Sand – UNEP’s report

May 7th, 2019

Here in Red Wing, and throughout southeast Minnesota, and along the other side of the river in Wisconsin, sand has been a major issue. Many communities were dragged into this issue when an epidemic of silica sand mines, processing, and transloading facilities sprang up to support fracking for oil. Sand interests got Red Wing’s Mayor ejected when he was both Mayor and Executive Director of sand mining industry’s Minnesota Industrial Sand Council:

Mayor Egan Resigns

Sand was also an issue as Minnesota attempt at, though I’d say avoided, developing sand mining rules:

Someone explain rulemaking to the MPCA

As to sand as a resource, that’s not really been a part of the discussion in these parts. And on that note, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has released a report:

And in the STrib: UN environment agency warns of effects of rising sand use

Check it out!

There’s been a lot of speculation about the low wind production during the low-low temps at the end of January.  Turns out there’s an issue not anticipated by MISO that they’re going to have to deal with.  I heard it first from a little birdie who heard it while in a flock…

And now from a bigger birdie with primary info from the horse itself: Turbines apparently have a -22F degree or so automatic shutoff, so when it was way cold, they shut off.

Unidentified temperature cutoff thresholds challenged
wind forecasting in morning of Jan 30. Unexpected
shutoffs led to a large deviation from planned output.

Ummmmm, that’s a problem.  Here’s the MISO update on that:

20190207 MSC Item 04 Jan 30 Max Gen Event317407

And from my “good friends” at Center of the American Experiment, who got it twisted again:

Bitter Cold Shows Reliable Energy Sources Are Critical

Twisted?  What’s wrong with that?  Well, their focus is that it was an intermittency issue, which it was not.  As above, it was that shut-off at -22!  And note the part in their post about “unforeseen.”  And THAT is the problem, because the -22 cut-off was not integrated into the MISO modeling, plans, and that was a surprise, and they’re going to have to figure that one out.  It’s possible, probable, and now apparently likely that we will have another -22 degree spell in the foreseeable future.  So get with it, MISO!

And natural gas.  I keep thinking about that CenterPoint natural gas underground storage dome.  7 billion cubic feet at least.  There’s a lot of gas in storage.  Are they relying on pipelines, and does that reliance take into account the many newer natural gas plants?  Does Xcel share/buy from CenterPoint, take advantage of the storage?  What is the impact of so many electric generators fueled by natural gas?  They did recently do a lot of natural gas pipeline work on that primary north/south line running north from Waseca, was that a capacity expansion… upgrades or maintenance ??

So why is no one talking about all the oil and gas drilling around Cook Inlet where the MASSIVE earthquake was in Alaska?  Primary info HERE!  See for yourself.

Check this video of all the earthquakes in Alaska since the big one.

And as we know, there are seismic impacts:

You can find it here at abebooks.com.

 

We’re in another day of Enbridge Line 3, today no oral argument or comments, it’s deliberation only.  In the intro, Commissioner Sieben introduced a lot of modifications, laid out on a sheet of paper which was passed around to Commissioners, and then Commissioner Tuma did the same with I believe a couple of sheets (he seems to introduce something at every meeting, spring it on people, with no time to review).  Now they seem to be negotiating how they’re going to approve the Certificate of Need.  ??  I have no idea what they’re talking about, there are no copies for the public, and the documents Commissioners Sieben and Tuma have not been eFiled.  ???

Sierra Club and other intervenors have filed a Motion objecting to entry of new information that has not been subject to review, and that the information should be subject to a contested case proceeding before the Administrative Law Judge.

20186-144310-01_New Info_Remand for Contested Case Proceeding

As they’re going now, it’s as if they are negotiating a settlement with Enbridge, but hey, what about the intervenors, who are parties with equal standing in this?

They’re talking about “beneficiary,” but what they’re searching for is “additional insured.”  And they’re talking about unavailability of insurance for this, well, this is right along the lines of Price-Anderson for nuclear, where we subsidize the industry with no-fault coverage with nominal recovery allowed!

I have tried to get copies eFiled of the Sieben and Tuma sheets that have been passed around, struck out.  Ain’t happening.

They’re talking about a “landowner choice” program where landowners have the option of removal of the old Line 3 from their land.  Schuerger is raising issue of need for informed consent.  YES!  So can we hear from intervenors about all this?  Big issue — all of this is proposed to be handled in a Compliance Filing, and there’s no procedural option for anyone to comment on compliance filngs, unless people just jump in and take it upon themselves to file comments — but there’s no suggestion or guarantee that any comments on what Enbridge comes up with, that it will even be considered.

What a mess…  Certificate of Need approved, with directive to adopt the Recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge to the extent that it is consistent with their decision — that’s backwards, putting the cart before the horse.  Are they making such a mess of this so that on appeal the court will throw it out?

Now on to the route permit.

 

Critical Infrastructure Month?

November 3rd, 2017

Did you know that November 2017 is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month?

Proclamation – Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month_2017-24278

I find it unnerving when tRump says things like:

Our critical infrastructure also faces threats from capacity-induced strain, terrorist attacks, accidents, pandemics, space weather, and cyberattacks. To confront these diverse challenges systematically, we must take steps to enhance our Nation’s economic, intellectual, and technological leadership. My Administration will help our businesses invest in needed capital and research and development by reducing burdensome regulations and enacting comprehensive tax reform.

These aren’t exactly issues, it’s worked up hype.  The language about “capacity-induced strain, terrorist attacks, accidents, pandemics, space weather, and cyberattacks” is a problem because there is not “capacity-induced strain,” and in fact, Xcel Energy whines that the grid is only 55% utilized, a point raised in its e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report:

(N) Identify and develop opportunities to reduce customer costs by improving overall grid efficiency.  In Minnesota, the total electric system utilization is approximately 55 percent (average demand divided by peak demand), thus providing an opportunity to reduce system costs by better utilizing existing system assets (e.g., generation, wires, etc.). (e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report, p. 11).

There’s been one “terrorist attack” on infrastructure, the California substation:

Sniper attack on California power grid may have been ‘an insider’

Also note the phrase “capacity-induced strain,” which is all about market, but then again, we know that the market is the driver for this massive transmission buildout:

ICF – MISO Transmission Benefits Analysis

Who benefits? Utilities benefit big time.  Those producing the glut of electricity that will be shipped from any Point A to any Point B; those building the transmission to ship it; and those providing transmission service.  Who pays? Ratepayers and landowners and taxpayers (taxpayers? Yes, check the latest House bill for utility deductions for interest expenses and faster depreciation of expenses.  And it came out in the last rate case that Xcel Energy hasn’t paid much in the way of taxes since 2008.Campbell p 22

What will happen to this latest energy bill? We shall see…