plant-blog480

Tomorrow the House Jobs Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee will take up HF 341, see also SF 237, to provide an exemption from Certificate of Need for natural gas plants that sell power into the MISO market.

SAY WHAT?!?!?!

The Power Plant Siting Act, specifically Minn. Stat. 216E.04, Subd. 2(2) already gives natural gas plants a free ride by allowing “alternate review,” which is “review lite.”  For example, the “Simon Says” 325 MW natural gas plant that had been planned for Waseca would have been built.  The 700-800 MW Sunrise River Station by the Chisago sub would have been built.  WHY?  Should a community be subject to living with a HUGE natural gas plant without regulation?  Nope, no way, no how.  Plus who will pay for the transmission interconnection, and how will that be regulated, both “need” and routing… and then there’s eminent domain!  What’s the impact on Minnesota utilities and their service territory?

The biggest problem?  If it’s not regulated by the PUC, who handles it?  Counties.  What county has the expertise or resources to review and permit a power plant?  Most likely it’s as in Freeborn County, where they cut and pasted the project APPLICATION and called it an EIS!  Really!  Or look at Chisago County and the Sunrise River natural gas plant.  That’s not something that should be thrown at a local government.

Here are the Authors’ emails — contact them today:

rep.chris.swedzinski@house.mnrep.jason.metsa@house.mn, rep.dave.baker@house.mn, rep.marion.oneill@house.mn

Here are the Committee member emails — contact them today:

rep.pat.garofalo@house.mn, rep.dave.baker@house.mn, rep.karen.clark@house.mn, rep.dan.fabian@house.mn, rep.bob.gunther@house.mn, rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn, rep.jason.isaacson@house.mn, rep.sheldon.johnson@house.mn, rep.bob.loonan@house.mn, rep.jason.metsa@house.mn, rep.jim.newberger@house.mn, rep.marion.oneill@house.mn, rep.peggy.scott@house.mn, rep.erik.simonson@house.mn, rep.dennis.smith@house.mn, rep.chris.swedzinski@house.mn, rep.bob.vogel@house.mn, rep.jean.wagenius@house.mn, rep.jim.knoblach@house.mn

Please let them know how important it is that we continue to regulate natural gas plants.  A power plants is large, expensive infrastructure with large, costly impacts, and should only be built when and where needed, after a full Certificate of Need and Siting review.

Here’s an example of how it went in Waseca when they tried to bootstrap a larger plant onto an already approve very small plant — short version?  It didn’t go:

Blooming Grove Township — Sen. Dick Day shows his true colors

And in Chisago County where they tried to ram through a HUGE plant on the Sunrise River and pull out large amounts of water — short version?  It didn’t go:

LS Power’s Sunrise River plant voted DOWN!

Lent Twp voters say NO! to LS Power

LS Power’s Sunrise River Energy in the news

Report on Monday Chisago meeting

500+ give LS Power a piece of their mind

What about the Mesaba Project which has a site permit good until 2019, and which couldn’t demonstrate either “need” or that it would provide reasonably priced electricity — under this bill, a large natural gas plant could go up on that site without any further review!  More info HERE on Mesaba Project!

That’s what communities think of having a natural gas plant using their water, making noise, being lit up 24/7, and all for the profit of some absentee corporate owner:  Thanks, but NO THANKS!

Here’s the agenda for tomorrow:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

12:45 PM

Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Pat Garofalo
Agenda:
Overview of natural gas issues in Minnesota.If you wish to testify on HF341, please contact Committee Legislative Assistant, Jonathan Fortner, at jonathan.fortner@house.mn.
Bills:
HF341 – (Swedzinski): Requirement to obtain certificate of need prior to construction of a natural gas plant generating electricity that is exported from the state eliminated.
Here’s the full text of HF 341:
HF341HF341_2

gasification_schematic

Thanks to Charlotte for finding this.  My Google Alerts disappeared and now I’m the last to know!

