Xcel demand remains down

February 17th, 2021

Xcel Energy’s 10-K for 2020 is out:

Peak demand remains under 9,000MW:

Note the peak was 2006, we got close in 2011, but not above that 2006 peak. Right now, we’re 1,200MW below that 2006 peak, essentially the equivalent of Prairie Island nuclear plant’s two reactors.

We’ve got the surplus generation to make some choices, folks…

Nuclear Spent Fuel Storage

December 21st, 2020

In December, 1994, after the tumultuous legislative session from hell, and the resulting “1994 Prairie Island Bill, Ch. 641, SF 1706,” I noticed a sign up on the window of Kenyon City Hall, looking for someone to represent the City at a Northern States Power (now Xcel Energy) group to “select a site for nuclear waste” somewhere “in Goodhue County,” away from the nuclear plant site. December 14, 1994 was the first meeting of the group, which met over I think 6 months, a most bizarre series of meetings, culminating in NSP’s selection of “Site P” in Florence Township as its preferred site. At that meeting, this truckdriver realized that the seals on the TN-40 casks needed to be replaced. When I asked about that, they had no plan. Oh my, that got my attention — it was clearly not a well thought out plan.

A few nuclear spent fuel documents floated up recently, and here they are:

NUREG-2224 Dry Storage and Transportation of High Burnup Spent Nuclear Fuel

In I think May, 1995, they started filling up casks and putting them on a pad at Prairie Island, and meanwhile, the NSP group’s meetings ended, the Environmental Quality Board formed an official Citizens Advisory Task Force on nuclear waste, with the task of reviewing the NSP application to the EQB for a site permit. The Task Force ended and issued this report:

At that time, I was spending a lot of time learning about casks, paying attention to anything that came up, with particular interest in whether casks could indeed be unloaded.

Trans Nuclear casks were used at Prairie Island, they’re also at Arkansas Nuclear 1, somewhere else to… Here’s a miscellaneous dock from TransNuclear (it has another name now):

Transnuclear Handouts – Part 3 of 6 – 10/07/09 Public Meeting https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML0927/ML092790437.pdf

Around that time was the “Point Beach Ignition Event” where they left the zinc assembly in the boric acid solution in the cask overnight until the next shift came in, and then tried to weld it. Zinc + boric acid = hydrogen. BOOM! Clue: “Gas ignition event” = EXPLOSION! The cask lid bent up a few inches (it was 9″ thick!!), the wedges holding assembly basket in place blew out onto the floor…

OOPS!

And then there’s the 3 Stooges cask unloading at INEL, this is H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S:

Putting this up for future reference – a permanent repository!!!

Brainfart today while working on Data Requests.

NextEra’s Grant County Solar Energy Center Citizen Concerns and Their Justifications

If you’re wanting to site solar on land, rather than on rooftops, wouldn’t transmission easements be a logical place to site solar?

Some lines have distribution underbuilds for convenient interconnection, and many have distributions crossing at various points, for convenient interconnection.

Trees have been cleared, and clearances should be sufficient to allow for low arrays.

Why not? Do tell…

From wind siting, I know that siting decisions are often backwards, and with solar, that is certainly the case. They get the land first, and then figure out how to connect. Distributed solar isn’t even considered, siting near load isn’t even considered. There are better ways to do this.

AFCL’s MERA suit dismissed

November 29th, 2020

The judge’s Order arrived, and it’s disappointing, to put it mildly.

The judge’s decision focused on the belief that these matters had been litigated in another forum, so we couldn’t do it again. Litigated? Intervention is not necessarily litigation, though certainly AFCL intervened in the Freeborn Wind docket, and certainly did not in the Plum Creek, Three Waters or Buffalo Ridge dockets. And in this District Court proceeding, Lisa Agrimonti let me know that another attorney would be lead in this case, that their firm was putting a “litigator” on it. Hmmmm, Agrimonti’s not a litigator, and put Alethea Huyser on the job, so the firm admits that what we, Freeborn Wind and AFCL, were doing in those dockets was not litigation, right, I get it… uh-huh… sigh…

How do we deal with these systemic problems in wind siting? 25 years and still no rules? Setbacks aren’t sufficient to prevent noise standard violations and people need to leave their homes to be able to sleep, so far two families reached settlements and buyouts to get away from noisy turbines. Wind projects pay out for blinds so people can sit in the dark, or suggest going to Florida, to avoid shadow flicker inflicted on them. At the PPSA Annual Hearing last week, the DOT said it wants the 250 foot setback from roads reevaluated. The Public Utilities Commission has actual and constructive notice of these problems for years, yet nothing happens…

Let’s see… rulemaking Petitions denied over and over. The only time we’ve had a contested case, the judge recommended denial because developer had not demonstrated compliance with noise standard, and recommended a lower number of hours as “acceptable” for shadow flicker.

Once more with feeling — the ONLY time, the FIRST time, in Minnesota history where there was a contested case on a wind siting permit, the only time it could arguably be said the issues were “litigated,” the ALJ recommended that the permit be denied!

WE WON!!! ALJ Recommend Freeborn Permit be DENIED, or…

May 14th, 2018

The PUC turned that around in a private settlement with the developer, excluding intervenors.

Freeborn? PUC upends ALJ’s Freeborn Wind Recommendation

September 21st, 2018

Now what… How many more complaints, how many more landowner settlements, before they fix this mess?

What’s the point of intervening, becoming a party? What’s the point of raising issues at the Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing (for 23 years)? What’s the point of over and over raising the systemic problems in the PUC’s wind siting? How do we work “within the system” when the system is broken?

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: