April 19th, 2014
Judge Susan Richard Nelson issued an order yesterday declaring Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act unconstitutional because it “constitutes impermissible extraterritorial legislation and is a per se violation of the dormant Commerce Clause.”
I finally found a copy of the decision, I was looking in all the wrong places. Here’s the Order (thanks to the STrib for posting it):
It’ll likely be appealed, but I wouldn’t bet on any success. The impact of this decision will be what I’ve been expecting — dreadful — the doors are open for even more coal plants (note the discussion of surplus capacity in the decision) and with CapX mostly built, we’ve got the infrastructure for 50+ years of coal generated electricity exports across Minnesota to market, and 50+ years of mercury for our fish, and all those emissions for us to breathe. Great, just great.
April 11th, 2014
This is the Hollydale Project proposed route, the one that Xcel Energy couldn’t demonstrate need for if their Certificate of Need depended on it, and it did, and they didn’t. Hence their petition to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for withdrawal of Applications for both their Certificate of Need (12-113) and their Routing Permit (11-152). I love it when that happens…
This was a great victory to get Xcel to acknowledge that this project was in trouble, that they couldn’t demonstrate need, not that they admitted it outright, but close enough. The down side is that they are persistent, and when they want something, they keep trying, sometimes the same thing, sometimes something different. What will they do here? Who knows, but I doubt they’ll disappear.
There was a surprise
filing letter and proposed decision option sent by Paula Maccabee on behalf of WPNA at 8:37 a.m., less than an hour before the meeting began, and half an hour after we’d already left for St. Paul, first I learned of it was when it was passed out at the meeting.
Here are the changes that were requested:
D. Future Filing Requirements
2. Require the company to file
a discussion on their public outreach efforts andan update on improvements made to the load serving capacity of thedistribution system serving the area six months from the date of the order granting withdrawal and quarterly thereafter.
I don’t get it… why? And no, that doesn’t work. Where Xcel is saying they’ll be back, after developing a more palatable option through discussions with stakeholders, why eliminate the disclosure of its “public outreach efforts? Thankfully, this was not adopted.
From Xcel’s filings, it’s clear that the Hollydale Project is “desired,” strongly desired, despite that it’s not “needed” in any criteria-based sense. Xcel wants this project so badly that it has stated that if permitted to withdraw this application, it is coming back, and that:
The residents of Plymouth and Medina, as well as other key stakeholders, have expressed serious concerns about the potential impacts of this Project…
… that “it may take some time to collaborate with stakeholders on developing a new solution…”
… and that it “intends to work with the community and stakeholders on developing a more widely supported electrical solution…”
Those words get me more than a little concerned, particularly where at a meeting organized by Commerce at Plymouth City Hall, after we’d gone around the room in introductions, Sen. Bonhoff said, very pointedly to me, “Who are you?” “Why are you here?” “Who is the Barry Family?” I got the idea that she though I shouldn’t be there, that it was to be a more private party, and I shouldn’t have been invited. And yesterday, a woman present in support of WPNA asked the same questions. Hmmmm… Oh well. We’re parties to this party!
This Hollydale Project was an odd project, in ways that weren’t fully addressed in the proceeding:
- First is the inherent legal definition of transmission – this project, as proposed, would change this line from a relatively unregulated 69 kV line to a highly regulated “High Voltage Transmission Line” as defined in statute.
- The project as proposed represents a significant physical and electrical change, from an inactive 69 kV line to a high capacity HTVL that is an operating part of the grid.
- This project would require a change in ownership – Xcel is requesting to buy the easement, gain the powers that ownership of easement interests represents, and planned to use the easement to build a line of a very different character than what was built under the original easement.
- This project would change the purpose of the line through Plymouth and Medina, from a purpose of rare emergency backup for the local distribution system, to a high capacity grid support for the 345 kV system.
Now the application has been withdrawn. Xcel says it’s going to work collaboratively to come up with a “new solution.” Let’s see what happens next!
April 9th, 2014
Xcel’s request for withdrawal of its Hollydale Transmission Project Certificate of Need and Route Permit Application is before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission tomorrow. We’re 4th on the agenda. Come on down, or watch it live!
And look how a decision came down in Chino, California! There was a transmission line through the community for a long, long time, and it was “inactive” for a long, long time. Then one day, the utility started taking down the towers that weren’t being used, and stuck new bigger ones in their place. Thankfully, the story didn’t end there — they had to take the poles down and underground that transmission line:
Here’s the Chino Hills group’s website:
March 27th, 2014
No, unfortunately it is NOT about the beer. The Grain Belt Express Transmission Line is moving forward, now in Missouri. Yesterday they filed their “application” and I’ve never seen anything so light on substance. But there’s more… A big pile o’ testimony was filed yesterday, and today there’s the first prehearing order, setting an intervention deadline of April 25, 2014.
Missouri Public Service Commission Code of State Regulations
Missouri CSR – Chapter 4 – Code of Conduct (i.e., ex parte!)
To keep up with the docket CLICK HERE and plug in “EA-2014-0207″ and you’ll get all the filings — here’s what’s been filed thus far:
Title of Filing
Filed on Behalf Of
|14||3/27/2014||Order Directing Notice, Setting Intervention Deadline, and Directing Filing of Staff Recommendation||Commission-(All)|
|13||3/26/2014||Direct Testimony of Robert M. Zavadil||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|12||3/26/2014||Direct Testimony of Michael P. Skelly||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|11||3/26/2014||Direct Testimony of Gary Moland||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|10||3/26/2014||Direct Testimony of Dr. David G. Loomis||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|9||3/26/2014||Direct Testimony of Mark O. Lawlor||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|8||3/26/2014||Direct Testimony of Timothy B. Gaul||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|7||3/26/2014||Direct Testimony of Dr. Anthony Wayne Galli||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|6||3/26/2014||Direct Testimony of David Berry||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|5||3/26/2014||Application of Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|4||2/25/2014||Order Granting Leave To Withdraw As Counsel||Commission-(All)|
|3||2/25/2014||Notice of Withdrawal||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|2||2/25/2014||Entry of Appearance||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
|1||1/13/2014||Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC Notice of Intended Case Filing||Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC-(Electric)|
March 24th, 2014
No, not that kind of MISO, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or is it Midwest Energy, or… (they’ve been changing the name lately) anyway, it’s the electric market kind of MISO:
They’re having a shindig at the Minnesota MISO HQ:10:00 a.m. – High Noon Friday, March 20, 2014 MISO Eagan Office 2985 Ames Crossing Road Eagan, MN 55121
Here’s the Notice:
Where it talks about the “MISO report” that is to be reviewed, here’s what they’re referring to:
And apparently this is being constantly updated, so the link is the most recent update.