September 28th, 2014
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:
Short version: 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:
Here’s the Application:
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!
It apparently used to be a gravel pit:
September 28th, 2014
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:
Here’s the short version from Xcel:
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?
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):
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?
From the archives:
October 20th, 2009
May 7th, 2013
September 17th, 2014
It’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:
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:
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.
September 8th, 2014
Last night we went for another picnic, this time near home, at Memorial Bluff. They’ve spent a lot of time, money, and effort to rehab the park, and at the Upper Stone Quarry, have put in the most amazing stone picnic tables and benches, HUGE hunks of rock. The trail near our old house on 8th is now dubbed the “Cow Path,” apparently they regularly herded cows up to the top to graze!
We went to the Upper Quarry, and again picked the table with the view:
Yes, it’s got the “best view,” but look at this! Who would put a picnic table directly under a transmission line, with the upfront close and personal view of this transmission tower? What were they thinking? Not everyone has an affinity for transmission!!!
But some do — we were joined by two flapping and calling birds, hawks or immature eagles, who hung out on top of the structure objecting to our presence. Lighten up, birds!
September 4th, 2014
Alan and I were invited to attend a climate change bicycle tour meeting, joined/hosted by Red Wing locals Mayor Dan Bender, and Evan Brown, cook extraordinaire (see his blog, Cooking for the Future) and member of the Sustainability Commission, so we went. What’s a climate change bicycle tour meeting? Well, they’re on tour, and there have been other meetings as a part of this tour, in Lakeville, Northfield, Winona, and here in Red Wing, other locations perhaps? I think there were five.
Participating organizations were:
When I first heard about this, what came to mind was Neil Ritchie & the solar bike tour back in 2004, they were in Northfield in September, 2004, and many other locations in SD, IA, and MN, raising awareness about renewable energy and urging people to contact their legislators!
This was similar but slightly different, focused on getting word out about climate change. Hopefully, it raised awareness and got Red Wing residents interested in the doings of Red Wing’s Sustainability Commission. The Sustainability Commission played a large role in getting the City’s solar project going. It’s a treat to go to City Hall, which we did yesterday to attend the West Avenue Construction meeting, and see the city vehicles parked under the solar array canopy. LOVE IT!! And there’s additional solar on the roof of the fire station and at the city’s Public Works vehicle parking lot. Yes, PUBLIC WORKS!
We had to do the “go around the circle” thing, and I noted “garbage” (the loud and stinky incinerator right behind me), “transmission” (directly overhead), and “nuclear” just up wind and upriver in the city limits, and that RES must be tied to shutting down coal.
Here’s that transmission line, and it seems to have been redone recently, look at that beautiful, decorative cortend steel:
Alan raised the incinerator issues he’s been working on, that the City of Red Wing burner has been shut down, and it was clear that they’d not really thought about incineration and the contribution of burning to CO2 generation/climate change. In discussing garbage and shutting down the incinerator, “zero waste” was not part of their vocabulary, and instead the binary response was “well, where will we put it?”
Here’s a photo as we were leaving of that former coal plant, now garbage plant, the one David Sparby and an IRP said would be shut down — ask Ramsey and Washington Counties about that:
Their handouts didn’t note shutdown of incinerators or coal plants:
Promote a just transition to clean energy to stop the progression of climate change.
Resist the aggressive expansion of extreme fossil fuel extraction, including tar sands, that threatens life itself.
Nothing about shutting down coal. ??? Nothing about decreasing burning. But again, there’s that insidious link that “clean energy = less CO2″ which we know isn’t true. Now that we have the electric market set up, and the transmission infrastructure in place to ship all that excess generation from the Dakotas through Minnesota eastward, they won’t be shutting it down anytime soon. Now that Sherco 3 is up and running after a year and a half off-line, we lost that opportunity to keep the biggest coal plant in Minnesota shuttered.
If you’re looking for reduction of CO2, and Renewable Energy Standards won’t do anything towards that goal unless it’s explicitly linked. RES MUST BE LINKED TO SHUTDOWN OF COAL. Otherwise, it’s just adding “renewable” generation on top of a surplus, and they can sell that surplus coal generation now that they’ve got the transmission to do it.