RE: PURPOSE AND NEED MEETINGS — CORRECTION FROM DOT:

CORRECTION: Purpose and Need Statement now available for proposed Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago Intercity Passenger Rail Service


Our mistake! We gave you the wrong public information meeting dates in yesterday’s update. Wisconsin’s meeting is actually first. Correct dates are:

  • Sept. 6 at the La Crosse County Administrative Center in Wisconsin
  • Sept. 7 at St. Paul’s Union Depot 

We wouldn’t want you to miss these important public meetings. Sorry for the confusion.

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There’s been a lot of bruhaha here about the “Zip Rail,” but that’s now “Zip” since the DOT suspended “work” on that project.  What’s new is that there’s a specific initiative by the DOT now for adding a 2nd daily passenger train to and from the Twin Cities to Chicago, serving multiple points in between.  THIS IS NOT A HIGH SPEED RAIL PROPOSAL, it’s adding another passenger train on the eastern end of the Empire Builder route.

Here’s Amtrak’s 2015 feasibility report (PDF) 

And the reports this rail group has generated with DOT:

Meetings seem to be held monthly, but there’s no notice of when the next meeting is on the e“meetings” page, and there are no details of the meetings, agenda, minutes, presentations, etc.   See future forum meetings.  HA!  They’re missing PAST meeting!

Look at the “Public Engagement” and tell me if you see anything about the public, and look at “Membership/Members” and tell me if you see anything other than corporations, governmental and lobbying organizations — WHERE’S THE PUBLIC?

Here’s the “Put Me On The List” link, copied from their page: contact the MnDOT Project Managers or Mary McFarland, MnDOT Communications.

Have at it, and keep an eye out for a Fall 2017 public meeting where the Purpose and Need Statement – July 2017 (PDF) will be presented and discussed (it does not note a formal comment period).

Here are Comments filed on behalf of Association of Freeborn County Landowners:

Association of Freeborn CountyLandowners_Petition & Initial Comments – Filed July 6, 2017

Association of Freeborn County Landowners — Add to Service List

Process Issue – Timing of Request for Contested Case

Reply CommentsCompleteness – Association of Freeborn County Landowners

What do the Benson turkey shit burning plant, the HERC garbage burner, and a couple other plants have in common?  The have Power Purchase Agreements that Xcel wants to get out of or modify in its favor.  Funny how that works.  These things were bad from the get to, make no economic sense except to those selling what little power is generated.  Now, it appears that Xcel Energy (and therefore us, Xcel’s customers), is tired of being screwed and are not going to take it anymore!

What’s Xcel Energy’s view of these Petitions?  To save money, of course, and it looks to be about $53.1 million annually.

These Petitions were filed just now by Xcel Energy:

17-xxxx+Initial+Filing+Benson+063017+NSP+PUBLIC

With a $20 million kicker to the City of Benson, here’s what Xcel Energy plans to do, including demolition of the plant:

Next up?  The Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) garbage burner:

HERC+PPA+Petition+PUBLIC

The plan for HERC?  Cut the PPA amount, by how much, we don’t know, it’s all “PROTECTED DATA” and top secret:

What does that mean for Hennepin County?  The HERC garbage burner has never been a money maker, and has always been a money loser.  So now what?  Does it make any sense to keep it open, or is it time to shut it down?  Allow me to rephrase… is there any reason to keep it open?  Seems like this is a convenient time to close it.  Neighbors Against The Burner, are you listening?

Next up?  Pine Bend, another “waste-to-energy” garbage burner, and another PPA that Xcel Energy wants to terminate:

Pine+Bend+PPA+Petition+PUBLIC

And about the Sherco site and moving part of Northern Metals operation to the Sherco site, and that’s not all they want to do:

17-xxxx+Sherco+Land+Sale+Petition+NSP+063017

The point of this Sherco Petition?

And last but not least, a sale of assets to Flint Hills:

17-xxxx+Inver+Hills+Asset+Sale+Petition+063017

 

 

For years, for decades, I’ve been going on and on about the inefficiency of transmission, the electric system, and line losses ad nauseum.  Y’all know that, if you’ve been paying attention.  And here we are, back to discussing inefficiency in the electric system.

The SW MN 345 kV Transmission Lines (PUC Docket 01-1958) turned on line losses.  After that close call, line losses were calculated and considered on a very different model, framing it as a percentage of THE ENTIRE EASTERN INTERCONNECT.  So what’s a little loss of 0.1%, who cares… well, as a part of THE ENTIRE EASTERN INTERCONNECT, it adds up fast.  Let me make this perfectly clear, transmission line loss is substantial.  It’s particularly substantial when you’re talking about using transmission to ship lower capacity energy, like wind and solar.  If you have long, hundreds of miles long, transmission lines, there’s not much, if any, of that energy that would find its way to its destination.

This is not news.  My engineer, Art Hughes, PhD EE, taught me so much about power engineering.  It was a struggle to keep up with him, but the knowledge I gained working with him opened doors in challenging utility infrastructure projects.  Here he is at a public hearing in Peosta, Iowa,  telling people a thing or two about transmission:
Art Hughes filed testimony in the SW MN 345 kV Transmission Lines case, PUC Docket 01-1958) — search the testimony for “losses” upon which this case turned, and was erroneously granted a Certificate of Need, and later a Routing Permit:
Oh well.   It’s long done, this transmission project and many others, the horse is out of the barn, dead, and beaten to a pulp.  There’s been a massive transmission build-out, and now they want to build yet another “transmission overlay.”  Great idea, MISO, Xcel, and all of you dreaming of this revenue generation via capital investment and ROI scheme.
Anyway, back to today’s email.

There’s a “Stakeholder Meeting” coming up:

Register here

Those words, “Stakeholder Meeting” get my attention, because just who is a stakeholder, who decides.  I don’t recall getting this email, but thankfully a client who is regarded as a “Stakeholder” did, so I’ve signed up and will spend the time to show up and raise a few points.

Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources Header


Upcoming Stakeholder Meeting: Opportunities and Barriers to Utility Infrastructure Efficiency

Friday, July 28th from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30  p.m.

Wilder Center – 451 Lexington Pkwy. N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

Register for this free public meeting

Meeting Details

An estimated 12-15% of the nation’s electricity production is consumed by generation auxiliary loads, transmission and distribution losses, and substation consumption. As such, there is significant potential to increase utility infrastructure efficiency by decreasing conversion losses, improving plant operations, and mitigating transmission and distribution losses throughout Minnesota’s electric grid.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce invites you to participate in a stakeholder meeting to explore opportunities and barriers to utility infrastructure efficiency projects, and to begin developing a framework to improve the overall generation, transmission, and distribution efficiency of Minnesota’s electric system.

Meeting attendees will hear from national and local experts and gain insight into how existing, new, and on-the-horizon utility infrastructure technologies can increase system efficiency, including:

  • A presentation by the Electric Power Research Institute, highlighting innovative utility infrastructure efficiency projects and approaches from around the country.
  • A presentation from Minnkota Power Cooperative, discussing lessons learned from implementing infrastructure efficiency projects in Minnesota.
  • Information about next steps in the stakeholder engagement process, including a deeper-dive examination of supply-side efficiency policy issues.

Register here