January 13th, 2016
The Wabash Valley IGCC (coal gasification) generating plant was built as a demonstration project, and oh what a miserable failure that was. Such a failure that they’re now shutting down the coal gasification part and will be running only on natural gas.
After it was “finished” it took years of work, with at times 22 engineering contractors, to cobble it together and make it run. It rarely ran at capacity, and often didn’t run at all. Operating costs were through the roof. It also exploded and killed two workers, which made headlines just as our opposition to the Mesaba Project was getting into full swing, yet that explosion was just the tip of the iceberg in the many problems with this project.
Wabash River Final Technical Report(it was “routinely” in violation of its water permit for selenium, cyanide and arsenic)
And here’s the good news — IT’S SHUTTING DOWN FOR GOOD!
Citing increased operational costs and the ongoing decline in natural gas prices, Wabash Valley Power Association announced plans Tuesday to close its synthetic gas plant and one steam turbine in West Terre Haute.The cooperative plans to operate the sgSolutions synthetic gas plant and the turbine at Unit 1 of the neighboring Wabash River generating station through May 1, communications manager Lisa Richardson told the Tribune-Star. Following the shutdown, the remaining turbine will operate by natural gas from an existing pipeline at the site on Bolton Road.Based in Indianapolis, the nonprofit association provides wholesale electricity to 23 distribution co-ops in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, including Parke County REMC and Enerstar Electric in Paris.Approximately 47 employees will be laid off, and Richardson said the cooperative will offer a comprehensive severance package to those affected. About 25 contractors who typically work at the facility each day are also impacted by the decision, she said.The association purchased sgSolutions from Duke Energy in 2005. sgSolutions converts solid fuels like coal into a synthetic gas, which currently fuels the generating station, according to a cooperative news release.Richardson said the station will operate from natural gas once the plant closes. The station currently operates from either synthetic or natural gas.“It’s no longer economically feasible to run the sgSolutions plant and the steam turbine,” Richardson said.Winter natural gas futures prices are “significantly lower” than in previous years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.The agency pointed to record high production and storage levels and the forecast for warmer than average weather this winter in the northern and western U.S., resulting in an expected decline of residential natural gas consumption.Wabash Valley Power says the moves will increase efficiency and reduce wholesale electricity costs to distribution members.The station currently generates 260 megawatts of electricity per day, Richardson said. That output will drop to 180 megawatts daily once the station is fueled solely by natural gas.
December 30th, 2015
“Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy” filed a rate case with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, PUC Docket 15-826. You can see all the filings — GO HERE TO PUC SEARCH PAGE — and search for docket 15-826.
Monday, January 4 at 1:30 p.m.
PUC Large Hearing Room – 3rd Floor
121 – 7th Place E.
St. Paul, MN 55101
Xcel is asking for a big increase, and they admit it’s transmission driven. So yes, I’m interested, you betcha. No CapX 2020 and Carol A. Overland (as individual) have intervened:
So far, here’s what’s been happening:
A rough schedule has been proposed by Commerce DER, which will be hashed out at the Prehearing Conference, and probably altered as the case moves forward:
The PUC Staff Briefing Papers for last Thursday’s meeting:
Here’s the webcast: Video – should be good for 90 days from Dec. 10
Video – Docket 15-662 — Rate Design — video at 00:15:00 – 02:20:00
Video – Docket 15-826 — Rate Case — starts at 02:20:00
There has been one other intervention — “The Commercial Group” which is the biggies, like Walmart. There have been several Notice of Appearances filed, but not interventions. ???
The AG’s Office has been the only one filing challenging comments thus far, which is why I have felt the need to barge in. The “usual suspects” have been part of the e21 nonsense, and other agreements in the past that have both compromised their position and not been in the public interest. Here are the AG Comments thus far. RUD is dead on about NSP/Xcel’s overstatements, and those proven overstatements should be sufficient to grind this thing to a halt and get on more realistic terms:
This is just Minnesota. Obviously there will be a similar proceeding in Wisconsin in the very near future.
And given this rate case is transmission driven, the linkage between the FERC approved MISO rate and the reduction of return on equity in the FERC docket will have to be addressed:
December 29th, 2015
November 29th, 2015
Here we go again, this year’s Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing.
Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Docket Number: E999/M-15-785
Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Docket Number: 60-2500-32901
Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, Saint Paul, MN 55101
Bad weather? Find out if a meeting is canceled. Call (toll-free) 1-855-731-6208 or 651-201-2213 or visit mn.gov/puc
Here are some prior dockets (to access the entire docket, individual comments, etc., go to :
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
2012 Report to PUC – Docket 12-360
2013 Report to PUC – Docket 13-965
2014 Summary Comments– Docket 14-887
November 18th, 2015
Tomorrow, the Chapter 7829 Rulemaking is going to the Commission, for approval of the FINAL rules. This rulemaking has been going on formally for over two years now in Docket 13-24 (go to NEW SEARCH and search for this docket).
And some history… I’ve been concerned about this chapter for a long while, and submitted a Petition for Rulemaking over FOUR YEARS ago. Apparently that was filed in the trash:
And prior posts:
November 15th, 2015
Someone posted the Minion Carolers, and, well, though I don’t need to get too wrapped up in these things because I AM a Christmas Carol, I remembered this from a few years back and found one (weren’t there more?_ and want to capture it while the spirit moves me: