“The Capx 2020 Model”

Filed under:Hampton-Alma-LaCrosse,News coverage,Wisconsin — posted by admin on March 23, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

Public Utilities Fortnightly has published two (of how many?) posts on “The CapX 2020 Model.”  This is particularly important as the history of Capx 2020 comes out in the Wisconsin proceeding and at FERC with the advent of the NSP v. ATC Complaint, the history of which is no surprise to those of us tagging along for the last 8 years, but is quite different than the CapX 2020 party line thus far.  To me it feels like the truth is coming out, a little bent, but the truth.  It all goes back to WRAO and WIREs, that the purpose is to ship power eastward, and that they plan to build all the WIREs options, or as many as possible.

PUC Commissioner Phyllis Reha was touting CapX 2020 back in 2006, claiming “A Minnesota Initiative May Have Promise as a Model,” which in my view disqualifies her from making any decisions about CapX 2020, it should mean automatic recusal, oh well, the Motion for Recusal for the CapX Certificate of Need didn’t go far…

Commissioner Reha – Enhancing the Nation’s Electricy Delivery System

For those of us who’ve been tied to this CapX 2020 Vision Thang for 7+ years, we know all this, but it’s nice to see them talking about it, the history extending back to “It’s all connected” WIREs the full range of their dream, the big plan and how they made it happen.  Particularly gratifying to see them lay out how important the enviro “buy-in” or is it “sell-out” was to make this all happen:

The CapX2020 Model – Part I

The CapX 2020 Model – Part II

Here’s a great quote – methinks the “disappointment in the outcome” experienced by Crocker is that the dough ran out too quickly…

The other lesson really arose out of something back in the 1970s. We had an absolute disaster of a transmission project, with Great River Energy’s DC line from North Dakota. We had a lot of angry people, a lot of civil disobedience, and ultimately we had to use the police power of the state to enforce the law. It was a tragedy. I’d just started working for the cooperative and I was involved in the cleanup. We all knew we had to treat the public and landowners fairly, and do a great job of communicating. We sent the A team out there, and they spent two years meeting with anybody and everybody, from Chambers of Commerce to the Kiwanis Club, going on the radio and talking to newspapers. We listened to people and made adjustments. So because of that lesson, the CAPX2020 project hasn’t had any big issues. In fact George Crocker, one of the leaders of the protest movement in the 1970s, has been involved through the environmental group that he leads. When we went to the legislature, he was one of the collaborators. [Editor’s note: During Fortnightly’s fact-checking process, Crocker confirmed this is true, but he added caveats that indicate he’s disappointed with the outcome.]

George Crocker and Bill Grant, then Izaak Walton League and now the state’s Deputy Commissioner of Commerce in charge of Facilities Permitting, pushed the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell that gave the utilities everything they wanted and needed to do CapX 2020, they said it was a deal, “it’s a deal, a package deal, and it’s a good deal.”  For them perhaps, but the public, the public interest, the landowners, and any chance of sustainable energy policy were all utterly screwed.  Thanks, guys, that’s one hell of a legacy… they couldn’t have done it without you.

As one of my all time favorite Asst. A.G.’s said, “I’m surprised they sold out, and surprised they sold out for so little!”

And where are we now?  Mired in CapX 2020…

one comment so far »

  1. My EWife And I own property and live along South Kinney Coulee Road and I-90 Interstate Highway. We are against this proposed route. We are concerned about possible health risks and side effects. There already exists a high pressure
    Gas line and a high voltage power line that run through our property below our house along the LaCrosse River. I do not see a need to run yet another transmission line so close to an already existing one. The Companies that own these lines are making a profit yet our property value is decreased wchile we pay property taxes on the space they use for free.
    It seems the proponents of Cap x-20 should find another solution or at best compensate the affected landowners very well.

    Comment by Mark C. Stangl — March 30, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

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