The Office of Attorney General’s Residential Utility Division (OAG-RUD) has told the gas utilities in search of recovery for its EXTREME supply expenses during the natural gas price spike in February where to go… or more correctly, where NOT to go — that this should NOT come out of ratepayer pockets — that it’s the on the shareholders. YES! Love it when this happens.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has an “investigation” into the massive gas price spike in February, and how the huge price spike and increased costs should be handled (Many other states’ Commissions have opened an investigation too). Thus far, it’s appeared that the Commission’s intent is to pass it on to the ratepayers and spread it out so it’s not so painful. But not so fast folks! It’s so heartwarming to read a pleading, particularly one filed by Office of Attorney General – Residential Utilities Division, where they say “NO!”

Read it HERE:

There are three ongoing dockets at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission looking at the “gas crisis” from February.

Now pay attention, because this HUGE gas spike was only 2-3 days:

Some background Legalectric posts:

Texas — it’s a gas — natural gas… DOH! February 17th, 2021

It’s still a GAS! February 28th, 2021

The PUC is looking at a few questions, but what troubling is that the Commission seems to presume that the utilities will recoup from ratepayers! This presumption was evident in previous Commission meetings, and was disturbing, to put it mildly!

There are three dockets trudging along on the same path, and to look at all the filings go to eDockets and look up the dockets:

  • 21-135
  • 21-138
  • 21-235

In May, the Commission issued another Notice of Comment Period and noted these issues, followed by a laundry list of topics for comments:

The AG’s Office minced no words and told them “NO!” For example:

Once more with feeling — ENJOY!

OAG_20217-175863-02

I’m particularly interested in storage, because a client lives above Minnesota’s only gas storage dome, an at least 10 square mile just north of Waseca, with 7 billion c.f. of natural gas stored below. A gas intermediate (not peaking) plant was proposed there, first a very small one, then one 10 times that in MW, and thankfully neither was built.

Knowing about that storage (and too many Minnesotans do not), storage was the focus of my comment in this docket last February:

OAG-RUD did address the failure of the gas utilities to utilize storage:

Bottom line to the OAG-RUD?

PPSA Annual Hearing NOW

November 20th, 2020

RIGHT NOW! It’s the PPSA Annual Hearing… sigh… here we go again.

Go to webex, Event # 146 311 2620. The powerpoint slides will be here (and will also be filed on eDockets).

To be able to comment, you have to get on the phone 866-609-6127, Conference ID: 4449079, and to comment, you need to press #1 and get in queue.

Here is the Commerce info about this year’s projects:

And for the record, folks, note that wind is not exempt from many of the parts of the PPSA:

OLA Report on PUC

July 27th, 2020

Hot off the press from the Office of the Legislative Auditor, its report:

In short:

And it’s in the STrib:

Minnesota’s state watchdog agency dings utilities commission on dealings with public

Senate Energy Bill… again

January 23rd, 2020

Last night in Performing Arts Center, Westonka H.S., Sen. Osmek held the second Senate Energy Committee meeting, taking testimony and discussing the bill. Good grief, burning garbage is RENEWABLE?!?! Eliminate the new nuclear prohibition?!?! CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE!?!?!?! Where on earth do these ideas come from? Lobbyists paid by who?

They put together a list of testifiers. This meeting’s list included TWO who had testified in Rochester! I spoke up and objected to allowing those two to testify before others who had not testified could, and near the end of testimony one was crossed off, BUT, well, guess who was second to the bottom, despite having requested to be put on list 8 days prior in Rochester, and didn’t get to testify.

For the first hearing, they put the three regular folks at the very bottom of the list, those not affiliated with an organization, those NOT paid to show up in suits and testify, and at the outset at Westonka last night, Osmek said, at least twice, “we may not get through the list.” They did in Rochester.

And at the outset of last night’s meeting, he again said, “we may not get through the list” and he limited testimony to 30 minutes total, but didn’t put any limit on individual testimony. AND he said, “we didn’t get through the list in Rochester.” FALSE, you DID get through the list in Rochester. Why say that? Prelude to a dis…

They’re talking about “carbon capture and storage,” “CCS” as if it’s real. It is not. No one else in the room has the knowledge and direct experience working on a project proposing carbon capture that I have, and no one else in the room had signed the non-disclosure agreement in the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project and knows the details of cost and energy loss. Most of the Senators on that committee weren’t even around during the Mesaba Project, and I do not recall a single one of them weighing in on that boondoggle project. So what all do they know about it? Do they know only what paid toadies are telling them? Do some research! We do not need to reinvent the wheel, and folks, this is rock science, not rocket science.

