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

“Free marketers,” duck and cover. And utilities, contractors, get ready… Just in, for Public Inspection, will be released Monday:

The gist of it is that utility infrastructure and equipment should not be coming in from other countries, particularly “adversaries.” Threat? What threat?

From the E.O., p. 2-3:

I further find that the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of
bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in bulk-power system electric equipment, with potentially catastrophic effects. I therefore determine that the unrestricted foreign supply of bulk-power system electric equipment constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, which has its source in whole or in substantial part outside the United States. This threat exists both in the case of individual acquisitions and when acquisitions are considered as a class. Although maintaining an open investment climate in bulk-power system electric equipment, and in the United States economy more generally, is important for the overall growth and prosperity of the United States, such openness must be balanced with the need to protect our Nation against a critical national security threat. To address this threat, additional steps are required to protect the security, integrity, and reliability of bulk-power system electric equipment used in the United States. In light of these findings, I hereby declare a national emergency with respect to the threat to the United States bulk-power system.

WHAT?!?!

Last month, both Invenergy and NextEra had issued Notice of Force Majure:

Solar Force Majure in WI – Coronavirus February 26th, 2020

Then NextEra cancelled its notice, and apparently plans to move forward with the Two Creeks project.

Here’s a recent industry blurb about the impacts, mentioning Badger Hollow solar and the rush to get projects in the ground before the tax credit and subsidies deadline, and trying to get perks in the COVID relief bill:

U.S. wind, solar industries plead for “tweaks” to coronavirus stimulus to keep projects alive

From the article:

Developer Invenergy LLC also issued a force majeure notice on its 300 megawatt (MW) Badger Hollow solar project in Wisconsin, according to a regulatory filing, citing the potential impact of factory shutdowns and travel restrictions on its suppliers and contractors. A spokeswoman for Invenergy declined to comment.

Photo by moi

Here’s the bill everyone’s talking about:

Comments? It’s important to let them know what you think. Here’s the contact info for the Senate Energy Committee (LINKED HERE).

In last week’s Rochester Post Bulletin, about the Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee meeting in Rochester:

Senators take heat on waste-burning energy

Last night, Sen. Osmek held a Senate Energy Committee meeting in Rochester. It was standing room only, at least 100 showed up (I had 100 flyers, and had 4 left and I know I missed a few).

Here’s the bill DRAFT, SC5558-6:

Here’s the powerpoint explaining the bill:

Who all showed up and testified? All a bunch of paid suits, with just three exceptions, pushed to the very end. Check the list of lobbyists here:

Alan Muller got on the list to testify, he’ll be writing to the Committee soon:

And here’s my comment sent to the committee:

Where were Senators Dibble and Marty? I must confess, I was so disgusted by Sen. Marty’s handling of the e21 debacle back in 2015 that I’ve not been back to the Senate Energy Committee since then (Marty tried to introduce Xcel’s e21 bill, and tried to shut down testimony opposing that bill…
(report from that meeting) though the room was packed with those who had rolled over supporting it, only three of us there opposed it, myself, Alan Muller, and Office of Attorney General’s RUD James Canneday. Sen. Marty pulled the bill as he “introduced” it and then substituted an e21 light and wouldn’t allow testimony on anything else! Well, we did what we could, and it wasn’t until the very end in conference committee or just before that he put the awful Xcel-desired language back in. SF 1735 – SHAME on each Senator who voted for it). Back into the fray, I guess!

My take is that Sen. Senjem, or the Republican caucus, or ???, are concerned about Sen. Senjem’s seat, why else would they put Mikey Bull up there beside him, emitting puffery about the bill? Seems there’s just one other Senate hearing scheduled, info below.

Next up, next week, Mound, Minnesota, in Sen. Ozmek’s district:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 4:00 PM

Mound Westonka High School’s Performing Arts Center

905 Sunnyfield Road East

Minnetrista, MN 55364

Now, Mikey, about “carbon capture and storage,” good grief. Did you learn nothing from all those years of Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project? Here’s why it’s good the Mesaba Project was not built!

Pipedreams of Green and Clean