Comments are due Sunday, April 14, 2019 (11:59!):

Here’s the DEIS in full:

Note the “need” section beginning on p. 49. It’s dependent on MISO — yes, that MISO, the one that blessed the so dramatically overstated “need” for the CapX 2020 build-out… the MISO that claims “need” when its LMP Coutour map is nearly always a bright or dark blue! The MISO that is all about “market” which has nothing to do with “need.” This section takes it back to “Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative” (hard to tell their mission, eh? But we know it was all about coal). If they’re going to go back to the history of this big transmission build-out, methinks that, particularly in Wisconsin, they should go back to the Wisconsin Reliability Assessment Organization (WRAO) Report that laid out the wish list of the transmission build-out.

Now, head to p. 80, Section 3.9, entitled “Applicants’ Alternatives to the Proposed Project.” This section presents ONLY the APPLICANTS’ alternatives, they get to determine what is or is not an alternatives, the parameters. Show me where it says in the WI statutes or rules that it only the APPLICANTS’ choice of alternatives to be considered?

Folks, we’ve got a lot of work to do…


This is the “route map” from SOO Green site, used in PR

Announced just now in a major PR push, because Siemens bought it (see below), yet another transmission project, 500+ kV, and it’s supposedly a DC option to be buried underground along rail lines.  Look at the map, provided in the Press Release I guess, because most of the articles use it… check the yellow “SOO Green Available Route” in Minnesota!

Developer proposes a 350-mile underground transmission line to carry wind energy from rural Iowa to Chicago

Now that’s different!

But it’s been a concept looking for a home for quite a while (and check the FERC Orders and dockets below):

spp-miso jpc minutes october 2015

And major PR push? It’s because Siemens just bought the idea:

Siemens Buys Transmission Line to Take Iowa Wind to the Eastern Grid

A July 2018 presentation:

2018_07_26-SOO-Green-HVDC-Link-overview–Trey-Ward

From “Midwest Reliability Organization” at their Fall 2018 meeting, and the map from that presentation:

SOO Green Renewable Rail – A Wind Energy Delivery Project – Joseph DeVito

Yet they used the green map for PR.  Why?  Something else interesting in that presentation is the “Development Team.”

Now look at the yellow “Soo Green Available Route” from MN to IL, and look at the green “Soo Green Primary Route” and guess what is right in the middle between them, why it’s “Cardinal-Hickory Creek” MVP 5 (southern part):

Note that Fredricksen & Byron law firm is involved in both Cardinal-Hickory Creek and SOO Green.

Here are just a few of the articles this week:

Proposed underground power line could bring Iowa wind turbine electricity to Chicago

Renewable energy rail project would run from Mason City to Chicago

Proposed new transmission project would deliver renewables between PJM and MISO

Proposed Area Power Generation to Go to Chicago

Just google, and you’ll find so many more.

MISO wins approval for new rules to link up external transmission

But what do we need more transmission for? We’ve got significant overbuild as it is. One big benefit is that user pays, where with much of the pass-through transmission of CapX 2020 and the MISO MVP 17 project portfolio, the pass-through ratepayers are stuck with a percentage of the full cost of all the projects.

There have been related FERC dockets, most recently the October 12, 2018 Order – Tariff Revision in docket ER-18-1410-000 (also -001):

20181012163051-ER18-1410-000

There’s also an Order on Proposal and Guidance in ER-16-675:

20160329180953-ER16-675-000

To look at the entire FERC docket, GO HERE and search!

It’s something more to monitor.  Here’s the developer’s site:

Soo Green Renewable Rail

Note that Joe DeVito is heading up Fresh Energy these days, also on Board of Wind on the Wires/whatever new name is.

Need more info.  Interesting concept that addresses some of the huge issues, but need, always need, or lack thereof.

Prairie Island Nuclear Plant & Prairie Island Indian Community

Here it is, I believe this is it, the “dream” bill that’s really a nightmare, Xcel Energy’s wish list, increasing “clean” energy generation, but what is regarded as clean, that’s the primary issue for me.  For you?  Check it out:

HF1956-0

OK, now, let’s read it and figure out what they’re up to!

And GO HERE to keep track of bill’s status.

House Energy Committee Hearings

Here are the House Energy Committee members – contact all of them with your concerns!

There’s no Senate companion bill yet, and it’s getting late.

And yet another year where Xcel, errrrrr, NSP, had a lackluster peak demand.  That’s a good thing, verification that we can get along with a lot less coal and nuclear.  And it’s also good as proof that of those Certificates of Need, based on their bogus “modeling” predicting 2.49% annual increase, we could jettison how many of those projects?  How much infrastructure was built that clearly wasn’t needed, at least by their justifications? Billions, right?  How much will ratepayers be refunded given all these unnecessary projects based on bogus projections?

Here are the details:

And looking at it another way:

Here’s the primary doc — Xcel’s 2018 10-K, just search for “peak demand” and there it is:

Xcel 2018_10-K

So now can we get all that unneeded transmission yanked up and hauled to the salvage yard?

Tomorrow, at 10 a.m. (gasp!), there’s a Prehearing Conference for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project in Wisconsin.

Notice of Prehearing Conference

WATCH HERE!! (info and link posted soon??)