We went through this “carbon capture” nonsense on the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project, where it was talked about a lot, but wasn’t part of the actual project, and then, when it was clear the project Power Purchase Agreement “PPA” was tanking, SURPRISE, they popped in a “Plan” at the last minute, in Rebuttal testimony:

Suddenly, a Plan for Carbon Capture and Sequestration
October 19th, 2006

For sure it was utter bullshit, and not enough to save the day and get that PPA through. Here it is:

From MCGPs Initial Brief in Mesaba Project PPA docket (M-05-1993), but first the full brief, the CCS pages are 22-24, with references:

And the section on the Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project bogus “Plan for Carbon Capture and Sequestration”

Well DOH! What’s changed since then? Only a large funding of “research” and a larger funding scheme of promotion, a la Great Plains Institute, etc.,

… but carbon capture and storage is no more doable, either in percentage of capture feasible, or in potential for creating seismic activity and earthquakes, well, there is more evidence now that pumping gas into the earth DOES create earthquakes. It’s even made it into corporate news media, REAL NEWS from 2013 and 2016:

Fracking and energy exploration connected to earthquakes, say studies

7 million Americans at risk of man-made earthquakes

From USGS:

Are earthquakes induced by fluid-injection activities always located close to the point of injection?

Also from USGS, 2018:

What more information do you need? Do some research, folks.

Those of us who went through the 5+ years that was the Mesaba Project have the facts. If you want us to do this all over again, yes, phenomenal waste of time, but yeah, OK. Been there, done that, have the files, have the facts, here we go!

To look at the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project docket at PUC (05-1993) go to eDocketsand search for PUC Docket 05 (year) 1993 (docket no.) in the search field.

p.s. LINK TO MESABA PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

There’s mention of “carbon capture and storage,” a/k/a/ CCS, in a DRAFT bill, SC5558-6, being considered by Minnesota’s Senate Energy Committee:

The part about CCS is this:

What’s the problem? Get out your waders…

This DRAFT bill reads as if “carbon capture and storage” is real. It reads as if “carbon capture and storage” can capture at least 80 percent of carbon dioxide generated. It reads as if carbon captured can be stored by injection. It reads as if “transferring” for use (EOR?) is a good thing.

Why are we going through this again? Well, for example, in the most recent IRS 990 posted for Great Plains Institute, they got $937,931 for “Carbon Management.”

Money talks. And they are pushing it as if — what a crock — look at this “report” and check p. 3 of 4, and decipher what it means — it’s just a map that shows ethanol plants, coal plants, EOR (note North Dakota has no little green triangles!) and saline formations (interesting that our salty aquifer way way down underneath Minnesota isn’t shown):

The Importance of Carbon Capture to Decarbonizing the Electricity Sector

They post this chart as if CCS plays a significant role, but look at the small little slivers of CCS shown:

  1. Carbon capture is not real and cannot readily capture 80%.
  2. To be stored, carbon must be transported to storage, and where might that be and how will that storage be monitored?
  3. Use of carbon for fracking has potential for and causes earthquakes, seismic activity, and associated disasters.

Years ago, July 2005, to be exact, National Geographic had a great article about impacts of gas drilling on water in Wyoming, “All Fired Up,” a/k/a/ “Tapping the Rockies,” with stunning photography by Joel Sartore:

It’s gone now… links dead… I have the hard copy, but…

Anyway, Wyoming is an example of the disasters of fracking, North Dakota another, and around Youngstown, OH, where they were injecting fracking waste, yet another:

Fracking Led to Ohio Earthquakes

Oklahoma Toughens Oil Fracking Rules After Shale Earthquakes

There’s a great piece on The Narwhal the other day about fracking and injecting gas into the earth and the instability of an existing dam and the “Site C” dam now under construction:

Peace Canyon dam at risk of failure from fracking-induced earthquakes, documents reveal

Let’s trot this one out again:

Pipedreams of Green and Clean

But there is a silver lining to this:

Trump Dumps ‘Clean Coal’ Research Despite Lauding Its Potential

Budget Guts U.S. Carbon Capture, Storage Research

Then this:

Coal industry begs Congress to save carbon capture from Trump

And so then this:

White House will promote carbon capture technology in climate change fight

EPA finalizes Trump administration’s coal-friendly climate plan

Once again, IGCC toady org Clean Air Task Force is out there in front:

Everyone Wants Carbon Capture And Sequestration — Now How To Make It A Reality?

And from that article, DOH, what we’re seeing here with Xcel, wanting to keep burning but sell their surplus on the market:

Four utilities—DTE Energy, Duke, Southern Company, and Xcel Energy—that collectively emit about a quarter of a gigaton of carbon emissions a year pledged to go “carbon-neutral” by 2050.

None, however, has pledged to stop burning fossil fuels.

This is the CCS market’s holy grail.

From the “have we learned nothing,” gleaned in all those years working on Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project, the zombie boondoggle from hell, here are a few Legalectric posts:

More on Carbon Capture Pipedream

June 28th, 2010

DOE announces Capture & Release program

May 7th, 2008

Walton’s Bill Grant and “low carbon coal”

May 14th, 2007

Carbon sequestration still ain’t ahappenin’…

February 9th, 2007

Suddenly, a Plan for Carbon Capture and Sequestration

October 19th, 2006

It’s not rocket science… “carbon capture and storage” is not real.