There’s a problem with not having a dog in the fight, and that is that I’ve not been tracking what’s going on in the Hiawatha Project Certificate of Need docket, or more correctly, what’s NOT going on.  OH MY!  Look what I just learned!


Yup, really, here’s the notice:

PUC’s Notice of Comment Period

That was sent out in early March, setting the deadline for Initial Comments as March 31, 2011, and Reply Comments for April 29, 2011.

This Certificate of Need is going through the “informal process,” something arbitrary set up by the PUC and MOES, with no rules, and oh, it is going weirdly.  Here’s the PUC Order authorizing the “informal process” that was issued in February:

Order of PUC establishing “informal process”

Let me see if I understand this.  The Environmental Report is not done, in fact it’s not yet begun, the Scoping Comments were due yesterday, April 6, 2011.   And the notice for the Scoping of the Environmental Report notes that there will be a public hearing on need, as required by the statute and rules, after the Environmental Report is released.

… but the initial Comment period is closed, the Reply comment period ends April 29, 2011, and all of that will be over before the Environmental Report is done and before the “Public Hearing.”  HUH?  This makes no sense.

Worse, the only party to file comments by the March 31, 2011 deadline was MOES!  There were how many intervenors in the Routing docket, and they raised such a stink about the need for a Certificate of Need proceeding that they rammed through a bill requiring it, and now that it’s begun (and now that their $90k was line-item vetoed by Pawlenty) they are all absent, not a one has bothered to show up and submit a single Comment.  Give me a break!  What does it take to put a comment in?  And not one… and a few have submitted letters saying they won’t be intervening, notably the large funded intervenors:

Letter from Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis and Midtown Greenway Coalition, stating they have no intention of intervening

…sigh… gee, I wonder why they’re not intervening…

Anyway, here’s what MOES has to say, and remember this is the beginning, not nearly the end:

MOES – Comments and Recommendation

So once again, let me see if I understand this.  MOES has submitted Initial Comments recommending that this Certificate of Need be approved, and is basing that on the Application, and to support that Recommendation, using demand data from 2006, and using the Chisago Project record from 2007 as the basis for saying that a determination regarding undergrounding should be made in the routing docket.  Really, that’s what it says, PLEASE read it!


Look what Xcel filed on January 6th, 2011, as a “Supplemental Filing” replacing their “Appendix B, Figure 7, Monthly Demand and Capability” chart (click to enlarge):


Compare that “Net Peak Demand” with the original chart — there’s a LOT more capability than demand… but hey, we knew that:


So can you believe this MOES Recommendation to grant the Certificate of Need?  Where are my waders…


MOES clearly has not taken this chart into account showing a 10-15% decrease in demand.  Plus MOES is not taking into account any Comments because theirs were filed on the first deadline!  They’re taking everything Xcel says in its application and presuming it’s fact!  Even the 55MW need claim based on 2006 data.  HELLO?!?!

A Recommendation should come at the end of the process, not the beginning.  DUH!

Well, here we go… Reply Comments due April 29, 2011.

Duck and cover!


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