Today was the hearing on Xcel Energy’s Minot Load Serving Transmission Project, or McHenry-Magic City 230 kV Transmission Line Project.

PSC hears NSP’s plan to upgrade transmission line to Minot

I got a Google Alert on this project, and it’s just a short jaunt from the Ft. Stevenson State Park (no relation to Xcel’s Grant Stevenson, I believe), so it seemed a lot more exciting than a tour of the Garrison Dam (I mean, yawn, we toured the Ft. Peck Dam last year and a dam’s a dam!). Last night was a rough night in the ol’ campground, highest winds I’ve ever experienced, and I thought the roof might collapse.  Not a drop of rain, but the wind was so high, and lightning and thunder just a bit to the north.  Everything blew around and I had to get up and get out and get everything in. Whew, it’s tired out…

Here’s the project:

The Route Application, at issue in this hearing:

Consolidated Application for Certificate of Corridor Compatibility, Route Permit, Waiver

And the CPCN Application, which has been issued:

Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity

This hearing yesterday was about  not just Xcel’s application, but also its request for a waiver, wanting to rush it through.  That was the major point that made no sense.  This project was the result of a study that is Appendix A in the above Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, and a Supplement that is Appendix B.  It was dated 3/27, 2015, which is 2.5 years ago!  Why the hurry?  It’s also in MISO’s MTEP 15.  The CPCN application wasn’t filed until September, 2016, by Pam Rasmussen.  Again, what’s the hurry?  That wasn’t answered. Xcel’s Tom Hilstrom said that he was responsible for the application, and that there were things that changed, but ???  Granted, “Hilly” probably wasn’t at Xcel for some of the time in question, Pam Rasmussen could have filed it, anyone could have, but it wasn’t. So it’s not really so urgent, eh?

The “need” for this project, and this project alone, wasn’t established.  Commissioner Fedorchak had a number of questions about need, acknowledging that the CPCN proceeding came before, was already decided, but she wanted more info on need.  However, when I raised issues about “what’s the hurry” and “need” and urged them to consider generation in Minot, such as natural gas generation, solar installed on the excess 40 acres of substation land purchased that isn’t necessary for the substation, and that all the recommendations of the study should be addressed, not just this one.  I also asked that they take into consideration the unspecified GRE project connected (after all, this is transmission, it’s all connected, and another Commissioner had questions about Xcel’s agreements with the other transmission owners, particularly GRE, owner of the McHenry substation).  Fedorchak apparently wasn’t too happy and wanted to make sure I knew need had already been decided.  Ummmmm, raising issues similar to the ones she raised… hmmmmm.  And she very pointed asked, “And what’s YOU’RE interest in this project?”  I’d disclosed that at the beginning, no dog in the fight, camping nearby, got notice, and so looked into it.  That’s called public participation.

What’s more odd is that there were only two of us who commented on the project.  The other speaker was from the North Prairie Town Board, which had worked out an agreement with Xcel to follow quarter section lines rather than cut cross country diagonally, as the existing line does.  Kudos to the town board!!!

The study has a number of changes recommended, and the transformer at McHenry substation is the limiting factor.  Also, given that this is two lines on one structure, that’s regarded by NERC as one element, not two, and therefore not technically a reliability boost!

And about that McHenry transformer… where’s that? And it seems that the “rebuild both Ward County-Souris 115kV lines should be a top priority.

The good news?  North Dakota has some interesting notions, like that those testifying should be reminded of “perjury” and that they swear or affirm that their testimony is true, both utility witnesses and the public (there was no staff testimony).  Second is that the Commissioners go to the hearings!  What a concept!  Commissioner Christmann, responding to my testimony, wanted me to note how exceptional it is that the Commissioners were there, but it’s not ONLY North Dakota.  That’s how it works in Wisconsin too, except in WI, it’s only the public hearings, and not the evidentiary hearings, although there is usually one commissioner present, and/or commissioners’ staff, to monitor. I had a short chat with Commissioner Kroshus, who came up and introduced himself, in a break, prior to my testimony,and I was clear, FULL DISCLOSURE, no dog in the fight, not representing anyone in this, and we talked some about differences in procedure, the ups and downs of our respective states.

Meanwhile… the office today, a perfect day in the shade at the Marina!



MISO’s MTEP 17 Draft!

August 8th, 2017

No, wait, that’s not right…

Yeah, that’s it… Midcontinent Independent System Operator, MISO, has released the draft MISO Transmission Expansion Planning report, or MTEP 17.  From the MISO MTEP17 page, here are the live links:

MTEP17 Reports

Full Report
Executive Summary
Book 1 – Transmission Studies
Book 2 – Resource Adequacy
Book 3 – Policy Landscape
Book 4 – Regional Energy Information
Appendix AB
Appendix D1 Central
Appendix D1 East
Appendix D1 South
Appendix D1 West
Appendix D2 Projects In models Documentation
E1 Reliability Planning Methodology
Appendix E2 EGEAS Assumptions
MTEP17 Appendix A1 A2 A3
MTEP17 Appendix F Substantive Comments

Also from MISO’s MTEP page:

Transmission Planning Status Reports

MTEP17 Futures Summary

Generation Retirement Sensitivity Analysis – Scope
Generation Retirement Sensitivity Analysis – Scope Appendix 1

And the most important one that shows what they’re up to in transmission planning, the link, and just in case it disappears, the spreadsheet:

MTEP17 Active Project List 

Copy of MTEP Active Project List

And supposedly they’re taking comments from “stakeholders,” so says the MISO email announcement:

Please send any feedback on this report to David Lucian ( by August 25, 2017.  Stakeholders will have an additional opportunity to provide feedback when the second draft of MTEP17 is posted on September 18, 2017.  A list of report milestones is provided below.


