I found my notes!!  On August 29, 2017, Alan and I went to the Goodhue County Courthouse for the GreenMark Solar v. Wacouta Township (Court Case No. 25-CV-17-1462) festivities — a Summary Judgment hearing.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m not a fan of any of the principals of GreenMark, Mark Andrew, Dennis Egan, and Julie Jorgensen.  Mark Andrew is a former Hennepin County Commissioner and a fan of burning garbage. Here’s a thread from the Mpls yak-yak list about Andrew when he was running for Mayor.  Dennis Egan, well, we had a few go rounds when he was Mayor of Red Wing AND was executive director of Minnesota Industrial Sand Council, and at the time silica sand mining issue was on agenda for City of Red Wing. Julie Jorgensen? Her Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project coal gasification plant took up 5 years of my full-time labor before it went to part-time and intermittent, and still just won’t fully go away! Minn. Stat. 216B.1694, Subd. 3(b)(1)(ii).

That said, I’m also a big fan of solar, from way, way back when my father designed the solar on the Minnesota Zoo (that was later taken down, it was hot water! Not quite what was most needed, and they didn’t know much about solar back then).

Here’s the GreenMark Complaint — couldn’t find the Wacouta Answer or the cross-motions for Summary Judgment. The Wacouta Township website is years out of date — what’s up with that?  (2014 is most current minutes, plus a notice of the May 2017 meeting about the solar project. ???)

Greenmark Solar v. Wacouta Township_Complaint 25-CV-17-1462

Here are a couple articles:

GreenMark Solar challenges Wacouta Township | Republican Eagle

Minnesota Developer Sues for Solar Garden Permit

The oral argument started with Greenmark.  Some points (not all inclusive):

Focus on Minn. Stat. 394.33, Subd. 1, that the township decision violates Town Powers Act. It’s inconsistent with their zoning. They can enact more restrictive zoning, but they didn’t, township has no solar ordinance.2

Township ordinance is ambiguous.  Frank’s Nursery case — if ambiguous, allow property owner to do what they want with the property.

“Agricultural community” — Planning Commission and Board selected different definitions.  Current use, peat mining and hay.  Pollinator scale 45, and 85 with solar.  Wetlands. Reduce carbon emissions.

Township argument:

Town Power Act does not restrict township actions. Bergen defines inconsistent, it’s not different.
Township Ordinance, Art. 3, Subd. 10, limits industrial uses that do not support agricultural. Solar is an industrial use. Twp. does allow solar in ag, BUT, it’s more restrictive, and it’s not inconsistnet.

The standard is whether down decision was rational, i.e., legally sufficient, supported by record.

Reasonable — inconsistent with agriculture, exported to the grid. CUP – exported, GreenMark takes issue with def of ag use, but see “Hubbard Broadcasting” denial of Conditional Use.  Review is deferential.  Mandamus (GreenMark’s action) review not to challenge discretionary decisions of local government.

Frank’s Nursery re: ambiguous ordinance, doesn’t require ordinance to be construed to support use. Court still needs to determine rationality.

Greenmark Rebuttal

Mandamus – this is about building permit, a ministerial act, not discretionary.

Does township even have jurisdiction/authority.

Purpose of project — Goodhue County, that’s the area.

Altenberg (?) – Town Powers Act – Twp didn’t adopt a more restrictive ordinance.

Bergum (?) – legislative intent of Town Powers Act.

Township Rebuttal

Cases of Mandamus for building permits

Goodhue – zoned agricultural, township couldn’t zone industrial, that would be inconsistent with county zoning.

__________________________

Judge Bayley said he has a lot of homework to do, and will do it and issue Order.

Listening to him speak is painful.  This idiot is talking about “Clean Coal.”   Claims that the Paris Accord stops development of “Clean Coal.”  DOH, IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID!

He’s again blathering about 3-4% growth.  Delusional.

The Paris Accord hamstrings America?  The Paris Accord limits the American economy?

His points in the speech are insane.  A load of covfefe!

Here are tRumpe’s talking points handed out prior to today’s announcement:

Paris Accord_Talkers

Xcel’s 2016 Earnings Call was this morning.  Look at the above chart, pay close attention to the numbers I’ve highlighted in yellow.  2016 4th Quarter sales growth is down 0.6%.  Yearly sales decrease is -0.3%.  Here’s the rest of the Earnings Call Presentation:

1001219517_Presentation_Year End 2016

Remember CapX 2020, based on projections of annual increases of 2.49%.  Remember Commerce’s Steve Rakow who introduced the most bizarre chart ever in an effort to prop up need for CapX 2020, one without identifying the X axis or Y axis and just a sine wave trending sharply upward?  Yea, this one…

Hasn’t worked out that way, has it… the 2016 10-K isn’t filed yet, so there’s only 2015 to go on, though looking at their 10-Q for summer, I expect it’s flat at best.

So with sales down, I presume it’ll be flat peak demand?  It’s not disclosed in the 3rd Quarter 10-Q.  Xcel, we’ll be looking for that this month in your 10-K filing!

There’s been a flurry of activity, and finally they posted the actual documents so we can see what’s going on, or what won’t be going on.  This was part of my “One a Day” plan to send off a missive to the White House every day, something of substance.  When the Contact page was blank on Monday morning, I started calling, ALL DAY LONG, and got through around 7 p.m., when a human answered, and hung up.  I called back, got that same human, who wouldn’t tell me who I should talk to about the Executive Orders (presumed that’s what they were as that’s what was said) and said the Comment office person was gone so I had to leave it online, and she got pissy when I said that the Comment page was blank, and hung up again.  OK, whatever…

Civics Lesson from USA Today, Presidential memoranda vs. executive orders. What’s the difference?

Here are the Memoranda thus far from the White House page (these are not required to be published in the Federal Register, so ???, but they are now on the White House Memoranda page:

Now maybe they’ll have the routine down and keep up with what they’re doing.  Drives me crazy to be loating around in the dark — it’s hard enough to know or guess what these might mean in practice, but without an actual document to look at, it’s just blather.  Well, it’s just blather anyway, but here it is.  Read it and get busy!

An America First Energy Plan?

January 23rd, 2017

Contact Page for Trump’s White House

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

The Trump regime has published this “Energy Plan.”  WHAT?  Mitt Romney’s “Energy Plan” wasn’t much, and was grossly misguided, but it at least had SOME substance:

Romney’s Energy Plan – much ado about nothing

This is something a 5th grader could put together, nothing but blathering and slapped together code words.  It shows no thought or understanding of energy in the U.S. today.  I mean really, “clean coal” is so dead. During the Bush administration, they put billions in, between tax credits, grants, subsidies at state and federal levels — here’s a DOE announcement from 2006:

Energy Secretary and Secretary of the Treasury Announce the Award of $1 Billion in Tax Credits to Promote Clean Coal Power Generation and Gasification Technologies

The Bush Administration made coal gasification (IGCC) a priority, and even all that lobbying, subsidization, and wishful thinking couldn’t make it happen.  Minnesota’s Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project is one example of that abject failure (see also www.camp-site.info).  Delaware’s NRG coal gasification plant is another (note another NRG coal gasification plant proposed for NY went south too).

Meanwhile, existing coal is not economical, that’s why the older plants are being shut down, not anything to do with “Clean Power Plan,” and instead, that there’s a surplus of electricity and coal plants’ production costs a lot more than other available electric generation.  The market says no!  How does Trump think he can trump the market?  And even if he could, how is that in our interest?

Here’s a map of MISO market — note all the blue on these maps — I love using these as wallpaper, a constant reminder:

MISO LMP map

Here’s the PJM market map:

PJM LMP map

And the joint MISO/PJM market map:

Joint MISO/PJM LMP map

Coal cannot compete in the market, even with its outright and embedded regulatory subsidies, even the existing plants.  There’s a glut of electricity, has been for a decade now.  As Xcel’s Ben Fowkes says, recorded in the Seeking Alpha transcript of the XEL Earnings Call, January 31, 2013. 

So I think the economies are in decent shape across all our jurisdictions. Doesn’t necessarily mean it translates to high sales growth. And that’s consistent with our forecast. I mean, we’re not anticipating that we’re going to see a tremendous rebound in sales, even as the economies start to improve. I mean, I think, that’s our new normal, frankly.

So…. drumroll….  Here it is, cut and pasted from the White House site in its entirety (emphasis added in red)(and parenthetical comments):

Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.

For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. (does he have no understanding of energy market?) We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. (does he not know the havoc in ND during Bakken BOOM!, the many Bakken BOOM! train explosions, pollution, and deaths?  And he’d allow corporations to take OUR land?) We will use the revenues from energy production (a production tax increase?) to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.

The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.  (again market forces, coal is not least cost, and new coal is way beyond anything market would support.  “Clean” coal?  Don’t even think about it, it doesn’t exist!)

In addition to being good for our economy, boosting domestic energy production is in America’s national security interest. President Trump is committed to achieving energy independence from the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests. At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.

Lastly, our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment. Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water. (everything I’ve seen and heard from Trump and EPA pick points towards dismantling and defunding EPA.  What does this mean?)

A brighter future depends on energy policies that stimulate our economy, ensure our security, and protect our health. Under the Trump Administration’s energy policies, that future can become a reality.

How clueless can Trump be?  Well, we’re seeing… and it’s unbelievable… UNBELIEVABLE!