Center for Rural Affairs toadies for transmission

Filed under:BadgerCoulee - Wisconsin,Wisconsin — posted by admin on June 2, 2014 @ 5:21 pm

Center4RuralAffairs

Once again, Center for Rural Affairs is sticking their nose in where it does not belong, this time in Wisconsin, this time on the Badger Coulee transmission project.  We’ve noticed them nose under the tent on the ITC Midwest MN/IA transmission line.  They’re really getting around…

But it’s what they get paid to do, promote transmission, so they’re doing it, and misleading people along the way.  Earlier today, I heard and saw that the Wisconsin Eye moderator dropped their name twice… why would that be… and they used a map they said was from Center for Rural Affairs, but if you look at the map, it’s Xcel and ATC:

map

Anyway, here’s the article that got me going:

Power Struggle: Public Input Sought on Badger Coulee Transmission Line

And so I fired off a missive to the writer and editor — we shall see…

What’s wrong?

From the article:

Lu Nelsen, energy policy associate for the Center for Rural Affairs, said the Badger Coulee line is one of several projects in the Midwest currently seeking to improve energy transmission for the region.

He described the project as a much-needed update to the state’s electronic transmission grid and a step forward for renewable energy.

“The main focus of this project is to improve reliability and cut down on congestion while also opening up transmission for new energy development,” he said.

Among the concerns raised by those in opposition of the project are how it will affect farms and rural landowners in its path.  (Nelson and CfRA do NOT speak for those in opposition to the project, they are promoting the project.)

“People are concerned about ‘What does this mean for my land, for the protected areas around me?’ ” Nelsen said. “That’s one of the reasons why these meetings are so important, because it’s the one chance to clarify where those concerns may lie.”

Nelsen said the developers would obtain easements for land the line would cross and the land underneath the lines could still be farmed or used for grazing.

Nelson repeatedly states that this is “the one chance” or “last chance” to speak out, and that is just plain false (see “last chance” subject heading below).  This Wisconsin project is just beginning, and the meetings now are scoping for the environmental review.  There will be another group of meetings for public comments on the DEIS, and another group of meetings as the “public hearing.”  Either he doesn’t know enough about the process to be accurate, or is trying to mislead people.  Either way, he’s not an authority.

The most important factoid jumping out is that both ITC Midwest’s MN/IA project and the Badger Coulee project are MISO “MVP Portfolio” projects, projects that are for a private purpose, that of moving electricity out of the Dakotas across the Midwest to points east.  It is not about wind, it is about surplus coal generation that is searching for a market beyond our “Zone 1″ area, and because the electric industry is now market-based, if it can be theoretically shipped anywhere, it can be sold anywhere.  MISO’s witness Chatterjee admitted last week at the ITC evidentiary hearing that this was so:

That was significantly mitigated by the Mid-MISO MVP and the out-year analysis MISO identified an increase as stated in my direct testimony of over 2,000 megawatts of transfer capability.  Again, that is important because that is a transfer capability analysis where an objective function is defined.  You’re trying to move capacity resources or, capital P, capital R, planning resources.  These are baseload units that you’re moving from local resource zone one for utilization in all of the other MISO local resource zones for every load to meet their local — to meet their  planning reserve margin requirement.

So you know how much you need and you know what you’re transferring, you’re transferring  capacity resources, baseload units, and wind also,  but wind has a very small capacity credit value.   And we identified a significant benefit there.  So  that is an important context.

Transcript, p. 94-95, May 19, 2014(emphasis added) (available at public libraries in the project area, YES!!!!!!).

As this Badger Coulee transmission project goes forward, I hope that people are more cognizant of the interests represented.  Many of the PSC docket intervenors, such as Wind on the Wires, Fresh Energy and Izaak Walton League, together with their attorney Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy receive significant grants to promote transmission, from RE-AMP and others such as the Energy Foundation/McKnight.  Other Badger Coulee docket intervenors paid to advocate for transmission and RE-AMP participants include Clean Wisconsin, Citizens Utility Board and Environmental Law and Policy Center.  RE-AMP_Foundations_Master_Grant_List.  Does Center for Rural Affairs, and do the others, disclose their transmission advocacy financial obligations?

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Again, this missive below was sent by Center for Rural Affairs to many conservation, environment and preservation organizations last week, “Subject: Last Chance to Weigh in on WI Transmission Line” which is flat out false, this docket is just ramping up and there will be many more opportunities to weigh in (click for larger version):
CFRA_Mailing

 

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace