CapX 2020 delay of Brookings line in news today

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket — posted by admin on May 26, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

In the Marshall Independent today:

CapX Economically Driven

And hot off the press, i.e., 22 minutes ago, in the STrib — a report on the delay of the Brookings line.  GOOD, that’s a start, but once again, they only report on part of the story.  And they’ll probably pull this one before sunrise like the last article.  Anyway, if you’re at all wondering about the STrib’s failure to address NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN’s part in this, such as our  Motion to Suspend Proceedings (yes, the reporter knows about it, she was personally sent a press release and copy of our Motion) because the delay proves the lines are not NEEDED — or that CapX is willing to delay over just $1.9 million in cost recovery — the STrib will not touch substantive issues or the meanings of the facts — do call the reporter and ask her what’s up with the STrib’s continued news blackout of the work of NoCapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network!  And ask for her Editor’s phone number!  The reporter is  Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

And of course leave a comment on the online version.  Just click anywhere in the article below to go to their site.  I for one am really getting tired of this biased reporting.  From the Editor: “Isn’t this better than the lack of coverage before?”  Really…  The STrib’s blackout on the CapX 2020 transmission proceeding, and blackout of NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN’s work in this has got me pert near ready to rent that billboard sitting there at Hwy 52 and 50, in Hampton!!!

Perhaps they can take a clue from the Marshall Independent!  Yes, I’m ranting today, I’m disgusted:

Once again, only a small part of the story

NoCapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings at the PUC last week based on this delay, to suspend proceedings on Brookings-Hampton and Hampton-Alma route. The STrib won’t cover it (yes, they got a copy direct) so you’ll have to read it here: www.nocapx2020.info/?p=2037 NoCapX 2020 and United Citizens Action Network also filed to intervene in the FERC case, and will be submitting comments on their rate recovery scheme. And stay tuned for more, because CapX 2020 just did a post-hearing info dump in the Brookings docket: www.nocapx2020.info/?p=2071 There are instructions to search the PUC docket and see for yourself. These last-minute filings by CapX 2020 will merit at least as delightful a response from NoCapX 2020 and U-CAN. As always we will copy the STrib. Will the STrib be on it or will you once again only get part of the story? Stay tuned…

Here’s the STrib’s view:

Utilities want big power line delayed

The 240-mile transmission line’s developers are seeking a two-year delay to hammer out how the line would be financed.

By JENNIFER BJORHUS, Star Tribune

A controversial high-voltage power line across southern Minnesota to the metro area now faces a two-year delay as regulators decide who will pay for the $700 million-plus price tag.

The utilities developing the 240-mile power line have asked state utility regulators to move the date for the Brookings transmission line to become operational from 2013 to 2015, citing “considerable uncertainty” about the tariff structure they’ll be allowed to use to recover development and construction costs, according to a filing the utilities made with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last week.

The line is one leg of CapX2020, a network of high-voltage power lines that Xcel Energy, Great River Energy and other utilities plan to build across Minnesota. The $1.7 billion project, one of the largest grid expansions in the state’s history, would add about 700 miles of overhead wires. The utilities want to delay the Brookings line, they said, until they know what kind of new tariff structure will be in place, a formula officials at the Midwest Independent System Operator (Midwest ISO) have until July 15 to file with federal regulators. Federal regulators must then approve it.

The utilities want the PUC to allow them to fund it the old-fashioned way: by simply folding costs into ratepayers’ bills over decades. That’s how they plan to pay for the other CapX2020 lines.

However, the Midwest ISO, which operates the grid of power lines over the Midwest, determined the utilities had to use a particular tariff formula because that line is not necessary for making electricity service more reliable, but is mainly for hooking up new power generation, such as wind farms. The tariff it had in place for that has been hotly debated for putting too heavy a burden on one player or another, so the Midwest ISO has been hammering out a new one.

The new tariff will somehow divvy up the cost of building new transmission lines between parties such as wind developers and other power generators wanting to hook up to the line, and the multitude of retail customers throughout the region who get some small part of their electricity from it.

The Brookings line is a 345-kilovolt cable that would stretch 240 miles from Brookings, S.D., through Minnesota’s prime wind country to Hampton in Dakota County. It’s expected to help ease some of the current wind energy jam-ups on the grid.

The Citizens Energy Task Force said the delay concerns them because by 2015 the high electricity demand forecasts on which the whole CapX2020 project is based will be more than a decade out of date. It has filed an appeal asking the PUC to re-evaluate the need for the huge project.

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace