January 22nd, 2015
Today we were before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, moi and my clients, Residents of Getty and Raymond Townships, asking that the Commission reconsider its permit amendment for the Black Oak and Getty wind projects:
Given Staff’s position, well:
So yeah, that was a unanimous refusal to reconsider, and then a unanimous vote to deny. But there was a ray of sunshine this morning! Chair Heydinger did indeed recuse herself.
Imagine living on the farm right there in the middle of this in Section 18? And it’s not “just” people who live there, but bald eagles too. We’ll see what US Fish & Wildlife has had to say, my FOIA request to them is slowly-at-a-snail’s-pace moving forward:
January 15th, 2015
Notice just came out that our Motion for Reconsideration of Amendment of the Siting Permit, issued November 14, 2014, for the Getty and Black Oak wind projects is before the Public Utilities Commission on January 22, next Thursday:
The Commission will either do nothing, take it up and make no changes, or “Reconsider,” which could mean taking action then, or pushing it forward to revisit.
We were before them in the Certificate of Need docket a couple of weeks ago, where they were saying it’s a 78 MW project (and there’s an exemption to Commission reconsideration of a Certificate of Need if it’s under 80 MW, funny how that works). 78 MW? Yes, that’s what they say in their request for Extension of the In-Service Date:
And let’s look a little closer at potential impacts of this project:
What’s very strange about this project is that although the DNR has submitted numerous comments in the record, and although there are references to US Fish & Wildlife by Applicants in the ABPP, there are no USFWS comments in the record that I can find.
So I fired off a FOIA request to USFWS, and they weren’t real happy with it, so I fired off another a couple days ago:
Here are the project siting maps:
An off the cuff review of the map shows the following affected turbines in Getty, where turbines are located within a two mile radius of an eagle nest:
Section 7: Turbines 14 & 38;
Section 8: Turbine 35;
Section 16: Turbine 18, and Turbine 36 RD area affected;
Section 1: Turbines 19, 20 and 21.
A similar review of the affected turbines in Black Oak:
Section 1: Turbine 40;
Section 11: Turbine 17;
Section 12: Turbines 12, 13, 14 and 16;
Section 13: Turbine 11;
Section 14: Turbines 28, 9, 10;
Section 23: Turbine 29.
December 12th, 2014
EEEEEEEEEE-HA! The NERC Report is out:
I love the NERC Report — the annual Long Term Reliability Assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. Why? Well, it’s a nice offset to the gloom and doom of the MTEP promotional pieces because NERC features tables like this:
What’s not to like about “NERC_Wide Demand: 10-Year Growth Rates (Summer and Winter) at Lowest Levels on Record” as a leading table?
Better yet, they go area by area, and show, even using utility provided data, that it’s not nearly as bad as the utilities claim in their hystrionic applications and testimony. Let’s look at the bottom line in the section about MISO (click on table for larger view):
NERC Reliability Assessment, p. 38 (or p. 46 of 115 pdf). Note how this is NOT scary histrionic data here?!?! Also note, they use coincident peak for forecasting, as they should. If I hear one more “non-coincident peak” being used, I shall scream!
Again, it’s the 2014 NERC Reliability Assessment. Check this out for a more rational view.
December 12th, 2014
It’s that time of year… the time that we get to tell the Public Utilities Commission what does and does not work about the Power Plant Siting Act. We’ve been doing it for years, 15 or so years, and have spent over a year now in a rulemaking on the PUC’s rules, Ch. 7849 (Certificate of Need) and Ch. 7850 (Power Plant & Transmission Siting) where some of these long complained of problems will be address (with any luck). And now, again, it’s time to reinforce those comments with another round of comments:
After the hearing, now officiated by an Administrative Law Judge (new as of a few years ago), a report is issued to the PUC and then ??? It used to go to the legislature, and it used to go to the EQB… guess I have to find out what happens now.
December 19, 2014 beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Public Utilities Commission
3rd Floor Large Hearing Room
121 – 7th Place East
St. Paul, MN 55101
Each of you who have experience siting and routing of large electric energy facilities — this is the time to weigh in. Remember that this is NOT project specific, it’s not about where a project goes of whether it does, but it’s about how the process works or doesn’t, so for example, it’s the time to let them know that notice isn’t being provided, or that witnesses should be sworn on oath so that testimony will be given more weight, etc. You can do it in person, and you can do it by filing comments.
Here is the Power Plant Siting Act, which governs the siting and routing of large energy facilities:
Here are some prior dockets (to access the entire docket, individual comments, etc., go to the PUC’s “SEARCH” site and plug in the docket numbers :
2006 Report to PUC – Docket 06-1733
2007 Report to PUC – Docket 07-1579
2008 Report to PUC - Docket 08-1426
2009 Report to PUC – Docket 09-1351
2010 Report to PUC – Docket 10-222
2011 Report to PUC – Docket 11-324
2013 Report – Docket 13-9650143-96999-01
November 18th, 2014
The Orders are out! On October 30, 2014, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered that the permit for the Black Oak (10-1240) and Getty (11-831) wind projects be amended. This is the one where they were “NOT” talking about “layout.” Or so the Chair most emphatically said (despite the meeting notice, staff briefing papers, and their order options saying layout was at issue).
The written order came out today — note that the term “layout” is used 27 times in the Order… and then there’s the attached permit for a total of 41 times… oh, and the part about ownership:
And on that note, here are Comments filed yesterday in the Certificate of Need docket: