Be there or be square — transmission open houses in eastern Iowa near Dubuque and southwestern Wisconsin near Cassville.

Monday, May 16 –
Peosta Community Center
7896 Burds Road
Peosta, IA 52068

Tuesday, May 17 –
Pioneer Lanes
1185 US (Business) 151
Platteville, WI 53818

Wednesday, May 18 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

Thursday, May 19 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

Where’s Art Hughes when you need him??

Art Hughes has died…  March 31st, 2009

Days before he died, Art Hughes was testifying in Peosta against an ITC transmission line heading east to Peosta, here’s the photo from that hearing, and the article about it is in the “Art Hughes has died…” link above.

arthughes_PeostaAnd now they’re doing another round of open houses, yesterday in Peosta, IA.  Wherefore Art thou?  Well, Art, where are you?  I guess they remember him, because this time it’s “open house” and not a meeting/hearing.  These “open houses” are held by ATC, ITC, and Dairyland about its plan for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Project.  This project is the southern part of the “5” project on the MISO MVP project map below, from the Hickory Creek substation (near Dubuque) to the Cardinal substation (near Madison)(the northern part of 5 is the Xcel/ATC Badger Coulee line).  It’s one of the transmission lines that fills in the 345 kV transmission gaps to enable North & South Dakota to Chicago bulk power transfer.

MVP portfolio mapOnce more with feeling: Open House Schedule — each starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 7 p.m. (hello, ITC, it’s planting season, how convenient!):

Monday, May 16 –
Peosta Community Center
7896 Burds Road
Peosta, IA 52068

Tuesday, May 17 –
Pioneer Lanes
1185 US (Business) 151
Platteville, WI 53818

Wednesday, May 18 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

Thursday, May 19 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

 

 

A shindig has been announced, at which Xcel Energy will unveil its plans, the options it has deemed “alternatives” to the Hollydale Transmission Project.

Xcel Energy’s Hollydale “Open House”

May 25, 2016 from 12-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.

Medina Ballroom

500 Highway 55

Medina, Minnesota

Heard some time ago that this was in the works, and made a scheduling request, overtly received with intent to schedule around time I could not attend… well, so much for that.  Gee, thanks, folks!  PPPPPPPPPFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFBT!

Now, on to the Hollydale Transmission Project.  This is the project that Xcel withdrew, because it was apparent that it wasn’t needed… well, Xcel would never admit that, but it was going down in flames:

Xcel and Great River pull the plug on Hollydale applications

 

This is a project that was first applied for in 2011, 5 years ago!  That project was a plan to run a 115 kV transmission line through Plymouth and Medina to a substation way to the west, when the “problem” was increased demand along 694 and Hwy. 55.  DOH!  What’s not to object to!  Here’s what they’d originally proposed:

Untitled

So after the project was withdrawn, without prejudice (they can re apply), they embarked on a “study” to determine options.  That was so long ago…

For ages, they’ve been saying they’re working on this report, and have been saying “it’s not finalized” (this is NOT rocket science, it’s only engineering and transmission planning and PR spin, what takes so long?  I guess it takes this long to come up with justifications and twist the data to make it look reasonable and needed?).

Compliance Filing_July 2015_20157-112044-01

Compliance Filing_April2016_20164-119743-01

From that April Compliance Filing, here’s their plan for this meeting:

OpenHousePlanIt would help to be able to review the “study.”  So I left a message with Xcel Energy at 612-330-6644, the number provided on the meeting notice (no name, but I presumed Tom Hillstrom is still in charge of this) asking for the study.  Because I got voicemail, I also called the attorney assigned to this:

herring_river

No “little birdie” here, and something’s fishy — no “study” is forthcoming to study because “it is not finalized yet.”  Sent an email to Plymouth@xcelenergy.com with the same request.  Oh please… it has been YEARS!  Pretty tough to argue for any of your “options” when you don’t have anything to back it up!

manurespreader2

My clients are on the Medina end of this, and each project blurb notes that “The existing 69 kV transmission line west of the Hollydale Substation will remain unchanged on all three of these alternatives”

Here’s the three they’re proposing:

View Alternative A Map (PDF)

View Alternative B Map (PDF)

View Alternative C Map (PDF)

Alternative C what looks to be the worst one of the three — to energize the existing 69 kV line through this Plymouth subdivision, much of which is directly over a walkway/bike path:

View Alternative C Map (PDF)

AlternativeCAnd once more with feeling, Xcel says that “The existing 69 kV transmission line west of the Hollydale Substation will remain unchanged on all three of these alternatives.”  GOOD!  But… will that hold true for the foreseeable future?  What’s the “Long Term Conceptual Plan” on the maps?  That’s why I want to see this study, because past experience with Xcel Energy is that once they propose something, they work it until they get it, one way or another.

From the Xcel “Plymouth Project” site:

XcelLogoBanner

The Public Utilities Commission has approved the Public Hearing Notice for the Xcel Energy Rate Case to be included in bills and publicized where ever.  We’ve got some notice to get prepared:

PublicHearingSchedule

Lo and behold, there’s one scheduled for Red Wing!!  Thanks for small favors…

What are the issues in the rate case?  Check the docket by going HERE TO PUC SEARCH DOCUMENTS PAGE, and search for docket 15-826.

A couple of things you might find interesting, I did, are some of the Direct Testimony filings.

2A2_Multi-Year Rate Plan – Burdick_201511-115332-02

2C2_Xmsn_Benson_201511-115335-03

In addition to whining about the grid being only 55% utilized (ummm, yes, we knew it wasn’t needed, but you went ahead and built it and now want us to pay through the nose, or other orifices, for your transmission for market export?  ppppppbbbbbbft!), here’s the issue — prices have fallen, the market is down, down, down, and we’re conserving, using less, and so now they want us to pay more to make up for it, oh.  Recap:  Xcel Energy wants us to pay for the transmission over our land for their private profit, they want us to pay more because we’re using less, and they want us to make up for their poor business decisions… yeah, great idea.

Figure2

This rate case and rate increase request is in large part transmission driven.  Xcel wants to move from cost based rates to formula rates, and they want to shift transmission costs from the Construction Work in Progress recovery that was part of the deal leading to the 2005 Ch 97 – Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell, with transmission perks, CWIP and Transmission Only Companies.

And then there’s the e21 Initiative, Xcel Energy’s effort leading up to the 2015 legislative session, and it seems that with the exception of AARP, only those who signed on to the e21 “Consensus” are allowed to intervene.

e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report_2014

Great…

KeepOut1

Lo and behold, there’s a public hearing scheduled for Red Wing!!  Thanks for small favors…  Mark the hearings on your calendar and show up.  Before hand, do a little reading!

KeepOut2

 

CapXCap1

It’s out, the report from U of M Humphrey School of Public Affairs about CapX 2020, headlining it as a “Model for addressing climate change.

Transmission Planning and CapX 2020: Building Trust to Build Regional Transmission Systems

Oh, please, this is all about coal, and you know it.  This is all about enabling marketing of electricity.  In fact, Xcel’s Tim Carlsbad testified most honestly that CapX 2020 was not for wind!  That’s because electrical energy isn’t ID’d by generation source, as Jimbo Alders also testified, and under FERC, discrimination in generation sources is not allowed, transmission must serve whatever is there.  And the report early on, p. 4, notes:

Both North and South Dakota have strong wind resources and North Dakota also has low-BTU lignite
coal resources that it wants to continue to use. New high-voltage transmission lines are needed to
support the Dakotas’ ability to export electricity to neighboring states.

See also: ICF-Independent Assessment MISO Benefits

Anyway, here it is, and it’s much like Phyllis Reha’s puff piece promoting CapX 2020 years ago while she was on the Public Utilities Commission, that this is the model other states should use:

MN PUC Commissioner Reha’s Feb 15 2006 presentation promoting CapX 2020

So put on your waders and reading glasses and have at it.

Here’s the word on the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell – Chapter 97 – Revisor of Statutes that gave Xcel and Co. just what they wanted, transmission as a revenue stream:

CapX_Xmsn2005

And note how opposition is addressed, countered by an organization that received how much to promote transmission.  This is SO condescending:

HumphreyCapXReport

… and opposition discounted because it’s so technical, what with load flow studies, energy consumption trends, how could we possibly understand?  We couldn’t possibly understand… nevermind that the decreased demand we warned of, and which demonstrated lack of need, was the reality that we were entering in 2008.

XcelPeakDemand2000-2015

And remember Steve Rakow’s chart of demand, entered at the very end of the Certificate of Need hearing when demand was at issue???  In addition to NO identification of axis values, the trend he promoted, and which was adopted by the ALJ and Commission, has NOT happened, and instead Xcel is adjusting to the “new normal” and whining that the grid is only 55% utilized in its e21 and rate case filings.  Here’s Steve Rakow’s chart:

rakownapkindemand

Reality peak demand trajectory was lower than Rakow’s “slow growth” line, in fact, it’s the opposite from 2007 to present.  Suffice it to say:

ManureSpreader

USSupreme-Court

Here’s an interesting case (oh, how I hate that word “interesting”).  It’s about whether a state can offer “incentives” over and above FERC wholesale electric rates that would incentivize construction of new in-state generation.  US SCt says NO!  The states can only regulate retail rates.

Hughes v Talen Energy Marketing_14-614 April 19, 2016

This is a case regarding Maryland “incentives” and PJM, but it’s applicable to our good friends at MISO too.

So do tell, what does this mean for FERC set rates of recovery and cost allocation for all this transmission to enable the wholesale market?  What happens when FERC rates stick their nose under the tent in state rate proceedings, i.e., Schedule 26A covering return and cost allocation for these big transmission projects we know and love?  From what I can see of Schedule 26A, they’re allocating a “retail share” and, well, what business does FERC, via MISO (in this area), have with retail rates?

Transmission Rate Information

Schedule 26A – Indicative Rate Charges MISO (last updated 3/31/2016)

Look at all the ways we’re charged for transmission:

Transmission Pricing – MISO