This Prehearing Conference is being held for the express purpose of addressing the multitudes of potential intervenors in this docket.  After that, there will be yet another prehearing conference for scheduling purposes.  Here’s the ALJ’s missive outlining the situation and his probable approach:

ALJ Newmark’s Prehearing Converence Missive_ERF 354955

I’m not at all happy about having to take a full day out of my intense work week (LOTS due next week!) to go to Madison and deal with this fiasco.  Oh well…

From Judge Newmark’s prehearing missive:

The 76 requests break out into the five following groups: 1) three units of government; 2) eight organizations; 3) four individuals filing electronically; 4) 11 individuals filing by U.S. Mail; and 5) 50 individuals, municipalities, and an organization that appear to have common interest, and to whose requests appear filed in a common fashion.

50 individuals, municipalities, and an organization that appear to have common interest, and to whose requests appear filed in a common fashion.”  Appear??  That’s a generous description.  It’s clearly orchestrated, with form interventions that are not individualized.  The “Group 4” intervention requests also use the same form, but were mailed in, by likely Amish potential intervenors, presenting another issue, both in that ERF filing is required, and that if they would be allowed to intervene using paper copies, that means each filing would need to be printed out and mailed to them, creating a large burden on all the parties, particularly intervening parties.  This is an area where assistance in ERF filing is needed, it’s crucial to assure Amish can participate.

Why are there “the multitudes” showing up in this docket, the 11 in “Group 4” and the 50 in “Group 5?”  Rob Danielson and cohorts of  SOUL and “EPIC” held meetings in and around the project area and recruited people to sign up to intervene.  They used forms, where people just had to sign the forms.  The forms were collected and much later uploaded to ERF, the PSC’s eFiling system.  What information did they receive before signing, what did they know about the rights and responsibilities of intervention?  See for yourself:

Intervention Requests – ERF page

Note that it’s form/boilerplate language that’s been used in both Groups 4 & 5, and note the many that only list “WI, USA” as the address — the people who signed the document did not upload those “intervention requests.”  Was there a detailed description and warning of what’s required, the commitment necessary, to intervene in a docket?  Did they understand the commitment necessary?

This is one of those “too clever” machinations, strategy, tactics, that gums up the works.  See SCR 20:3.5(d).  It looks like there was little attention paid to the potential results of this action, or that attention was paid, and this result is what they wanted.  It’s important that people be informed of, understand, and agree to what it is that they’re signing up for.  See SCR 20:21 Advisor.  I don’t think that’s been happening.

What are they signing up for?  Well, SOUL just filed “SOUL Intervention focus and limits on representation 1-2-2019” which shows that SOUL has no intention of helping them through the process.

There’s also been ex parte contact, somebody thought that that was a good idea (?!?!?!), somebodies who should have known better.  The “no ex parte contact” rules need to be clearly spelled out, the ALJ’s “Intervenor Communication” missive about that was not as specific as it could have been.  Contact the judge?  JUST DON’T!!

Apparently, part of the SOUL speil is that people must intervene to have the right to appeal, that you must intervene or you lose your rights.  THAT’S NOT TRUE!!  Here’s part of the notice that follows at the end of every PSC transmission order, clearly stating that “a person aggrieved by this decision has a right to petition” for rehearing and/or judicial review:

You can find this language, for example, at the end of the Badger Coulee transmission Order:

Final Order 05-CE-142

Judge Newmark’s proposed consolidation approach makes sense to me for a few reasons:

  • When someone solicits and recruits interventions, they have an ethical and moral responsibility to give full disclosure of the meaning and responsibility of intervention.  How many of these “intervenors” would intervene if they knew they’d have to show up for Prehearing Conferences, Public and Technical Hearings, review the thousands of pages and participate in a meaningful way?
  • When someone solicits and recruits interventions, they have an ethical and moral responsibility for the result of their solicitation and recruitment.  In this case, consolidation may be the result.  That’s one way to hold the solicitor/recruiter responsible.  I’m thinking about this, trying to come up with other options.
  • Non-attorneys and attorneys not licensed to practice law in Wisconsin are allowed to practice before the Public Service Commission.  As Judge Newmark clearly noted in the Badger Hollow prehearing conference, non-attorneys are bound by Wisconsin Rules of Professional Conduct. Non-attorneys may be held to this standard when practicing before the Commission.  All parties need to review the rules, in light of its solicitation and recruiting, and can and should shoulder their responsibility for what they’ve created, as an “umbrella” or helping individually those who want to participate.
  • Line up assistance to Amish participants so they can participate and intervene if they are granted intervention, and help to comment if they are not.  Because the “Group 4” have used the same form as “Group 5,” a SOUL member with filing expertise could be assigned to facilitate their participation.
  • Line up assistance for “Group 5” people so they can participate meaningfully.  It’s a lot to figure out, and many have no idea what ERF is.  Intervention is a part-time to full-time job.

Something Judge Newmark has utilized previously could be useful here.  He has allowed “non-party briefs” if requested and approved prior.  This is authorized under Wisconsin Code PSC 2.20(3). If this option were provided to potential intervenors, for those not wanting to or prepared to dive in, for those not meeting intervention requirements, that would give the multitudes the opportunity to weigh in with more weight than just a public comment, to address their concerns, and would require less commitment than participating in a full-blown intervention.  Intervention lite.  Perhaps those not wanting to be consolidated under SOUL’s umbrella could be extended the opportunity to file a non-party brief, in their own words uniquely addressing their own specific concerns (unlike the many form “interventions” that have been filed).

Tomorrow?  Oh, it will be a circus…