CapX Brookings – PUC sends part of route back to ALJ

Filed under:Brookings Routing Docket,Laws & Rules — posted by admin on July 15, 2010 @ 1:41 pm


Today the PUC approved all but one part of the CapX 2020 Brookings-Hampton route.  The blue part labeled “CH” on the above map, and which is referred to as “Segment 4” in the EIS, which includes the river crossings at LeSueur and Belle Plaine, has been remanded to the ALJ to fill in the record regarding the most recent USFWS letter:

June 10, 2010 – USFWS Letter

June 10, 2010 – USFWS Letter part 2

Here are my notes from the meeting, it’s close but no cigar, a lot is missing, lots of misspellings, but it’s important for you to get a feel how this all came down and I’m not about to relive it and edit and correct — what you see is what you get:

July 15 notes


Finance & Commerce leads the charge in reporting:

July 15, 2010 4:34 PM CDT

MPUC approves Brookings Project route

by Bob Geiger Staff Writer

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) has approved a route permit for the $700 million to $725 million Brookings Project electric transmission line, giving a cartel of electric utilities its second route approval.

MPUC approved the route permit for the 345-kilovolt transmission line between Brookings County in South Dakota and Hampton, with the exception of a segment of transmission line crossing the Minnesota River.

After the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expressed concern about the impact on birds of a transmission line crossing the Minnesota River, the five-member MPUC voted to have an administrative law judge consider that issue.

Excluding the line segment crossing the river, MPUC members approved 200 miles of the 240-mile route proposed by CapX2020, a joint initiative of 11 utilities supporting the $2 billion network that includes 700 miles of transmission lines.

If necessary, the administrative law judge will schedule a hearing to provide additional information about the transmission line crossing the Minnesota River. CapX2020 proposed two river crossings for review; one near Le Sueur and one near Belle Plaine.

Construction of the line is expected to begin in late 2012 and be completed by 2015. That’s a two-year delay in the completion date for the project, which was requested in May by the group of utilities.

Known as a Change in Timing request, that delay was requested to wait a decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about cost-allocation measures applied to transmission lines like the Brookings Project.

In its May letter requesting the delay, the CapX2020 utilities stated, “The utilities participating in the development and construction of the Brookings Project cannot as a group, make final investment decisions without a better understanding of how the costs … will be treated under the (Midwest Independent System Operator) tariff.”

Carmel, Ind.-based MISO governs electricity development in 11 states and the Canadian province of Canada.

Last week, the MPUC approved a route permit for a 28-mile stretch of 345-kilovolt transmission line from St. Cloud to Monticello.

And this, from the Belle Plaine Herald — more next week:

Minus River Crossing, PUC Approves CapX Route

With the exception of the segment including the Minnesota River crossing at Le Sueur or Belle Plaine, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a route for CapX 2020’s high-voltage power line from Brookings, S.D. to Hampton, Minn. Thursday morning.

The PUC’s decision excludes an approximately 60-mile gap between the proposed Cedar Mountain substation in Renville County and the proposed Helena substation. CapX’s proposed river crossings at Belle Plaine or Le Sueur are within that span.
The PUC’s 4-1 decision covers the route from South Dakota to Hampton, Minn., southeast of St. Paul.

Among the primary reasons for excluding the section between Renville County and Helena Township is for an administrative law judge consider a June 10, 2010 letter from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service regarding potential impacts to eagles at the Minnesota River crossing north of Le Sueur and schedule a hearing if necessary to provide additional information on the river crossing. That additional process could last through the end of 2010.

See the complete story in the July 21 Herald.

And the Jordan Independent:

Sticking point for CapX 2020: River crossings proposed south of Jordan


one comment so far »

  1. Good to see that US Fish and Wildlife concern about river crossings was taken seriously. I trust the meeting room had air conditioning. So hot and humid, could not be outdoors today.

    Comment by Stephanie Henriksen — July 15, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace