Remember Excelsior Energy‘s boondoggle Mesaba Project?  Go to the PUC’s search page and search for “05-1993” and “06-668” for the dockets.

A little birdie flew by today, cocked its shiny eye and said…

So following up… Does anyone find it strange that as of August 3, 2018, the registered office of Excelsior Energy and its agent, CEO, and Principal Executive Office Address of Tom Micheletti, is  THE ABOVE STORAGE UNIT at 4630 Quebec Avenue North, New Hope, MN 55428?

Last known address: 708 1st St., #421, Minneapolis, sold 2017 for $749,900(verified in Metsa for Congress report, 3/9/2018 donation)… and then there’s Orono: Tom & Julie’s house is for sale.

Did you know that Excelsior Energy got their regulatory perks extended until 2025?!?!  Really, look at this, Minn. Stat. 216B.1694, Subd. 3(b)(1), a 2017 legislative boondoggle!

(1) site and route permits and water appropriation approvals for an innovative energy project must also be deemed valid for a plant meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) and shall remain valid until the earlier later of (i) four years from the date the final required state or federal preconstruction permit is issued or (ii) June 30, 2019 2025; and

Yes, Excelsior Energy was doing their lobbying in 2017.

Julie Jorgensen has been hustling with Greenmark, our good friends Mark Andrews and Red Wing’s ex-Mayor Dennis EganThree Musketeers? Three Stooges?

Then there’s Excelsior Energy Capital.  What’s that?!?!  Well, a Delaware corp registered in Minnesota in August of 2017, and inquiring minds found out their HQ is a BOAT SLIP at 21950 Minnetonka Boulevard, #210, Excelsior, MN.

Really.  Could google maps be wrong?  It’s not international waters, but assuredly … ummmm… well, bizarre!  Look at their TEAM (can you say photoshopped?).  I can’t find direct connections to our friends at Excelsior Energy, but with an operation like this, it’s got to be there!  Searching…

Remember AWA Goodhue’s office?  And Secretary of State lets them get away with this?

po-box-307-of-mastics-new-era-001

 

Photo of DOE project in Alamosa, under 30 MW

There’s a 300MW solar project proposed for southern Wisconsin, in Iowa County.  Thing is, as with Minnesota and large wind (PUC denies Reconsideration re: Wind Rulemaking), there are no siting rules for solar in Wisconsin!  Really, no rules!  Typically thus far, solar projects are 2-10 MW.  This one proposed is 300MW!  Central station power to put it mildly.

Not only are there no siting rules, but there is no Environmental Impact Statement required for a project covering 3,500 acres!

WHAT?!?!

So on behalf of Jewell Jinkins Intervenors, I’ve just filed this Petition for Rulemaking to get them going on solar rules.

Petition for Rulemaking_JJI_Solar_FINAL_Signed

We shall see what, if anything, they do.

Lots of filing in Wisconsin

November 20th, 2018

Apparently Invenergy doesn’t like the idea that we’re intervening in their Wisconsin dockets.  I guess after Freeborn Wind, it’s not hard to understand why.

Intervention in Badger Hollow HUGE 300 MW solar project docket — approved by the Administrative Law Judge (Docket 9697-CE-100):

Jinkins Jewell Wendhausen_Intervention

Order_Interventions_11-1-2018

And then the related dockets, the transmission line and the acquisition docket, appropriately known as the BS docket, our intervention, their objection, and our response.  The transmission docket (Docket 9697-CE-101):

Jewell Jinkins_101_Intervention_FINAL

9697-CE-101 Badger Hollow – Response to Request for Intervention (Objection!)

Jewell Jinkins Intervenors_101_Reply to Objection

And the acquisition BS docket (Docket 5-BS-228):

Jewell Jinkins_228_Intervention_CORRECTED

Applicant Response to Motion to Intervene (Objection)

Jewell Jinkins Intervenors_228_Reply to Response

Oh, and the Cardinal Hickory Creek 345 kV Transmission Line!  Docket 5-CE-146.

Jewell Jinkins Intervenors_Cardinal-Hickory Creek_Intervention

To look up any of these dockets, go to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s Search site, and  plug in the numbers.

Meanwhile, we’re waiting on the Minnesota Commission meeting on Reconsideration for our Rulemaking Petition, and waiting on two orders, project and transmission, for Freeborn Wind.

And around all these filings, I’ve been to band practice, made wild rice and garbanzo salad, and I hear a Ferndale Market turkey calling…

What a long week it’s been!  WHAT?  Tuesday?!?!  No, really?!?!

Freeborn Wind’s Transmission

October 26th, 2018

It’s worth taking a look at the Freeborn Wind transmission docket (PUC Docket 17-322). To check it out, go to eDockets and search for 17 (year) 322 (docket number).  Obviously the Commission’s decision is a problem here, and as we’re awaiting the written order, I’m pondering.

There’s a statute that applies to wind proceedings, specified expressly in the “Exemptions” statute  as part of the Power Plant Siting Act that DOES apply.  That’s found here:

216F.02 EXEMPTIONS.

(a) The requirements of chapter 216E do not apply to the siting of LWECS, except for sections 216E.01; 216E.03, subdivision 7; 216E.08; 216E.11; 216E.12; 216E.14; 216E.15; 216E.17; and 216E.18, subdivision 3, which do apply.

Note the seafoam green Minn. Stat. 216E.08:

Subd. 2.Other public participation.

The commission shall adopt broad spectrum citizen participation as a principal of operation. The form of public participation shall not be limited to public hearings and advisory task forces and shall be consistent with the commission’s rules and guidelines as provided for in section 216E.16.

Check out the first and only Prehearing Order issued by the ALJ:

20184-141685-01_PHO

To call it “minimalist” is too generous…  What does it say about public participation?  Where’s the boilerplate information about intervention, about participation and being a “participant,” etc?  M-I-S-S-I-N-G…

Here’s the siting docket’s Prehearing Order #1 as an example – see the difference?

Prehearing Order 1_20179-135781-01

Association of Freeborn County Landowners showed up on September 20, and let the ALJ know in technicolor what we thought, raised many issues in detail, and later submitted written comments, together with the written comments from many members, including information about land where Freeborn Wind was attempting to route over non-participants!

Before the hearing started, I’d approached the ALJ and requested that he swear people on oath or affirm, and he said something to the order of “I remember you” having requested that before.  He didn’t want to put people under oath.  I reiterated that I’d been present, twice, at Commission meetings where Commissioners asked if specific testimony had been provided under oath, and that the rules provide it as an option, so I want to assure that’s not an issue.  The ALJ was not happy but essentially agreed to swear people in if so requested.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

Minnesota Rules include swearing in as a duty of the ALJ:

1400.5500 DUTIES OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE.

Consistent with law, the judge shall perform the following duties:

…  F. administer oaths and affirmations;

That’s a “shall.”

Minnesota Rules have many provisions regarding being sworn in, and regarding testimony regarding “a fact at issue” in a contested case hearing:

All evidentiary testimony presented to prove or disprove a fact at issue shall be under oath or affirmation.

Minn. R. 1400.7800(g).  That’s a “shall.”  Here are a few citations regarding witnesses, oath/affirmation, and facts:

1400.7200 WITNESSES.

Any party may be a witness and may present witnesses on the party’s behalf at the hearing. All oral testimony at the hearing shall be under oath or affirmation. At the request of a party or upon the judge’s own motion, the judge shall exclude witnesses from the hearing room so that they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses.

1400.7800 CONDUCT OF HEARING, Subp. G.  Any party may be a witness or may present other persons as witnesses at the hearing. All evidentiary testimony presented to prove or disprove a fact at issue shall be under oath or affirmation.

1405.0800 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION, Subp. B.  … However, testimony which is offered without benefit of oath or affirmation, or written testimony which is not subject to cross-examination, shall be given such weight as the administrative law judge deems appropriate.

Oath?  Affirmation?  This is not something anyone should have to push about…

Every Association of Freeborn County Landowner participant requested to be sworn on oath and was.  Not one of the witnesses speaking in support of the project requested to be sworn on oath.

AFCL also filed extensive written comments:

AFCL_TransmissionComments_FINAL

Here’s the ALJ’s Recommendation, filed July 26, 2018:

20187-145230-01_Freeborn ALJ Recommendation

Looking at this recommendation, how are comments from the public laid out?  How are the many substantive comments of AFCL members and project opponents positioned against the few, and with few exceptions, the comments of supports that had no content? Search the Recommendation for “AFCL” and/or “Association of Freeborn County Landowners” and what do ya get?

20187-145230-01_Freeborn ALJ Recommendation

Another point — do you see anywhere the boilerplate language regarding opportunity for any affected party to file Exceptions?  Yeah, this language (example from Docket 17-568):

NOTICE
Notice is hereby given that exceptions to this Report, if any, by any party
adversely affected must be filed under the time frames established in the Commission’s
rules of practice and procedure, Minn. R. 7829.2700, .3100 (2017), unless otherwise
directed by the Commission. Exceptions should be specific and stated and numbered
separately. Oral argument before a majority of the Commission will be permitted
pursuant to Minn. R. 7829.2700, subp. 3. The Commission will make the final
determination of the matter after the expiration of the period for filing exceptions, or after oral argument, if an oral argument is held.
That’s right, it’s not there in the Freeborn Wind transmission docket.
Association of Freeborn County Landowners did file exceptions, filed August 10, 2018, 15 days after the ALJ’s Recommendation:
Yet when the Commission listed “Relevant Documents” in Staff Briefing Papers, ahem… no mention of AFCL Exceptions — it’s as if we didn’t weigh in:
And on the PUC’s calendar and agenda, AFCL Exceptions were also not linked for consideration:
File #: Details 2018-190    Version: 1 Name:
Type: M – Miscellaneous Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 8/30/2018 In control: PUC Agenda Meeting
On agenda: 9/20/2018 Final action:
Title: * IP6946/TL-17-322 Freeborn Wind Energy LLC In the Matter of the Application of Freeborn Wind Energy LLC for a Route Permit for the Freeborn Wind Transmission Line in Freeborn County. 1. Should the Commission adopt the Administrative Law Judge’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation? 2. Should the Commission find that the environmental assessment and the record created at the public hearing adequately address the issues identified in the scoping decision? 3. Should the Commission issue a route permit identifying a specific route and permit conditions for the Freeborn Wind 115 kV Transmission Line Project? (PUC: Kaluzniak)
Attachments: 1. COMBINED files of the Route Permit Application – 9-20-2017, 2. Order Finding Application Complete -12-5-2017, 3. Environmental Assessment Scoping Decision – 3-8-2018, 4. COMBINED files of the Environmental Assessment – 5-14-2018, 5. COMBINED files of the Freeborn Wind Reply Comments – 6-18-2018, 6. COMBINED files of the Freeborn Wind Reply Comments – 6-19-2018, 7. DOC EERA Comments and Proposed Findings of Fact – 6-28-2018, 8. AJI Report – 7-26-2018, 9. DOC EERA Exceptions – 8-8-2018, 10. Briefing Papers

It’s that time of year again, and for a change, no reminder necessary, AND it’s in 2018, not crammed in at the very end of year or beginning of next!

It’s the POWER PLANT SITING ACT ANNUAL HEARING!

This is our opportunity, as those wrestling with the state’s siting laws and rules, and absence thereof, to tell them what does and doesn’t work.  Then the Administrative Law Judge files the report and it’s ignored for another year.

Frustration with lack of response was what triggered the multiple rulemaking petitions I’ve filed, on my own as individual, and representing Goodhue Wind Truth, most recently:

Wind Rulemaking — Petition for Reconsideration

We used to have a pot-luck for the PPSA Annual Hearing, until the PUC put the kibosh on that.  GRRRRRR!  Treats is the best way to get people to show up.

Now’s the time, show up, spout off, and tell them what works and what does not.  And note that aspects of the Power Plant Siting Act DO apply to wind:

216F.02 EXEMPTIONS.

(a) The requirements of chapter 216E do not apply to the siting of LWECS, except for sections 216E.01; 216E.03, subdivision 7; 216E.08; 216E.11; 216E.12; 216E.14; 216E.15; 216E.17; and 216E.18, subdivision 3, which do apply.