BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

9:30 a.m. Wednesday November 9, 2022

3rd Floor Large Meeting Room

Public Utilities Commission

121 – 7th Place East, St. Paul

Just got notice of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission‘s Power Plant Siting Act annual hearing:

This happens every year, and it’s important to spread the word around. One change that is very good is that the Commission is doing a good job of serving notice of the hearing — there are ~ 128 pages of recipients of this notice! GOOD! Love the interwebs, makes it so easy to let people know what’s happening.

The “Power Plant” aspect is very broad, this includes not just “power plants,” but transmission lines, wind projects, and solar too. This is the opportunity to tell the Public Utilities Commission, and the state generally, what works and what doesn’t work about the procedures for siting electric utility infrastructure, ideally based on your experience.

One positive aspect of COVID is that hearings are now held in “hybrid” format, both in person and online via Webex:

It is best if using Webex (http://mn.gov/puc/about-us/calendar/ and click on “November 9, 2022” to get to “webcast”) to have video on your computer and to use the phone for audio, whether listening or making comments — that’s the best way to avoid feedback (using headphones helps too). The webcast link usually goes live 10 minutes or so before the hearing starts.

What to comment about? If you’ve had experience with a Public Utilities Commission siting docket, if there were issues that made it difficult to participate, things needing clarification, rules and/or procedures that need changing, this is a way to bring it to the Commission’s attention. Over the 27 years that I’ve been dealing with utility siting issues, oh, the horror stories I can and do tell. The system needs work, and siting infrastructure is a constantly evolving process, sometimes very good changes are made, and sometimes, no matter how much we petition (formally and informally), challenge, cajole, demand, they just won’t take responsibility, won’t do their jobs, and won’t even promulgate necessary rules.

A main point of holding this hearing, as above, is hearing from “the public.”

In addition to the public participation issues exposed in this report (about which not much, not enough, has been done), a few things that I’ll be bringing up, orally or in writing:

  • The Office of Legislative Auditor investigated the Public Utilities Commission‘s practices, and this report had recommendations, most of which have not been addressed:

OLA-Report_PUC Public Participation 2020

  • The Public Utilities Commission has not, in the decades I’ve been participating in the PPSA Annual Hearing, EVER brought up the PPSA for discussion and ACTION on issues raised.
  • Notice has not been provided to landowners on transmission line routes where “alternate” routes are proposed, and sometimes landowners have not discovered their land may be affected until the public hearing, very late in the process.
  • Power Plant Siting Act rule revisions, due after the 2005 Power Plant Siting Act legislative changes, have not been promulgated, despite a years long process, NINE YEARS, many committee meetings, and a lot of work by a lot of people. The Public Utilities Commission just dropped it… no action… sigh… Minn. R. ch 7849 & 7850 Rulemaking? DEAD!
  • Despite 2 rulemaking petitions to the Public Utilities Commission, there are no wind siting rules! The Commission refuses to promulgate wind siting rules, instead using Small Wind Standards:

There’s no end to the issues to raise.

In addition to the public hearing, comments may be submitted in writing:

Get to it! Register your experience with the Public Utilities Commission, and let them know what needs work.

Another CCS scam bites the dust

October 10th, 2022

Here’s a real DOH! which could have been avoided, but DOE through several administrations keep throwing good money after bad for carbon capture and storage pipedream:

The ill-fated Petra Nova CCS project: NRG Energy throws in the towel

NRG’s Petra Nova project $$$:

Short version? FAIL! From the article:

Following this FAIL, the understatement of the century, from the article:

Yet CCS is a big part of the latest federal energy efforts. It’s also a huge boondoggle for not just outfits like NRC, but for certain “non-profits” like Great Plains Institute:

https://betterenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/GPI_FY2020-2021_990-PUBLIC.pdf

And check out these salaries:

Great Plains Institute helped push coal gasification, for extreme amounts of money…

Great Plains Institute – is Joyce getting their $$ worth?

January 18th, 2007

… but that pales in comparison for the dollars for this recent round of “carbon capture” promotional funding. Unreal…

Once more with feeling — carbon capture is not real, is not workable, is a waste of $$ and effort.

Working remotely?

June 30th, 2022

Is that sort of like the “working hard” v. “hardly working” conundrum?

Last week was almost a pre-COVID “back to normal” with a trip to Freeborn County to meet with two clients, new pipeline and long-time wind. I so miss being on the road, miss trucking, and miss travel out and about to meet with folks. Timing worked so well, it was a good opportunity to take out the trailer and continue to debate about whether it’s time for the trailer to go on to new owners (oh, that mpg hurts!), to debate whether a tent is really workable. And the debate is over. Now to clean it out and sell… sigh…

Site 19 at Bessey Recreational Area, Nebraska National Forest

The Freeborn Wind project is up at the PUC next Thursday, July 7, to address the noise studies, not that they’ll do anything — seems the primary goal is to duck and cover, not deal with noisy turbines.

And the pipeline is going to be a recurring issue. There’s the “little” line going in under Northern Natural Gas’ FERC blanket authority (seems cost/size of project determines whether NNG applies to FERC); there’s the Ventura North E-Line, part of NNG’s Northern Lights 2023 Expansion applied for at FERC earlier this year; and supposedly this month, the “Albert Lea” project. We’ll see how this goes. I know there’s natural gas storage under the Prehn home along Hwy 13, below Hwy. 60, north of Waseca, and DOH, that gas has to get there somehow. And there’s the east/west gas transmission line along Hwy. 14, through my client’s yard in Kasson (and TOO MANY others). But check the map — I didn’t know that there are this many lines.

More to follow…

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: