CapX 2020 in the Beagle

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on September 29, 2007 @ 11:21 am

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This week in the Red Wing Republican-Eagle, why, LOOK!  It’s CapX 2020!!!!

Power line plan presented — but it remains vague

Mike Longaecker
The Republican Eagle – 09/26/2007

A group that wants to expand power lines across the state — including into southeast Minnesota — presented its case Tuesday in Red Wing.

Officials heading up the CapX 2020 project gave the public a look at plans that would extend power lines from the Twin Cities to Rochester via Hampton. An alternate option would be to run the lines east out of Hampton all the way to Xcel’s Prairie Island nuclear plant before heading south.

Project leaders spent Tuesday going over the proposal with attendees at the Red Wing Public Library, explaining plans and answering questions.

Despite the possibility of new high-voltage lines being pulled across private property, concerns among attendees were tempered by patience.

“No need to get worked up yet,” said Sandy Oehmke, a Dakota County resident who owns a large spread of land that meets Goodhue County.

Though concerned that her 2,300-acre divided parcel could drop in value if power lines became part of the landscape, the Ravenna Township resident didn’t jump to conclusions. Instead, Oehmke said she will wait until the state Public Utility Commission decides which direction the lines will travel.

That decision could be years off. Xcel Energy’s Grant Stevenson said his company and 10 others in the CapX 2020 consortium first have to convince the PUC that there is a need for the project.

The agency received the group’s request for a certificate of need just a few weeks ago, beginning a process that officials expect could take from 15 to 18 months.

Stevenson, who serves as Xcel’s CapX 2020 project manager, said that if the “why” is approved, then state officials can start tackling the “where.” He predicted consortium leaders will have narrowed the possibilities for route down to two or three in about a year.

Stevenson said existing “linear infrastructure” — namely, Highway 52 — would be the enabling corridor used to extend the transmission lines to Rochester.

That would provide a redundant current between the Twin Cities and Rochester if lines heading out of Prairie Island were to go down, he said — thus making it the preferred option.

But since that determination is a long way off, project officials are purposefully avoiding concrete statements.

Still, the lack of solid data left some at the meeting a little puzzled.

“I don’t think they’re telling us enough information to know if we should get excited or not,” said Red Wing resident Janice Hinsch, calling the CapX 2020 proposal “vague.”

Xcel, the leading partner in the venture, argues that the transmission line expansion is necessary due increased need for electricity.

New energy sources will also be pumping added power onto the electrical grid through implements like wind turbines, courtesy of Minnesota’s new renewable energy standard.

Opponents of the CapX 2020 project contend that power companies’ claims of higher need are inflated and that a strong enough case for more lines doesn’t exist.

Though concerned about possible implications, Oehmke said that Xcel’s claim struck a chord with her.

“I recognize the need,” she said.

Let’s see… Xcel is saying they need this huge web of lines, each 345kV line with a capacity of 2,085 MVA… and this is the company that in its Integrated Resource Plan “needed” just 375MW, and not until 2015, and now they’re saying that with the 2007 RES bill, they might not even need that and have submitted a “Notice of Changed Circumstances” to the PUC.

Here it is:

Xcel’s Notice of Changed Circumstances

This doesn’t add up, does it!  Well, DUH, of course not, because this is transmission for export… to a market that doesn’t exist… and no, DUH, it’s NOT for wind…

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace