Xcel Energy has filed its “e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report_2014: Charting a Path to a 21st Century Energy System in Minnesota  as a part of a filing entitled “INITIAL FILING–REQUEST FOR PLANNING MTG AND DIALOGUE IN SUPPORT OF E21 INITIATIVE” (now PUC Docket 14-1055) in which they make a request for consideration at a Public Utilities Commission planning meeting:

Request for Planning Mtg and Dialogue – Roadmap to Support e21 Initiative

It’s not just Xcel, but they’re the ringleaders filing the request.  So what is this and why support it? Well, first, let’s look at the basic plan — “stakeholders” and Xcel are proposing things be done differently.  Why?  Well, here’s an egregious example.  How about circumventing all that pesky criteria that they must meet to get a Certificate of Need, and we know how hard that is to prove up need when there is none… so will someone tell me what the relationship is between “use of, and give additional weight to, settlement agreements among the parties” and criteria for a Commission on anything, be it a Certificate of Need or a Rate Case?

E21 J1e21 J2-3

Can you believe that?  But wait, how many Certificate of Need applications have ever been denied?  Oh well, maybe it makes them work at it too hard to fabricate some need claim? And we know how rate cases have been going lately, not exactly in a way that Xcel wants!

Another points they’re looking for:

e21 K

Don’t want those pesky intervenors in individual cases, after all.  Multiple dockets for multiple projects, how on earth could people receive notice, participate and find representation in this scenario?  And how about not doing anything until they’ve addressed the 09-845 “Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines” docket that’s been languishing for five years now?

And look who the “stakeholders” are, and clearly some are more equal than others.  Look who’s involved, the same utility interests, or the toadies that have sold out to the utility interests:


Note that not one of these “stakeholders” have bothered to join, participate, attend, or file comments on the PUC rulemaking for Minn. R. Ch. 7849 Certificate of Need and 7850 Site or Route Permt. None of them bothered to weigh in on the Office of Administrative Hearings Minn. R. Ch. 1400 and 1405 Rulemaking trial balloon either (it’s on hold, and comments have not been published and I had to file a FOIA Request to get the Comments of others).

And given what Gov. Dayton had floated as his trial ballon, it gets a little scary:

What is Gov. Dayton thinking?

AAAARGH!  Anyway, back to the “stakeholders.”  Utility toadies all… except I don’t know of toadying on the part of Ron Elwood, who’s often been participating on behalf of ratepayers in ratecases, and did a great report on nuclear ages ago.  But the vast majority are either utility employees or have been a clear benefactor of “agreements” with utilities and are actively advocating positions beneficial to utilities, a revolving door of personnel and employers.  Mikey Bull’s been on every side of this multi-party love-fest, Betsy Engelking too.  Beth Soholt and Matt Schuerger, then of the Waltons and ME3, are the ones who asked 7 or 8 of us likely intervenors “what would it take for you to approve this project” just before the SW MN 345 kV transmission line 01-1958 docket was applied for, searching for a sell-out but not offering anything or disclosing what exactly they were getting:

$8.1 Million Wind on Wires grant from McKnight/Energy Foundation

$4.5 Million to WOW

And looking back on some of the deals… for example:

1994 “Prairie Island Bill”  Session Laws Ch. 641

Merger Stipulation Dec 15 1999

This “Merger Stipulation” shows the beginning of not just the wind promotion but the transmission toadyism:

MergerPara4Who can forget the 01-1958 SW MN 345 kV 4 Certificates of Need docket, where parties, well, SOME parties, were actively encourage to “negotiate” by then ALJ and now PUC Chair Heydinger, and Crocker and Krikava were so busy winking at each other?

ALJ Recommendation – Nov 8 2002 PUC Docket 01-1958

Then on p. 1 of the Commission’s Order:

01-1958 ALJ Rec 1

PUC ORDER SW MN 345 kV Docket 01-1958

Throughout that proceeding, ALJ, now PUC Chair Heydinger, encouraged certain parties to negotiate, and negotiate they did and a couple of settlements occurred at that time, one was the Community Wind agreement incorporated into that docket, and the other the TRANSLink agreement:


And shortly thereafter, let’s not forget the dough to promote transmission — once more with feeling:

$8.1 Million Wind on Wires grant from McKnight/Energy Foundation

$4.5 Million to WOW

Then we have these same folks at the legislature lobbying for the Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell giving Xcel everything they ever wanted:

2005 – Session Laws Chapter 97 – Revisor of Statutes

Well, apparently not everything they wanted, because now they want more.  We saw how promotion of transmission worked on this ITC Midwest MN/IA 345 kV case.  And don’t forget, the Walton’s Bill Grant is now Deputy Commissioner of Commerce in charge of Energy permitting and “environmental review,” and the Walton’s Nancy Lange is now on the Public Utilities Commission.

Wonder what kind of review their “e21 Initiative” will get!

Where is the public interest in this?


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