For the Excelsior’s Mesaba Project, the carbon capture and storage was a farce, the project plan took it to the PLANT GATE, and a small percentage of it at that.  A scam:

IGCC – Pipedreams of Green and Clean

And McClatchyDC says the POTUS is taking a “step back” from coal gasification.  ‘Bout time for this coal state Pres. to admit the obvious reality that this is NOT “the way forward for coal.”

The White House walks away from clean coal

How can they write a headline like that and not put the quotes around “clean coal.”

20150210_093435

Today is the Xcel Energy “stakeholder” meeting for “stakeholders” at the PUC.  For the IRP docket, CLICK HERE and search for PUC Docket 15-21.

20150210_093508

Here are their scenarios:

20150210_103218[1]

Regulatory process and timeline.  January 2 filing, 900 pages, and today between that filing and March 16, 2015 filing.  That March 16 filing will be next piece and will complete filing of plan to Commission, then forward with Information Requests and stakeholder meetings, and then PUC decision within next year or so, depending on what’s happening in stakeholder process.  Three components:

1) CAPCON Order (capacity acquisition process)

  • Aurora Solar
  • Calpine combine cycle expension
  • Black Dog 6 Natural gas

2) Increase small solar forecast

3) Sherco Retirement Scenario

  • Sherco 1 & 2 retirement in 2020
  • Sherco 1 retirement in 2020, Sherco 2 retirement in 2023 (based on capacity acquisition process, retirement, etc. scheduling)

For questions about the IRP, contact Jim Alders  james.r.alders@xcelenergy.com

This is on the heels of last night’s meeting of “Citizens League Electric Energy” group.  From the Citizens League site:

And notes from committee meetings:

The January 26 meeting isn’t posted, but I scanned them in and will post later.  They had a charge of the “committee” in the Phase 2 Report to support Xcel Energy’s “e21 Initiative” below:

Charge-to-Electrical-Energy-Phase-3

That charge contained this specific direction:

CitizenLeagueChargeReally, this is what it says:

… the Citizens League Study Committee will be asked to draft both a statement and legislation to direct the Public Utilities [Commission] to convene this public dialogue with the support of external stakeholder efforts.

So we shouldn’t have been surprised…  That charge was pretty much fulfilled and presented to the group last night, BUT the good news is that in addition to Alan and my objections to that endorsement of the “e21 Initiative,” there were several long-time Citizens League members who objected to the way that this was done and the endorsement of the e21 Initiative.  (I’ll insert the draft when I get back)

Short version, the Draft was soundly rejected.  WHEW!

And for those concerned about this e21 Initiative, Intervene!!! Yes, Citizen’s League, that’s something YOU can do!

Just filed Petition for Intervention in Xcel’s e21 Docket

February 4th, 2015

PublicUtilitiesCommission

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:

Residents of Getty and Raymond Twps_Motion for Reconsideration

Given Staff’s position, well:

Reconsideration_Staff Briefing Papers

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:

BlackOakLayout

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Eagle1Eagle photo by Jason Jennissen, on the Jennissen property in Stearns County

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:

PUC – January 22, 2015 Meeting Notice  20151-106031-01

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:

78MWBut their permit, just amended is for 21 – 2 MW turbines and 20 – 2 MW turbines which equals 82 MW…

BlackOakPermit_42MWGettyPermit_40MWSo which is it, 78 MW, where Recertification by the Commission is exempted, or is it 82 MW as stated in the permit, and where Recertification is not exempted because it’s over 80 MW?

And let’s look a little closer at potential impacts of this project:

GettyBlackOakEagleNestSee that red dot just above the Padua Wildlife Management Area?  That’s an eagle nest, recognized as such by HDR when it did the Avian Study for the Black Oak and Getty wind projects:

Revised Avian and Bat Protection Plan (ABPP) 20127-76674-01

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:

FOIA and Fee Waiver Requst to USFWS  1-14-2015

Hoping to get some good info, because as you can see above, there is an eagle nest, and as you can see on the map below, well, count the wind turbines within two miles of that eagle nest: 2MileRadius

Here are the project siting maps:

GettyLayout

BlackOakLayout

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.

 Eagle2Eagle photo by Jason Jennissen, on the Jennissen property in Stearns County