June 12th, 2013
How to work up excitement about the Certificate of Need rulemaking??? On its own, it’s dry, detailed, wonkish stuff, thrilling only to those of us who live and breathe need decisions and utility infrastructure siting and routing… but may there’s some pizazz in the machinations surrounding input, like lack of public representation on the Advisory Committee such that even my tremendous bulk doesn’t even it out. Does Xcel deserve THREE representatives? ITC two? “Participating Utilities” two, “Wind Coalition” one and none for Goodhue Wind Truth? Here’s the list:
Plus they’re not posting the drafts on the rulemaking site, so the public has no idea what’s being proposed:
And minutes from the first meeting:
To get to the docket, go to www.puc.state.mn.us and then “search eDockets” and search for 12-1246.
We’ll be talking about the Certificate of Need criteria next, and here’s what’s proposed:
7849.0120 CRITERIA CERTIFICATE OF NEED REQUIREMENTS.
A certificate of need must be granted to the applicant on determining that:
Subpart 1. Need Demonstration. An applicant for a certificate of need must demonstrate that the demand for electricity cannot be met more cost effectively through energy conservation and load-management measures.
Subpart 2. Renewable Resource Preferred. An applicant proposing an LEGF that uses a nonrenewable energy source must demonstrate that it has considered the use of renewable energy sources, as required under Minnesota Statutes section 216B.243, subd. 3a.
Subpart 3. Assessment of Need Criteria. In evaluating a certificate of need application, the
commission shall consider the criteria contained in Minnesota Statutes, section 216B.243, subd. 3, as well as the following:
A. whether the probable result of denial would be an adverse effect upon the future adequacy, reliability, or efficiency of energy supply to the applicant, to the applicant’s customers, or to the people of Minnesota and neighboring states, considering: the region;
(1) the accuracy of the applicant’s forecast of demand for the type of energy that would be supplied by the proposed facility;
(2) the effects of the applicant’s existing or expected conservation programs and state and federal conservation programs;
(3) the effects of promotional practices of the applicant that may have given rise to the
increase in the energy demand, particularly promotional practices which have occurred since 1974;
(4) B. the ability of current facilities and planned facilities not requiring certificates of need to meet the future demand; and
(5) the effect of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, in making efficient use of resources;
B C. whether a more reasonable and prudent alternative to the proposed facility has not been demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence on the record, considering:;
(1) D. the appropriateness of the size, the type, and the timing of the proposed facility compared to those of reasonable alternatives;
(2) E. the cost of the proposed facility and the cost of energy to be supplied by the proposed facility compared to the costs of reasonable alternatives and the cost of energy that would be supplied by reasonable alternatives;
(3) F. the effects of the proposed facility upon the natural and socioeconomic environments compared to the effects of reasonable alternatives; and
(4) G. the expected reliability of the proposed facility compared to the expected reliability of reasonable alternatives;
C. by a preponderance of the evidence on the record, the proposed facility, or a suitable modification of the facility, will provide benefits to society in a manner compatible with protecting the natural and socioeconomic environments, including human health, considering:
(1) the relationship of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, to overall state energy needs;
(2) H. the effects of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, upon the natural and socioeconomic environments compared to the effects of not building the facility;
(3) I. the effects of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, in inducing future development; and
(4) J. the socially beneficial uses of the output of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification thereof, including its uses to protect or enhance environmental quality; and.
D. the record does not demonstrate that the design, construction, or operation of the proposed facility, or a suitable modification of the facility, will fail to comply with relevant policies, rules, and regulations of other state and federal agencies and local governments.
April 15th, 2013
I am so tired of the wing-nut hype against Obama for his “war against coal.“ Obama is promoting coal — he earned his label as a bigger coal toady than Bush when he revived the FutureGen IGCC project which Bush had the sense to drop (one of his few positive acts, well, on the other hand, maybe that was a passive languishing). As if Obama’s transmission Rapid Response Team and “fast tracking” seven transmission projects and appointing former ATC attorney Loren Azar to push transmission that facilitates transmission for coal wasn’t enough… WAR ON COAL? Give me a break… Why don’t they talk about his promotion of coal gasification? His taking money from coal interests (he is, after all, from Illinois, a coal state).
Just out, a report from the Congressional Research Service about FutureGen, the coal gasification plant that, no matter how they try, they just can’t get built.
From the report, first, a most understated explanation of the impossibilities facing this demonstration plant — that no investor would sink money into IGCC, that PPAs are outrageously cost prohibitive, and 90% capture, while difficult, means nothing if it’s not stored somewhere which is logically and physically impossible at the magnitude of coal plant production:
Congressional interest in CCS technology centers on balancing the competing national interests of fostering low-cost, domestic sources of energy like coal against mitigating the effects of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. FutureGen would address these interests by demonstrating CCS technology. Among the challenges to the development of FutureGen 2.0 are rising costs of production, ongoing issues with project development, lack of incentives for investment from the private sector, time constraints, and competition with foreign nations. Remaining challenges to FutureGen’s development include securing private sector funding to meet increasing costs, purchasing the power plant for the project, obtaining permission from DOE to retrofit the plant, performing the retrofit, and then meeting the goal of 90% capture of CO2.…Multiple analyses indicate that there will be retirements of coal-fired capacity; however, virtually all analyses agree that coal will continue to play a substantial role in electricity generation for decades.
April 9th, 2013
Oh my, Jackie Cherryholmes, running for Mayor of Minneapolis, went and did a “Dennis Egan.”
There’s nothing better than when an industry hired gun goes and blows it, when given a choice to do the right thing they just can’t manage to do it, showing their lack of ethics and character for all the world to see.
What do we see? That Jackie Cherryholmes was a registered lobbyist for Covanta, the evil promoter and operator of the HERC garbage burner that is now trying to get their garbage burning capacity increased, asking to burn more garbage and spread toxic emissions over Minneapolis. A big thanks to the STrib for getting this out into the open.
From the Campaign Finance Board:
On February 16, 2013, Cherryholmes announced she was running for Mayor of Minneapolis.
On March 1, 2013, she terminated as lobbyist for Covanta on Leg/Metro issues. She’d registered as Covanta lobbyist on February 15, 2011, just over two years prior.
Cherryholmes also terminated as lobbyist for M.A. Mortenson that same day. What about entities such as Minneapolis Refuse? Others? Do others have interests before the City of Minneapolis?
In the STrib today:
After several Minneapolis mayoral candidates at last Wednesday’s debate criticized a proposal to burn more garbage at the Hennepin County incinerator, Jackie Cherryhomes stepped in with a different view.
“I support the plan,” she said, adding that the county has increased its recycling. “The fact of the matter is, everybody knows you’ve got stuff that you can’t get rid of, and it’s got to go somewhere.”
After leaving office as City Council president at the end of 2001, Cherryhomes transformed her deep knowledge of municipal government and Minneapolis into a business lobbying and consulting for companies and nonprofits. She ended her registration as a lobbyist for Covanta on March 1, after two years, and has said she will not lobby City Hall during the campaign.
Since 2009, New Jersey-based Covanta and Hennepin County have tried to win approval from the city to allow the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center to operate at full capacity. The facility currently operates at 90 percent and burns enough garbage to supply electricity for 25,000 homes a year. Some Minneapolis officials are concerned the plan would worsen air pollution.
Asked if her lobbying work had involved the incinerator, Cherryhomes said, “My job with Covanta has been more involved around the issue of community organizing and connecting them to the community… I wouldn’t say it had anything to do with the incinerator. I was organizing so they had a better corporate community presence, connecting them to some churches, connecting them to Insight newspaper, connecting them to community people.”
April 8th, 2013
You seem to think you’re Dog’s gift to this earth…
Two things appeared in the inbox at about the same time, the first an announcement of McKnight Foundation and Energy Foundation grants in the Midwest, and from Truthout, a review and interview of Ozzie Zehner, author of Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism.
First, the massive foundation to “environmental” organizations:
The two-year grants of $20 million to Energy Foundation and $5 million to RE-AMP, a network of nonprofits, extend existing funding partnerships and the philanthropy’s $100 million commitment, announced in 2008, to blunt climate change. The two groups will focus on developing policies and public education to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio.
And on to Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism. GO HERE TO ORDER.
Mainstream environmental groups are exchanging their principles for power at a suspect rate of exchange. It’s not just the alternative energy technologies that rely on fossil fuels. The environmental groups do, too. They rely on funding from the excess wealth accumulated as froth on the top of the fossil fuel economy. But it’s not just money. There are other influences too.
That pretty much sums up what I’ve seen over the last 20 years…
There is an impression that we have a choice between fossil fuels and clean energy technologies such as solar cells and wind turbines. That choice is an illusion. Alternative energy technologies rely on fossil fuels through every stage of their life. Alternative energy technologies rely on fossil fuels for mining operations, fabrication plants, installation, ongoing maintenance and decommissioning. Also, due to the irregular output of wind and solar, these technologies require fossil fuel plants to be running alongside them at all times. Most significantly, alternative energy financing relies on the kind of growth that fossil fuels drive.
…the binary aspect, and looking for a simple “flick the switch” solution when it’s oh-so-complicated.
March 15th, 2013
The rain has just turned to snow, the mess is heading south… at the “Environmental Congress” right now, and Gov. Dayton must be here because there’s a big police presence… well, for Bloomington, that is.
Last night was “Getting Real About Climate Change” at Mayflower Church, part of the 2013 League of Women Voters Minneapolis Health Legacy Forum. It was very well attended, though heavy in the silver-haired crowd.
I grew up at Mayflower, that’s where I learned about the importance of participation and a sense of stewardship, some responsibility for this world and conditions of life in it. My parents were both very involved for over 50 years, and I called the organizers of this event, and emailed too, about getting a booth. The organizer left a message, I called back, we had a positive chat, and explained some about who I am and what I do, Legalectric and No CapX 2020, and it was no problem, asked about cost and there was none, and I got to drafting handouts, getting a poster printed. Got there and, well, funny how that works… the bottom line was that I was told that someone talked to someone and suddenly I was not welcome, amid a couple rounds of caning and assumptions, and though the source was not identified, this is not rocket science…
Well, Rev. Sarah Campbell was indeed welcoming, it was good to see her again, a joy as always. I can see why my mother thought so much of her.
And never mind the LWV bottom line — we had a table in the van and got set up right inside the dining room door. Handed out more than a few flyers, 200 minus about 6 left over of my Grist piece:
And while we’re talking about “getting real about climate change,” what is it going to take to tie the Renewable Energy Standard to closing down coal plants? As of now, there’s no connection, and the RES has zip, squat, to do with production of CO2. Second, now that through CapX 2020 transmission we’re locked into 50 years of central station coal, how will anything have an impact? Since we’ve given them access to market, why would they shut down those big existing coal plants?
Issues to be raised upstairs at the break out session. Back to it… almost LIVE from the Ramada in Bloomington: