PPSA Annual Hrg – TOMORROW!

December 19th, 2021

And AGAIN! It’s the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing! You can attend in person, MASKED, or via webex or phone. Primary documents are posted below.

December 20, 2021 @ 9:30

PUC Large Meeting Room

121 – 7th Place East – 3rd Floor

St. Paul, MN

Comments? BE SURE TO NOTE DOCKET NUMBER FOR COMMENTS:

PUC Docket E999/PR-21-18 & OAH Docket 65-2500-37832

Written comments will be accepted through January 10, 2022, by 4:30 p.m.

Note notice only to those “who have requested notice” above? Nope, notice should be to all who are on service and project lists for projects active in the calendar year. Thankfully EERA does give notice to a lot more than just those “who have requested notice” (see “Notice & Service Lists” link posted above).

From the EQB Monitor:

Here are the projects EERA’s Summary says were approved — note that for wind it does NOT list applicable parts of 216E, such as Minn. Stat. 216E.03, Subd. 7!

Meanwhile, the update of rules for PPSA siting, Minn. R. ch. 7850, is stalled out again, WITHDRAWN by the PUC last Thursday, supposedly based on many comments made over the last few weeks by a bunch of people and orgs who were utterly absent through the NINE YEARS of this rulemaking proceeding. My grits are FRIED! The PUC Agenda Item starts at the very end of the meeting, and note the bogus statements about the “why” of this rulemaking. Let’s be clear here — it’s due to the 2005 legislative changes, SIXTEEN YEARS AGO. See PUC Docket R-12-1246. Good grief… Discussion starts at 2:48:28:

Comments – Biennial Xmsn Report

November 11th, 2021

The Notice of Comment Period has been issued:

Here’s the plan to review:

2021 Biennial Xmsn Projects Report

Here’s the poop:

How to file comments? See below, and be sure to ask to be on the service list! If you want live links to make it easier, use link to Notice above.

Freeborn Wind Noise Again!

November 9th, 2021

The Xcel Energy Freeborn Wind post-construction noise modeling equipment is up, this time at the tree line, not behind it.

Just filed today at the Public Utilities Commission:

Xcel Energy has 14 days to respond, and then off to the Public Utilities Commission for consideration. The Commission needs to take a hard look at what they’re doing, because these wind projects sited without rules and too close to people is harming those living in the project footprint.

Noise remains a problem for those trying to live in the middle of a wind project. No surprise when the owner uses a 0.5 ground factor to model bigger, louder turbines, several hundred feet above the ground (these have rotor diameter of 120 meters, or 393.701 feet!). This has been ongoing for so long, going on 5 years, I find I’m forgetting crucial details. But what’s happened in this docket, and what has happened in other dockets, all adds up, particularly with the Bent Tree noise exceedences demonstrated, and resulting settlements, and the Blazing Star noise issues going on right now.

Noise was a problem in Bent Tree with Vestas V-82 for the Hagens and Langruds.

Bent Tree Noise report confirms permit violations!

Wind turbine noise is a problem for the Blazing Star wind project with these bigger and louder Vestas V-120:

Blazing Star Wind NOISE!

More on Blazing Star noise

Freeborn Wind noise has long been an issue. Noise was a problem when the Freeborn Wind ALJ recommended denial of the permit because they had not demonstrated, using 0.0 ground factor, that they could comply. Yes, do not forget that we won that round, first recommendation of denial of wind permit application ever:

WE WON!!! ALJ Recommend Freeborn Permit be DENIED, or…

So then the PUC changes the rules, moves the goal posts, and allows use of 0.5 ground factor in modeling to predict noise, and don’t forget, these are now Vestas V-120 turbines, bigger and louder.

Freeborn? PUC upends ALJ’s Freeborn Wind Recommendation

Can you spell U-N-D-E-R-E-S-T-I-M-A-T-E ?? GI-GO???

Tried for an Environmental Assessment Worksheet and got the gong:

PUC Freeborn Mtg 2-6-2020

Filed a MERA claim (Minn. Stat. 116B.03) and we were booted out of court:

Association of Freeborn County Landowners v. Public Utilities Commission

And we appealed the Commission’s final decision on Freeborn:

Freeborn Wind appeal – we lose…

We are persistent. The noise numbers are too high, and they’re higher than pre-construction noise modeling predicted. Yeah, well, DOH, using the wrong ground factor.

The Commission needs to address this obvious problem and deal with the consequences. Avoidance just doesn’t cut it. This is real, and it’s not going away.

ONWARD!

First the state court, though there’s that matter of a HUGE bond, and now federal court.

Here’s the Order:

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/legaldocs/zgvomrqomvd/rulingLine.pdf

Bottom line:

Given the balance of harms implicated by the parties and the plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits, a narrowly tailored motion for preliminary injunction will be granted with respect to land on or near
federal jurisdictional waters until issuance of this court’s decision on the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, which will be fully briefed within a day of the issuance of this order.

From REUTERS (!):

Judge delays construction on parts of $500 mln U.S. power line

It’s that time of the year, errrrrr, it’s that time of every other year… time for the Minnesota Transmission Owners:

It’s filed in Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Docket M-21-111.

The Biennial Transmission Projects Report is required by statute, but there are no longer public meetings, and I must admit, I had pushed and promoted a lot initially, but ran out of time and energy for such a … ahem… waste of time. See Minn. Stat. §216B.2425 for how it’s supposed to go.

If history is any guide, it seems Initial Comments are about a month and a half out, mid-January, with Reply Comments another month and a half out, so mid-March. I’ll put it on the calendar and send a reminder around.

There’s nothing really exciting that I see, at first glance, but I did enjoy seeing the NERC Report excerpts. Last time they included the NERC Reliability as a separate filing, this time they included excerpts at the tail end of the report, above.

Here’s the full NERC Report — it comes out every year, and has a great assortment of important info, about reliability margins, load forecasts, and predictions of generation mix for energy and peak demand. I LOVE THE NERC REPORT!! Here’s the most recent ones — they used to come out in October, now it’s December:

NERC 2020 Long-Term Reliability Assessment

This is how reliability was defined in the transmission world decades ago, circa 1999 NERC Long-Term Reliability Assessment:

Keep in mind that now transmission is no longer about reliability — it’s about economics, so it’s a very different type of evaluation.

Who cares about the NERC Report? Over the decades, the NERC reports have looked at the various areas of the country, based on the grid’s organization, and it evaluates the system’s ability to provide electricity. What I like about it, though, is that the charts, graphs, circles, and arrows belie the party line, like all the talk about decreasing coal and fossil fuel generation, but look at projections for MISO:

Here’s the chart for MISO — the devil is in the details — look at the predominance of fossil fuel:

Remember how the utilities were blathering about the NEED for transmission, and that the transmission build-out would decrease need and reliance on reserve margin — at that time, MISO reserve margin was 15%.

They got their billions in transmission and we’re paying them way too much for it, and look at the reserve margin, the last line in that chart:

18%

Oh, well… I must have misunderstood… SNORT!

And yeah, the purpose of that big transmission build-out morphed into “IT’S FOR WIND!” yet remember, the CapX 2020 lines start at the coal plants and head east:

And the MISO MVP 17 Portfolio of projects supporting coal:

It’s exhausting, dizzying, seeing these scams spinning through, and yet here we go with “Grid North Partners.” Just NO!

Again, there will be opportunity for Initial and Reply Comments, expect Notice in a couple weeks, with Initial Comments probably due in mid-January. So later… in the meantime, look at the NERC report and compare with all the blather you’re hearing, particularly with COP26 in the works.