hearing on Badger-Coulee

PSC unanimously rejects requests for new hearing on Badger-Coulee transmission line

Yesterday, the PSC was pretty flamboyant in their flagrant dismissal of the Segment A landowner’s Request for Rehearing.

Here’s the staff recap of the requests.

What did the Commissioners say?  They said that we cherry picked the evidence, that we misrepresented the evidence, that the EIS was thorough and we were off-base, that we were trying to relitigate the issues.

Segment A – Amended Petition for Rehearing

Really… In other words, they did not substantively deal with even one issue raised.

As for the CETF/SOUL Rehearing request, that went down in flames as well… it was based on “new information” and didn’t challenge any specific aspects of their decision.

What was Diane Ramthun’s role in this docket?

Well, here’s where Diane “Ransom” is!

With the timing of Oliveira’s February 15 announcement, when did CETF/SOUL know Ramthun was moving under Oliveira’s roof?  It had to have been in the works for some time…

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace