onesmallstep

One small step… and a giant leap!  A transmission easement settled, and at more than twice the original offer.  Yeah, we can live with that.

The troubling thing is that the appraisal didn’t really make sense, and they way they came to the appraisal amount didn’t add up.  But despite that, the bottom line was good, so we’re not going to quibble.

Onward, heading up north for transmission hearings for the Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line.

Xcel demand down, down, down

September 28th, 2014

arrowdown

I’ve been saying this for so many years, that electric demand is down, down, down, and instead, Xcel Energy (and all the others) have been saying it’s going UP, UP, UP (even though Mikey Bull said years ago that they wouldn’t need power for a while), and they’re applying for and getting Certificates of Need for all these permits for utility infrastructure that are obviously designed to market and sell the surplus, and the Public Utilities pretends to be oblivious (I say “pretends” because I cannot believe they’re that unaware and uninformed.).

This is a must read:

Xcel Compliance Filing_CN-13-606_20149-103251-02

Here’s the short version from Xcel:

XcelPeak

2024 is expected to be about what it was back in 2007, the industry peak year.  DOH!  But note this — there’s a “small capacity surplus in 2016.”  DOH!

And given the surplus which we’ve known has been present and looming larger, that’s why they then ask for withdrawal of the Certificate of Need for the Prairie Island uprate because it isn’t needed (and really, that was just what, 80 MW or so?  Or 80 MW x 2 reactors, 160 MW?).  If they don’t need that small uprate, why on earth would they need so much more?

DOH!

But what do I know…

Hollydale Transmission Line was clearly not needed, and they withdrew that application…

CapX 2020 transmission was based on a 2.49% annual increase in demand, and for Hampton-La Crosse in part supposedly based on Rochester and La Crosse demand numbers, yeah right, we know better, but that was their party line.  Again, DOH, it didn’t add up to needing a big honkin’ 345 kV transmission line stretching from the coal plants in the Dakotas to Madison and further east, but who cares, let’s just build it…

ITC MN/IA 345 kV line — the state said the 161 kV should be sufficient to address transmission deficiencies in the area, but noooooo, DOH, that wouldn’t address the “need” for bulk power transfer (the real desire for the line).

Here’s a bigger picture of the bottom line (I’m accepting this as a more accurate depiction, not necessarily the TRUTH, but close enough for electricity), keeping in mind that these are PROJECTIONS, and that they’re adding a “Coincident Peak adjustment” which should be included in the “peak” calculations):

Xcel Resource Need Assessment 2014

Notice the only slight reduction in coal capacity, just 19 MW, nuclear stays the same, a 320 MW decrease in gas, a 128 MW reduction in Wind, Hydro, Biomass, which I hope includes garbage burners and the Benson turkey shit plant , slight increase in solar of 18 MW, and Load Management also a slight increase of only 80 MW.  This is Xcel Energy with its business as usual plan, which has to go.  We can do it different, and now is the time.

Will someone explain why we paid so much to uprate Monticello, and paid to rebuild Sherco 3?

DOH!

From the archives:

500+ give LS Power a piece of their mind

October 20th, 2009

2012 NERC Long Term Reliability Assessment

May 7th, 2013

PJM Demand is DOWN!

November 15th, 2012

DraftIt’s final… that is, the FINAL meeting notice was just issued, one more go round on these draft rules for Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and Power Plant Siting Act (siting and routing of utility infrastructure) (Minn. R. Ch. 7850).

We’ve been at this for about a year and a half, maybe more, and to some extent we’re going round and round and round.

Here are the September 2014 drafts, hot off the press:

September Draft 7849

September Draft 7850

Send your comments, meaning SPECIFIC comments, not “THIS SUCKS” but comments on the order of “because of _______, proposed language for 7950.xxxx should be amended to say_______.”  It’s a bit of work, but it’s important, for instance, the Advisory Task Force parts are important because we were just before the PUC on this last week, trying to reinforce that Task Force’s are necessary, despite Commerce efforts to eliminate and/or neuter them.  That despite ALJ orders otherwise, the Final EIS should be in the record BEFORE the Public Hearings and Evidentiary Hearings (just lost a Motion to require this last month).

How can you comment?  The best way is to fire off an email to the Commission’s staff person leading this group:

kate.kahlert@state.mn.us

If you’re up to it, sign up on the PUC’s eDockets, and file your Comment in Docket 12-1246.  If you’d like your comment filed there, and can’t figure it out, please send it to me and I’ll file it for you.  It’s important that these comments be made in a way that the Commission will SEE, in a way that they cannot ignore, when this comes up before them.

pilesofiles

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is winding up its rulemaking on the Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and Siting/Routing (Minn. R. Ch. 7850) chapters.  My clients Goodhue Wind Truth and North Route Group have been participating all along, and their experience with the Certificate of Need and Routing/Siting process has helped inform this record and we sure hope leads to more sensible and workable rules, AND increased public participation.

Now is the time to download and make your comments on what should be included, what’s included that’s important and needs to go forward, and what needs to be reworded.

August 13 Draft 7849

7850 July 8 draft

August 13 Ch. 7850 comparison

Send Comments to:

  • kate.kahlert@state.mn.us
  • and/or post to the Rulemaking Docket.  To do that go HERE to the eDocket Filing Page, register if you’re not registered (it’s easy and almost instant), and post to Docket 12-1246.

It’s highly likely that the LAST meeting of the PUC’s Rulemaking Advisory Committee will be September 24, 2014 (9:30 a.m. at the PUC, in the basement).

A few things that need work:

  • Ch. 7849 & 7850: Need language mirroring statutory language regarding testimony by members of the public UNDER OATH (ALJs have refused to offer people opportunity to testify under oath, and PUC has stated that it makes a difference, “but were those statements made under oath” and if not, less weight.
  • Ch. 7849: Advisory Task Forces need language of statute, and membership not limited to “local units of government.”
  • Ch. 7849 & 7850: Transcripts available online — need to address this in rules and reporter contracts.
  • Ch. 7849: Scoping and Alternatives — compare with Ch. 7850.  Similar process?
  • Ch. 7849.1450: When is it Commerce EER & DER
  • Ch. 7849 & 7850 – timing should be similar for completeness review, etc.
  • Ch. 7850: Public Meeting separate from Scoping Meeting (Public Meeting is to disseminate information, Scoping Meeting is for intake).
  • Ch. 7850: Power Plant Siting Act includes “Buy the Farm.”  Need rules regarding Buy the Farm.

Now is the time to review the drafts, above, and send in Comments.  There may be, I hope there are, revisions released prior to the next meeting, but usually it happens just before, and there’s no time.  So here’s where we are now, and Comments would be helpful.

PSEG wants out of its reactive power requirement for its Artificial Island Salem-Hope Creek generators, to get “maximum generation” and wants to build transmission to enable that plan.  Reactive power stabilizes the system, and there’s no reason to exempt PSEG from that requirement.  None!  And that is certainly no reason to build transmission.

Our other home is in Delaware, Port Penn, to be precise, and I’ve just learned that even though the MAPP transmission project is dead, dead, dead, they’ve kept its heart alive, and are proposing to run a transmission line from Salem/Hope Creek across the Delaware Bay to Delaware City. An “Artifical Island – Red Lion” (AI-RL) transmission line.  Great…

Here’s the map.  Note that they don’t show the existing “Artificial Island-Red Lion” transmission line on this map — is this to use the same route, different, and why isn’t it shown on any of the maps?

Map-ProtectedAreas

Why is this needed?

Redacted Artificial Island Problem Statement

It’s not a need, it’s a want.

The idea of the project was to allow the three nuclear power units to generate the most power possible, and to simplify transmission operations, said Ray Dotter, PJM spokesman.

WHAT??? Yes, that’s the PJMese for “ramp up the generation and not have any reactive power requirement” that stabilizes the electrical system, because, he, that takes away from the generation available to sell, can’t be doing that, can we, what’s more important, profit or stability?

Here’s the PJM “Problem Statement” from their site:

need

WOW… once more with feeling:

Generate maximum power without a minimum MVAr requirement

… and that’s their basis for more transmission? NO, I DON’T THINK SO!

PJM then runs

Ummmmm… oh… OK… well, then, PJM, it says to itself, it says, hey, let’s just produce some “stability test results” to make it look better, yeah, that’s the ticket:

Artificial Island Projects Stability Test Results Summary (Public Non CEII)

How stupid do they think we are?  Well, if you don’t know the secrets of reactive power, here’s “everything you wanted to know about reactive power.”  The basic premise:

Except in a very few special situations, electrical energy is generated, transmitted, distributed, and utilized as alternating current (AC). However, alternating current has several distinct disadvantages. One of these is the necessity of reactive power that needs to be supplied along with active power. Reactive power can be leading or lagging.While it is the active power that contributes to the energy consumed, or transmitted, reactive power does not contribute to the energy. Reactive power is an inherent part of the ‘‘total power.’’

Plus it turns out the AI-RL project proposals don’t meet PJM’s cost/benefit criteria:

The extent to which the relative benefits of the project meets a Benefit/Cost Ratio Threshold of at least 1.25:1 as calculated pursuant to Section 1.5.7(d) of this Schedule 6.

Even PJM had to admit that economic benefits were virtually nonexistent!

These simulations showed that there were market efficiency benefits of the proposals however they were only on the order of several million dollars per year and were far below the savings that would be required to satisfy the market efficiency criteria.

p. 3-4, 8.22.2014 July 2014 – PJM Board Approval of RTEP Whitepaper  PDF

HAH!  So despite this, PJM staff made a recommendation to the PJM Board, which said:

“To ensure a thorough and fair review, given the complexities of the issues, the Board has determined that it will take the matter under advisement and defer a selection at this time.”

OK, transmission wonks, have you ever heard of a proposal that PJM didn’t like?  Sounds like a significant “need” failure to me, that their desire just wasn’t enough.  So back to the drawing board — but who gets a pencil?

But PJM officials, environmentalists and power transmission companies are locked in an ongoing disagreement over the best way to do that. They are considering various options for a costly crossing of the river to a Delaware substation, but a Delaware official said the state’s ratepayers run the risk of shouldering the burden of a project that would mainly benefit people in other states.

Let’s see, PJM rejected it, and now they’re arguing about river crossings?  How do you get from “lack of need” to “options for a costly crossing of the river?”  From PJM’s report:

In April 2013, PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM) requested technical solutions for improving PJM operational performance in the Artificial Island area under a range of anticipated system conditions and to eliminate potential planning criteria violations. In response to the Artificial Island-Red Lion Window, PJM received conceptual design level proposals from five (5) developers for the design and construction of a 500kV transmission line between Public Service Electric and Gas Company’s (PSE&G’s) Salem and Hope Creek Substations, which are located at Artificial Island in Salem County, New Jersey (NJ), and Delmarva Power & Light’s Red Lion Substation in New Castle County, Delaware (DE). The project is generally referred to as the Artificial Island-Red Lion 500kV Transmission Line.

PJM initiated, and note that:

The assessment of these proposals with regard to their ability to address electrical system needs or reliability is not included in the scope of this study.

Here’s the PJM PAGE WITH ALL THE PROPOSALS

And constructability analysis, here’s one (note they have it backwards, RL-AI):

GIA Red Lion-Artificial Island Constructability Analysis AI-RL Xmsn

And another constructability analysis:

US Synergetic Constructability Analysis AI-RL Xmsn

And a third that bears closer examination, because if the point of this is generation without reactive power requirement, look at the option that addresses reactive power:

Burns & Roe – Constructability – Static Compensation VARs on AI-RL

Here are comments from interested parties:

New Jersey Sierra Club Letter – AI-RL Xmsn

New Jersey BPU and Rate Counsel Letter AI-RL Xmsn

Delaware “Public Advocate” Letter – AI-RL Xmsn

Northeast Transmission (LS Power) Letter AI-RL Xmsn

Atlantic Grid Letter AI-RL Xmsn

PEPCO & Exelon Letter AI-RL Xmsn

Dominion Letter AI-RL Xmsn

In the News Journal today:

Indecision remains on power line route

The nuclear power plants across the Delaware River in New Jersey need their electrical reliability and transmission capabilities strengthened, say officials at the regional grid management company, PJM Interconnection.

But PJM officials, environmentalists and power transmission companies are locked in an ongoing disagreement over the best way to do that. They are considering various options for a costly crossing of the river to a Delaware substation, but a Delaware official said the state’s ratepayers run the risk of shouldering the burden of a project that would mainly benefit people in other states.

The idea of the project was to allow the three nuclear power units to generate the most power possible, and to simplify transmission operations, said Ray Dotter, PJM spokesman.

Developers were invited to make proposals to fix the problem, resulting in 26 proposals in all. In June, PJM staff recommended to its board of directors a PSE&G proposal for an 18-mile, 500 kilovolt power line that crosses the Delaware River next to an existing power line. The crossing would lead to the Red Lion substation near Delaware City.

It was the first example of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s order requiring competition for transmission projects. That, Dotter said, means someone other than the local utility can propose and build a transmission project to solve a problem.

PSE&G officials in June said they expected final approval from the PJM board in July. PSE&G estimated the project would cost between $280-320 million. The costs of the project would be spread out among all PJM customers.

In choosing PSE&G, PJM staff rejected an alternative plan by LS Power to construct a 230 kv line through Delaware, crossing the river at a new substation directly across from the nuclear power plants.

But at the July meeting, the PJM board declined to endorse its staff’s recommendation. The board did not explicitly state a rationale. It sent a letter to the four finalist developers, stating: “To ensure a thorough and fair review, given the complexities of the issues, the Board has determined that it will take the matter under advisement and defer a selection at this time.”

The board invited the finalists to revise their proposals. The finalists, besides PSE&G and LS, are Transource and Dominion.

The Delaware Public Advocate has supported the 500 kv line, and was concerned the 230 kv line proposal would saddle Delaware ratepayers with the cost of construction, citing PJM transmission tariffs.

“We just thought that was enormously unfair for the Delaware ratepayers,” said Ruth Ann Price, deputy public advocate. The proposal made by PJM staff was expensive but ultimately cost effective in that it addressed the problem, Price said.

Maya van Rossum, who directs the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, said in a letter to PJM that the PSE&G option is “very damaging environmentally, and not just to one ecological resource, but to hundreds.” The crossing would require dredging, filling and pilings, which she said would harm water quality and hurt endangered species of fish.

“The development that this option would require will most certainly transform forested wetlands to a less productive condition,” she wrote.

Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, said he was concerned about the environmental impacts of PSE&G’s proposal, and urged public hearings. He said the advocate’s office had weighed in too soon.

Delaware Public Service Commission spokesman Matt Hartigan said: “We feel it’s premature to express an opinion regarding the ultimate result of PJM’s decision making process. Having said that, Staff does have concerns with the high cost of any new transmission project, the potential environmental impacts and the economic impact on Delaware ratepayers.”

Karen Johnson, PSE&G spokeswoman, said the company remains “hopeful that the PJM board will make a decision soon and approve our proposal.”

Contact Aaron Nathans at 324-2786 or anathans@delawareonline.com.