Notice of meetings in Republican Eagle

Filed under:News coverage — posted by admin on December 8, 2007 @ 9:46 am

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Today’s Beagle has an article about the CapX2020 meetings and project.  Wente had asked if the lines were needed, and I see he didn’t quote me!  Oh, right, it’s a “family” paper…

One thing that’s disturbing is that concept of “Not everyone agrees that the lines are needed.”  The utilities have the burden of proof, and we all ought to be skeptical.  Their premise is way off, so everything after that is nonsense… or as an engineer said often when discussing transmission planning, “If you consider only transmission, you’ll have a transmission solution.”  Yuppers.  And when you have an objective like connecting those coal plants that they want to build, that’s the best way to get it.

Meetings coming up in high voltage lines

Scott Wente
The Republican Eagle – 12/08/2007

ST. PAUL — Minnesotans soon can tell state officials what they think of a plan to add hundreds of miles of electric transmission lines across the state.

A group of 11 utilities, led by Xcel Energy, has proposed building three high-voltage transmission lines in Minnesota and neighboring states, claiming they are needed to improve service and prepare for growing electricity demands.

Utilities involved in the CapX 2020 project are seeking a critical document called a certificate of need for the project. To move forward, they must convince the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission the transmission lines are needed.

A state agency has scheduled 10 public meetings over the next two weeks to take public comment. There will be a meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 18 at Grandpa’s Event Center in Cannon Falls.

Commerce Department officials say information from those hearings and from written submissions will be used to design an environmental review of the project.

Opponents say this is an early, but critical, stage of the process. They say if the utilities get the certificate of need, it could be very difficult to stop the project.

The CapX 2020 plan calls for three 345-kilovolt electric transmission lines:

• A 250-mile line from an existing substation in Fargo southeast through Alexandria and St. Cloud to a substation in Monticello, roughly following the Interstate 94 corridor.

• A 200-mile line from a substation in South Dakota’s Brookings County east through Marshall and Redwood Falls in western Minnesota to a new substation in Hampton. A related line would head north from Marshall to Granite Falls.

• A 150-mile line from Hampton south to Rochester and then east to La Crosse, Wis. An alternative route would send the lines from Hampton east to the Prairie Island nuclear plant in Red Wing, and then south toward Rochester and on to La Crosse.

Specific routes for the proposed lines have not been determined. The utilities plan to seek a routing permit in early fall next year.

Not everyone is convinced the high-voltage lines are needed.

Red Wing attorney Carol Overland has tracked the CapX 2020 proposal and operates a Web site that attempts to debunk the utilities’ claim that transmission expansion is needed.

Overland said a better alternative to the high-voltage lines would be to add generation facilities close to where the electricity is needed, rather than distributing the juice across hundreds of miles of transmission lines.

“We’re dealing with this false justification of need,” said Overland, who will challenge the utilities’ claims at the upcoming meetings.

Total cost for the four power lines is estimated at $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion. Completion of the project would increase the average Xcel Energy customer’s bill by about $2, the company said.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace