Remember Michael Noble?s vision via Northstar Sierra Club?s newsletter:

Instead of planning transmission to serve new coal plants, let’s begin discussing a project that combines the following: renewable energy from wind farms and bio-gas plants, a new high-capacity border-to-border powerline across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, and as many locally owned energy projects as can be organized along the route. Let’s dub this project Next Generation, a $5 billion project completed within five years. What if this Next Generation project offset the need for two or more coal plants? What if this Next Generation project brought wealth and opportunity to 20+ communities? The stage is already being set.

Is the state really set for a line across the bottom of Minnesota as Michael dreams? This is transmission, a ?grid,? and transmission lines are not built arbitrarily from the middle of nowhere to the middle of anothernowhere.

As we said in Arrowhead, “It’s all connected!”

Arrowhead map_main.gif

A: Hypothetically if the line came close to anywhere, it might be connected.
Jones, Tr. at 5913. (Arrowhead WI I, p. 50)

A: If you connected all the systems together, they would be connected.
Jones, Tr. at 5918. (Arrowhead WI I, p. 50)

A: It’s possible if you connected them, they would be connected.
Valine, Tr. at 6747. (Arrowhead WI I, p. 50)

Now let’s connect the dots. Where did that idea of a big honkin? transmission line across southern Minnesota come from anyway?

It started with the WRAO Report, a transmission planners dream of all the transmission that anyone in the world could want. Here’s the map of this early version of the line across southern Minnesota, starting out in South Dakota, and extending to eastern Wisconsin.

WRAO p8jpg.jpg

Now look at Lignite Vision 21‘s dream transmission to bring coal to market, with a big magenta line from Huron to Sioux Falls to Lakefield Jct., the western part of WRAO 9a:

LigniteVision21 p5 mapjpg.jpg

Then there’s Matt Schuerger’s MTEP03 or Northwest Exploratory Transmission Study Power Point that shows large scale transmission across the middle of Minnesota and also further south in Iowa (too big to upload).

Next is American Transmission Company’s 10 Year Plan, which shows the eastern part of WRAO 9a (are you starting to see a pattern here?) from Lakefield Jct. to Adams, to Genoa to Columbia, in Wisconsin.

ATC 2004 10 Year Plan - Summary p11 map.jpg

And last but not least, the CapX2020 Transmission Plan, that shows that middle stretch between Xcel’s SW MN 345kV Sioux Falls to Lakefield Jct., and connecting to ATC’s Wisconsin part:

CapX2020 Minnesota Bias p20 mapjpg.jpg

As you can see, we’ve been working toward’s Michael Noble’s dream of transmission across southern Minnesota for some time. And all the coal west of western Minnesota could not be built, Big Stone II, Coal Creek upgrade, and all the others in the MISO queue, because transmission would not be built, but for the Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell“>Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell.


This is a test: Does this look like our renewable energy future or our irretrievable fifty or more year commitment to fossil fuel central station power? Remember, things electrical are binary!

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