Yesterday, Freeborn Wind, the Applicant, had its wind project permit tabled by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.  How’d that happen!?!  SNORT!  I heard there was an audible gasp from that side of the room when it happened.

This latest round started with a bizarrely attempt to get more than what they got:

20191-148986-02_Freeborn Wind’s Request4Clarification

Yeah, it sure got them more!!  Great idea, disclosing an “agreement” with Commerce and MPCA after being granted a permit by PUC after the ALJ Recommendation that the permit be denied (and in the alternative, that they be granted time to demonstrate that they COULD comply):

So what did Freeborn say in its Request4Clarification?

Freeborn Wind requests the Commission clarify its Site Permit to adopt Section 7.4, as
proposed by Freeborn Wind and agreed to by the Department and MPCA, in place of the current Sections 7.4.1 and 7.4.2, to both ensure consistency with the Order and avoid ambiguity in permit compliance.

Freeborn Wind’s September 19, 2018, Late-Filed proposal for Special Conditions Related
to Noise outlines the agreement reached between Freeborn Wind, the Department and the MPCA on this issue.[fn omitted] The letter indicated that Freeborn Wind had carefully reviewed the proposed Sections 7.4.1 and 7.4.2 from the Staff Briefing Papers, and was concerned they “create[d] ambiguity and would lead to significant compliance challenges.” [fn omitted] Instead, Freeborn Wind offered “proposed alternative language addressing pre-construction noise modeling and postconstruction noise monitoring special conditions” which is “specific to this case” and would “achieve a similar level of noise regulation, but in a manner that can actually be measured following the applicable rules and standards.”

p. 1-2, 20191-148986-02_Freeborn Wind’s Request4Clarification (emphasis added).

SNORT!  Really, they said that!  It was good to see confirmation of the orchestration I’d observed at the September 20 PUC agenda meeting, being in the middle of the full court press of  Freeborn Wind, Commerce and MPCA (why exactly was MPCA there, they have no jurisdiction).  Oh, about MPCA’s jurisdiction, the letter of Kohlasch explains that well:

Exhibit M_Kohlasch_Letter_20189-146351-01

So we responded to that Freeborn Wind Motion:

AFCL_ResponsetoFreebornMotion-ClarificationRequest

I’d sent Data Practices Act Requests to MPCA and Commerce:

MPCA-Agreement_Data Practices Act Request

Exhibit C_Commerce-Agreement_Data Practices Act Request

And on receiving Data Practices Act Requests from MPCA, which showed some of the behind-the-scenes going on, filed this:

20192-150272-01-1_AFCL Motion to Remand to ALJ

And the moment I filed it, and went to email to check filing status, get confirmation, and I see an email from Wachtler, Commerce-EERA, which is included in this, filed the following day:

AFCL_Motion-Addendum to Remand to ALJ_FINAL FULL PACKET

They produced NON-O-T-H-I-N-G!  Nothing at all!

So off we went to the PUC, and the meeting was bizarre.  The Commission did not take up the Many Motions, Motions to Strike, Motions for Reconsideration, Motions for Remand, Motion after Motion, it was dizzying.  Admissions of “confusion” were heard, and can’t have Commissioner confusion.  Methinks that there was confusion at the September 20, 2018 meeting, which was why the permit was approved with the conditions offered and haggled over just a bit.  The video, do check it out, scroll down to #3 at link, starting at 16:43:

TABLED!  We have 14 days to provide language for the permit conditions, 7.4; 7.4.1; 7.4.2.  Then another Agenda meeting date will be set, ostensibly to deal with Motions, language, etc.

Friday, Freeborn Wind is before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, where Association of Freeborn County Landowners’ Motions for Reconsideration are on the agenda:

20192-150272-01-1_Motion to Remand to ALJ

UPDATE:

AFCL_Motion-Addendum to Remand to ALJ_FINAL FULL PACKET

Why update? Because we got more juicy details.  As I was filing the “Motion to Remand to ALJ” I got an email from Commerce-EERA’s John Wachtler, and he said that there were no emails, that Commerce deletes them after 90 days.  Well, emails weren’t all that was requested, and yet, NOTHING was produced. NOTHING!

Here’s what we asked for:

Exhibit C_Commerce-Agreement_Data Practices Act Request

Why am I not surprised…

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 ??

Here we go again…  On January 24th, Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission denied the Petition for Rulemaking filed by Jewell Jinkins Intervenors, where we’re trying to get them off the dime and promulgate some solar siting rules.

Petition for Rulemaking_JJI_Solar_FINAL

Here’s their written order, just out today, with some bizarre statements:

PSC Order_2-6-2019- Denial of Rulemaking Petition

Bizarre statements?  Yup, here’s one, the grand finale:


As Bob Cupit would say that I say, “GIVE ME A BREAK….”

For those of us “at a certain age,” some things to consider.  Lee Schafer’s article in the STrib brought up a few articles about where Minnesota fits into the mix, and that the usual suspects of states to go to for retirement (often AZ for those of us west of the Mississippi, and FL for those on the East Coast) may not be so hot.  Cost of living in AZ sure is high and the climate sure sucks!

America’s Health Rankings – 2018 Senior Report

But what about Minnesota?  The United Health Foundation’s study put Minnesota pretty high, #4, but last year we were #1.  Click for larger version:

The considerations, above, are ones that make sense to me.  For instance, looking at rates of volunteerism of those 65 and over, isolation and sense of community:

… looking at rates of “excessive drinking” for those over 65 — hey, MN, we were #48 on the list, tied with Hawaii, and above only Wisconsin!  WHOA, folks, consider that! Click for larger version:

And the one that I need to deal with (much easier with mostly resolved plantar fascitis) — I can be a woman of substance in other ways, eh?

And Delivery of Home Meals (Meals on Wheels?!?):

Here’s Schafer’s column today in the STrib — you can check out the other linked studies here:

The best spot to retire might not be the warmest