Greetings from the Range.  Today’s first Not-so-Great Transmission Line meeting was in Taconite. This is near where my Exclesior Energy Mesaba Project clients own property:


I got there late, but hey, got there before teardown, and had time for a chat with the GIS guy and a fleet of engineers.  There wasn’t quite the passionate standing-room-only turnout that there was against the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project:


This project is moving slowly, and the application for the Certificate of Need has yet to be filed.  That makes sense because it was only last year that it moved from a C to a B project at MISO.  Here’s the listing (click for a larger view):


Today what I wanted to find out was “What’s happening at the border?” so I went over that with Mr. GIS.  Click HERE to pull up maps at the Minnesota/Canada border.  What I found was that none of the transmission corridors proposed have transmission lines in them, and there’s no corridor of any other sort either.  ???

And further south, north and near Taconite, there’s a funnel where all options end up in a narrow area with three narrow corridors: one corridor has a line that they told me had been taken out; one corridor has no road or transmission line, nothing; and the other one has a line going smack dab down the corridor.  Hmmmm, I wonder where they plan to put this new line?

(and each time I try to pdf them for posting, firefox crashes, AAAAAAAAAGH!)

… one moment please… or three… or four… I may never get that posted!

Anyway, I also had a chat with a fleet of engineers, because in considering “need” for the line, I want to know the capacity of the line, meaning emergency rating, so that I can get an idea what the claimed need represents compared to potential capacity.  So far, they say there’s a need for 250MW due to a PPA with Manitoba Hydro.  OK, lovely, but what’s that got to do with a 500 kV line?  I asked them what the emergency rating was of the line that’s there now, the 500 kV, and it took a while, they didn’t want to answer, giving waffly excuses about liiting factors.  I know all about limiting factors and things change, upgrades are happening all the time, so just out with it.  I finally was told that the existing 500 kV line was 1732 MVA.  OK, that makes sense.  Although it doesn’t make sense to me why Minnesota Power uses low capacity lines.  Xcel uses ACSS conductors, a higher capacity line, but MP uses ACSR, a lower capacity.  Why?  Why go through all the rigamarole of certifying and getting a route permit for a little line?  One engineer pointed out the Arrowhead as an example and yes, that’s a good example of planning that makes no sense, or a business decision that makes no sense.  If they’re going to go for it, why not make it worth their while?  Well, other than that there’s that pesky issue of needing to demonstrating need.  But one thing that was disturbing was that when asking for info on the existing line, to consider why that line wasn’t being upgraded, or double circuited, etc., one engineer said that they didn’t know that for the current line yet because they’re not there.  I was referring to the existing line and made that clear, but what I didn’t get into was that I know what the rating is for their planned line, that it’s in the MISO filing (see chart above, it’s also 1732 MVA).  He should know better than to think that I’d believe they don’t know what the emergency rating would be for the line they’re proposing!!!  AAAARGH.  Anyway, I’ll post that chart one more time so we’re clear the project and rating we’re talking about here:


That’s a 1732 MVA (A rating) for a line where all they’ve got to justify need so far is a 250 MW PPA with Manitoba Hydro.



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