Aurora Solar referred for hearing

September 28th, 2014

gavel Lots of interesting filings last week — in this case, the Public Utilities Commission has deemed the Aurora Solar application complete and has referred it to the Office of Administrative Hearings for a “summary” proceeding, but more specific and detailed than that:

PUC Order_Complete-ReferralOAH_20149-103265-01

Short version: PUCReferral And they’ve not appointed a Task Force, although there is an opening if people interested in one want to request it.  See p. 4 of the order above. Now how will this be affected by Xcel Energy’s filing looking for essentially reconsideration of their resource plans and acquisitions:

Xcel Compliance Filing_CN-13-606_20149-103251-02

Here’s the Application:

App_20147-101312-02-1

The files with the maps are TOO LARGE to post, so here are links, I’ve got them in two pdfs, but there there are many broken down.  Just go to the docket via PUC SEARCH DOCKET LINK, and then search for 14-515 (“14″ is the year, “515″ is the docket).

There was interest and concern here in Goodhue County originally when it was proposed for an industrial park that was developed, with infrastructure in, but not yet constructed with buildings.  Zumbrota didn’t think that was the best use for that area, and I’d agree.  It’s now been sited in a corn field to the north of the northwest quadrant of the Hwy. 52 and Hwy. 60 interchange.  Much better!

Map_googleearth

It apparently used to be a gravel pit:

ZumbrotaMapGeo

Xcel demand down, down, down

September 28th, 2014

arrowdown

I’ve been saying this for so many years, that electric demand is down, down, down, and instead, Xcel Energy (and all the others) have been saying it’s going UP, UP, UP (even though Mikey Bull said years ago that they wouldn’t need power for a while), and they’re applying for and getting Certificates of Need for all these permits for utility infrastructure that are obviously designed to market and sell the surplus, and the Public Utilities pretends to be oblivious (I say “pretends” because I cannot believe they’re that unaware and uninformed.).

This is a must read:

Xcel Compliance Filing_CN-13-606_20149-103251-02

Here’s the short version from Xcel:

XcelPeak

2024 is expected to be about what it was back in 2007, the industry peak year.  DOH!  But note this — there’s a “small capacity surplus in 2016.”  DOH!

And given the surplus which we’ve known has been present and looming larger, that’s why they then ask for withdrawal of the Certificate of Need for the Prairie Island uprate because it isn’t needed (and really, that was just what, 80 MW or so?  Or 80 MW x 2 reactors, 160 MW?).  If they don’t need that small uprate, why on earth would they need so much more?

DOH!

But what do I know…

Hollydale Transmission Line was clearly not needed, and they withdrew that application…

CapX 2020 transmission was based on a 2.49% annual increase in demand, and for Hampton-La Crosse in part supposedly based on Rochester and La Crosse demand numbers, yeah right, we know better, but that was their party line.  Again, DOH, it didn’t add up to needing a big honkin’ 345 kV transmission line stretching from the coal plants in the Dakotas to Madison and further east, but who cares, let’s just build it…

ITC MN/IA 345 kV line — the state said the 161 kV should be sufficient to address transmission deficiencies in the area, but noooooo, DOH, that wouldn’t address the “need” for bulk power transfer (the real desire for the line).

Here’s a bigger picture of the bottom line (I’m accepting this as a more accurate depiction, not necessarily the TRUTH, but close enough for electricity), keeping in mind that these are PROJECTIONS, and that they’re adding a “Coincident Peak adjustment” which should be included in the “peak” calculations):

Xcel Resource Need Assessment 2014

Notice the only slight reduction in coal capacity, just 19 MW, nuclear stays the same, a 320 MW decrease in gas, a 128 MW reduction in Wind, Hydro, Biomass, which I hope includes garbage burners and the Benson turkey shit plant , slight increase in solar of 18 MW, and Load Management also a slight increase of only 80 MW.  This is Xcel Energy with its business as usual plan, which has to go.  We can do it different, and now is the time.

Will someone explain why we paid so much to uprate Monticello, and paid to rebuild Sherco 3?

DOH!

From the archives:

500+ give LS Power a piece of their mind

October 20th, 2009

2012 NERC Long Term Reliability Assessment

May 7th, 2013

PJM Demand is DOWN!

