Catching up…  Thanks to Bloomberg for finding this — a May 29, 2018 “confidential” memo, now attempting to use a “National Defense” framing to subsidize the failing coal and nuclear power industries:

Grid-Memo_5-29-2018

This is on the heels of his prior attempts to push coal and nuclear generation.  The claim is one of grid necessity, to keep it stable, don’t cha know.  Right…  If it weren’t of such immense scope and cost, I’d be Snorting Out Loud.  Instead, it’s the other SOL!

From the horse’s mouth to the horse’s ass:

PJM Interconnection said in a statement that the power system is more reliable than ever.

“There is no need for any such drastic action,” the grid operator said. “Any federal intervention in the market to order customers to buy electricity from specific power plants would be damaging to the markets and therefore costly to consumers.”

If PJM says it’s not needed, if FERC says it’s not needed or wanted… DOH!

As was attempted in New Jersey, a bailout for PSEG nuclear plants in Salem, First Energy is at it too:

Coal power company files for bankruptcy and asks Trump for bailout

First Energy, whose systemic problems and negligence brought us the August 14, 2003 blackout, are now posing as champions of grid resilience?

No, just no.  It’s obvious that tRump can’t change the market, the free market has spoken.  What would the cost of this be to us?  MASSIVE!  So now they’re trying every excuse to prop them up at OUR expense, our expense as rate-payers, and our expense as tax payers.  No, just no…

Third try… you are OUT!

Back from camping with a friend this week.  Last fall, a friend from Northfield mentioned that she’d like to visit Pipestone National Monument, it was on her bucket list, but there’s no campground at Pipestone, just an RV park (UGH!) nearby, sooooo, have pop-up, will travel, and we booked it in October!  Alan and I have the routine down, and it’s very different with a friend who hasn’t been camping in decades, and never in a pop-up!

Getting there… CapX 2020 and other transmission was EVERYWHERE!

The weather was bizarre.  Got set up, but had to do it quickly, as it dribbled a bit of rain not long after (whew, good timing).  But the WIND!  WHEW!  It was SO windy.  Tied down the awning right away, and ultimately had to use an emergency blanked clamped to the awning as a windscreen to be able to cook!  Put the camper’s stove on the table, set up as another wind screen, and propped up the Coleman in that, kinda precarious, but needed the shelter.  It rained all day and all night and the next day too, and most of the next night!!!  Waterlogged, for sure!

Hard to keep everything under the awning, and very hard to keep that emergency blanket “rain fly” in one place.  On the stove there is the makings of wild rice (and sweet peppers, corn, green onions, mushrooms, and a dash of cream!), to go with the turkey (so easy when we have electricity, the hardest part is fitting it in the convection oven).  Got the hang of this now, first one was Thanksgiving in Arkansas, and this was worry free, no way the wind could blow away that oven.

The next day, we hit Pipestone National Monument, which was cool, actually hot but windy to make it OK, and there was a class meeting in the grass near the building when we arrived, and the next day, we learned that the Minnesota Historical Society had a group that had been there the day before, I think it was part of the American Indian Museum Fellowship program.  Pipestone National Monument is a sacred site,and in many places, there are remnants of prayers and offerings.

There are active quarries, and inside, three stations for pipestone carvers.  The carver I talked with had been wanting a spot there for over a decade, and it’s a long-term family thing, with ties going back generations, with the next generation waiting for someone to retire before they can take a place there as a carver.  Throughout, I thought of Robert Rosebear — I’d commissioned a piece decades ago, and he put a lot more into it than I’d bargained for, much more, the detail was amazing, a round piece, 2-3 inches, completely carved out in places, with a moose on one side, and an accurate likeness of the recipient (friend of his) on the other side.  How he planned and pieced that together was amazing.  Rosebear had mined the pipestone for his carvings from the quarries here.  It struck me that natives have to go through a permitting process to mine pipestone, but how does that work?  How is it that the Pipestone National Monument got into the hands of the feds, and the feds are in charge of determining who gets to mine at this sacred site?  Seems a bit off…

But this…  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

The following day, we went over to the Jeffers Petroglyphs:

It was impossible to get reasonable photos because it was at early afternoon, and the sun disappeared the petroglyphs, but staff tricks with boards and mirrors, and an occasional squirt bottle revealed them.  Here’s a depiction:

Thursday, it was off to Albert Lea for some pretty monumentous real estate closings  — the Bent Tree buyouts are DONE!  What an intense day!  And over 300 miles!

It’s good to be home!!

Tonight is the public hearing, using the “Alternative Review Process,” for the transmission for the Freeborn Wind Project, the very same project that has been recommended be denied by the Administrative Law Judge:

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

Be there or be square:

What’s at issue?  Most important is “need” and lack thereof.  Under Minesota Rules, need may not be addressed in the environmental review:

Questions of need, including size, type, and timing; alternative system configurations; and voltage must not be included in the scope of environmental review conducted under this chapter.  Minn. Stat. 216E.02, Subd. 2.

BUT, where there is no Certificate of Need, issues of size, type and timing MAY be addressed — the prohibition of addressing need only applies where a Certificate of Need has been issued:

7850.4200 FACTORS EXCLUDED.

When the Public Utilities Commission has issued a Certificate of Need for a large electric power generating plant or a high voltage transmission line or placed a high voltage transmission line on the certified HVTL list maintained by the commission, questions of need, including size, type, and timing, questions of alternative system configurations, and questions of voltage shall not be factors considered by the commission in deciding whether to issue a permit for a proposed facility.

There is no Certificate of Need required or issued for this project, and so “questions of need, including size, type, and timing, questions of alternative system configurations, and questions of voltage” are fair game.

In this case, it’s particularly relevant where the ALJ has recommended the project site permit be denied!  No project, no transmission needed.

Off to Albert Lea!

It’s Xcel’s “go to meeting” time:
FYI, you only get to go inside if you register, and to register, you have to have owned stock by March 20, 2018.  You have to register, and then THEY decide if you can go.

IT WILL BE WEBCAST — CLICK THIS XCEL LINK!

Once more with feeling, Xcel Energy’s peak demand is DOWN, DOWN, DOWN!  From their year end SEC filing: Xcel Energy 2017 10-K

And over the last 17 years:

That 8,546 MW is down 1,313 from the 2006 peak.  Xcel is now at legislature pushing hard for free rein on money to rehab its Prairie Island plant here in Red Wing.  The same plant that was being rehabbed, got a Certificate of Need, and then they withdrew it saying it wasn’t needed.  Oh… and now?  It’s not adding up, folks.