Item MTEP17
MISO posts first draft for external review August 10
Stakeholder review and comments August 25
MISO posts 2nd draft Sept 18
MISO System Planning Committee Sept 19
PAC – Report Review Sept 27
Substantive Comments Deadline Oct 2
PAC – Report update Oct 18
PAC motion Oct 18
MISO System Planning Committee – November Nov 16
MISO Board of Directors meeting Dec 7


For years, for decades, I’ve been going on and on about the inefficiency of transmission, the electric system, and line losses ad nauseum.  Y’all know that, if you’ve been paying attention.  And here we are, back to discussing inefficiency in the electric system.

The SW MN 345 kV Transmission Lines (PUC Docket 01-1958) turned on line losses.  After that close call, line losses were calculated and considered on a very different model, framing it as a percentage of THE ENTIRE EASTERN INTERCONNECT.  So what’s a little loss of 0.1%, who cares… well, as a part of THE ENTIRE EASTERN INTERCONNECT, it adds up fast.  Let me make this perfectly clear, transmission line loss is substantial.  It’s particularly substantial when you’re talking about using transmission to ship lower capacity energy, like wind and solar.  If you have long, hundreds of miles long, transmission lines, there’s not much, if any, of that energy that would find its way to its destination.

This is not news.  My engineer, Art Hughes, PhD EE, taught me so much about power engineering.  It was a struggle to keep up with him, but the knowledge I gained working with him opened doors in challenging utility infrastructure projects.  Here he is at a public hearing in Peosta, Iowa,  telling people a thing or two about transmission:
Art Hughes filed testimony in the SW MN 345 kV Transmission Lines case, PUC Docket 01-1958) — search the testimony for “losses” upon which this case turned, and was erroneously granted a Certificate of Need, and later a Routing Permit:
Oh well.   It’s long done, this transmission project and many others, the horse is out of the barn, dead, and beaten to a pulp.  There’s been a massive transmission build-out, and now they want to build yet another “transmission overlay.”  Great idea, MISO, Xcel, and all of you dreaming of this revenue generation via capital investment and ROI scheme.
Anyway, back to today’s email.

There’s a “Stakeholder Meeting” coming up:

Register here

Those words, “Stakeholder Meeting” get my attention, because just who is a stakeholder, who decides.  I don’t recall getting this email, but thankfully a client who is regarded as a “Stakeholder” did, so I’ve signed up and will spend the time to show up and raise a few points.

Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources Header

Upcoming Stakeholder Meeting: Opportunities and Barriers to Utility Infrastructure Efficiency

Friday, July 28th from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30  p.m.

Wilder Center – 451 Lexington Pkwy. N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

Register for this free public meeting

Meeting Details

An estimated 12-15% of the nation’s electricity production is consumed by generation auxiliary loads, transmission and distribution losses, and substation consumption. As such, there is significant potential to increase utility infrastructure efficiency by decreasing conversion losses, improving plant operations, and mitigating transmission and distribution losses throughout Minnesota’s electric grid.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce invites you to participate in a stakeholder meeting to explore opportunities and barriers to utility infrastructure efficiency projects, and to begin developing a framework to improve the overall generation, transmission, and distribution efficiency of Minnesota’s electric system.

Meeting attendees will hear from national and local experts and gain insight into how existing, new, and on-the-horizon utility infrastructure technologies can increase system efficiency, including:

  • A presentation by the Electric Power Research Institute, highlighting innovative utility infrastructure efficiency projects and approaches from around the country.
  • A presentation from Minnkota Power Cooperative, discussing lessons learned from implementing infrastructure efficiency projects in Minnesota.
  • Information about next steps in the stakeholder engagement process, including a deeper-dive examination of supply-side efficiency policy issues.

Register here

click for larger version

Congratulations to Neighbors United Against Ameren Power Line, and to their attorney, Paul Henry, on this victory against Ameren’s Mark Twain  Transmission Project  (How dare they name something like this after Mark Twain, he”d be rolling in his grave).  The Missouri Supreme Court will not take up the Court of Appeals decision that Missouri does have jurisdiction over Ameren’s transmission project.  Here’s the decision from the Court of Appeals:

Ameren (ATXI) – Missouri Court of Appeals

Ameren claims were bizarre:

And the Missouri Court said, “We don’t think so.” Ameren tried to get it before theMissouri Supreme Court, and failed.

As recently as April, Ameren was proposing new routes through Missouri.  Guess again!

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