November 15th, 2012

DraftIt’s final… that is, the FINAL meeting notice was just issued, one more go round on these draft rules for Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and Power Plant Siting Act (siting and routing of utility infrastructure) (Minn. R. Ch. 7850).

We’ve been at this for about a year and a half, maybe more, and to some extent we’re going round and round and round.

Here are the September 2014 drafts, hot off the press:

September Draft 7849

September Draft 7850

Send your comments, meaning SPECIFIC comments, not “THIS SUCKS” but comments on the order of “because of _______, proposed language for 7950.xxxx should be amended to say_______.”  It’s a bit of work, but it’s important, for instance, the Advisory Task Force parts are important because we were just before the PUC on this last week, trying to reinforce that Task Force’s are necessary, despite Commerce efforts to eliminate and/or neuter them.  That despite ALJ orders otherwise, the Final EIS should be in the record BEFORE the Public Hearings and Evidentiary Hearings (just lost a Motion to require this last month).

How can you comment?  The best way is to fire off an email to the Commission’s staff person leading this group:

kate.kahlert@state.mn.us

If you’re up to it, sign up on the PUC’s eDockets, and file your Comment in Docket 12-1246.  If you’d like your comment filed there, and can’t figure it out, please send it to me and I’ll file it for you.  It’s important that these comments be made in a way that the Commission will SEE, in a way that they cannot ignore, when this comes up before them.

TWIC??? WTF???

September 16th, 2014

twic_card_technology

I’m about to undergo a “Security Threat Assessment” and pay $129.75 for the privilege.  Give me a break…

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Doesn’t it mean anything that I’ve got my Attorney License, #254617, sworn on oath to uphold the Constitution?  Apparently not.  And then again, upholding the Constitution would probably be regarded as a security threat!  Such a heightened level of absurdity! Personally, it’s so intrusive, and with a $129.75 price tag for the privilege.  GRRRRRR… You’d think that they’d know by now that if I was going to blow up buildings or run through the courthouse with an Uzi, I’d have done it already.  But nooooooo… and I recall the implied challenges, and claims of my violating CEII regs, when I’d tried to introduce the MAPP map of transmission lines in the CapX 2020 case.  How can a decision on need for a large complex build-out of transmission be made without a map of the system?  How can entering a transmission map as an exhibit in a transmission Certificate of Need proceeding be a threat to security?  It’s not as if the transmission lines and substations weren’t there out in the open for all the world to see!

Here’s the supposed basis for TWIC — the rules:

Program Documents

Worse are the social implications, the general acceptance of these regulations, when this, like the TSA airport searches, in the name of “stopping terrorism,” have zero to do with it.  There’s both a false sense of security and sheep-like acceptance as necessity of these infringements on our privacy and speech.  Constitutional rights going down the crapper.

Alan tells me this was a big issue in Delaware where longshoremen at the Wilmington port were required to go through this background check, and I imagine it alsonhas to do with the truck driver shortage.

TWIC flunks latest test

GAO report cites ongoing issues with TWIC program

From my experience in trucking, I think many truck drivers had criminal histories that have nothing to do with “terrorism,” but which would prohibit issuance of this ID, and effectively take away that person’s ability to earn a living.

Disqualifying offenses, appeals, and waivers

A reality check on TWIC:

Thousands of Issued TWIC Cards Won’t Work Due to an Issuing ‘Error’

TWIC: too much time, money for a program of doubtful worth

Problems still hound TWIC

TSA stops activations of new TWIC cards | WTKR.com

USS Mahan gunman’s use of TWIC card questioned

Balance the number of avoided terrorists attacks (zero?) with the loss of livelihood for those disqualified workers, and employee shortage, I’d guess this has a destabilizing effect overall.

Then I learn that it’s not just that they’re checking up on us when deciding to issue the card or not, but they’re also collecting information on an ongoing basis!

And the GAO report also cited TSA officials as saying challenges like readers being incapable of recording needed data prevented TSA from collecting complete and consistent pilot data, leading to TSA not being able to collect complete or consistent pilot data and subsequently not be able to determine if operational problems at the pilot sites were due to TWIC cards, readers, or users.

How intrusive can this get?  I don’t want to find out…

manurespreader2

More on the Great Wall

September 16th, 2014

They’ve taken the forms off the second pour, and it looks like just one pour left:

20140915_184644_resized

20140915_184703_resized