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

GettyLayout

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

 

It’s the 2014 NERC Report!

December 12th, 2014

NERC-Logo

EEEEEEEEEE-HA!  The NERC Report is out:

2014 NERC Reliability Assessment

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:

2014 NERC-Wide Demand

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):

MISO Peak Demand Reserve Margins

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.

 

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:

Notice

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:

Power Plant Siting Act – 216E

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 :

2000 Summary of Proceedings

2000 Report EQB

2001 Summary of Proceedings

2001 Report EQB

2002 Summary of Proceedings

2002 Report to EQB

2003 Summary of Proceedings

2003 Report to EQB

2004 Summary of Proceedings

2004 Report to EQB

2005 Report to PUC

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 – Docket 12-360 -2012 Report Exhibits

2013 Report  – Docket 13-9650143-96999-01

PublicUtilitiesCommission

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).

PUC Chair: This is not about layout…

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:

Black Oak Wind Project_Amended Permit_WS-10-1240

Getty Wind Project_Amended Permit  WS-11-831

And on that note, here are Comments filed yesterday in the Certificate of Need docket:

Comments, Petition to Intervene, and Petition for Contested Case on behalf of Residents of Getty and Raymond Twps_11-17-2014