Molly Ivins…

January 31st, 2007


I’ve been watching all the posts come in — she’s had such an impact on so many of us… what to say…

The STrib article noted that the Mpls. Police Dept. named their mascot pig after her. Yeah, that’s a legacy…

And for me, it’s leaving time

 I have a grandly dramatic vision of myself stalking through the canyons of the Big Apple in the rain and cold, dreaming about driving with the soft night air of East Texas rushing on my face while Willie Nelson sings softly on the radio, or about blasting through the Panhandle under a fierce sun and pale blue sky….I’ll remember, I’ll remember…sunsets, rivers, hills, plains, the Gulf, woods, a thousand beers in a thousand joints, and sunshine and laughter. And people. Mostly I’ll remember people.

Where’s that NRG ad!!!

January 31st, 2007


 “NRG has been running an ad that may not be completely factual,” said Bunting, referring to an advertisement that has appeared in the Cape Gazette, among other papers. “I told NRG that if they are going to put things in an ad, they better make sure it’s factual because here in Delaware there are more Ph.D’s per square mile than anywhere else.”

The lengths people will go to in promoting IGCC…

Can someone scan that ad in and send it to me?  Inquiring minds are dying to know!


From today’s Cape Gazette:

Decision looms in near future on power provider

By Rachel Swick
Cape Gazette staff

Delaware officials are currently in the process of reviewing three power suppliers with the intent to offer a long-term contract with the state for electricity through Delmarva Power. The process was started with legislation that aimed to provide Delawareans with price stability in the energy market. Proponents of wind power are working hard to write letters to the decision makers, but proponents of the other applications – one for a new coal facility and the other for a new natural gas plant – have been rather quiet.

“I’ve been involved with the power plant for 20 years,” said Sen. George Bunting, during a meeting hosted by the American Association for University Women in Rehoboth Beach. “Clean coal was the best technology on the horizon, until one year ago when wind came in. I was hoping there could be both technologies in Delaware.”

Bunting said he was approached by NRG Energy officials, owners of the Indian River Power Plant in Millsboro, to write a letter to the Public Service Commission supporting an integrated coal gasification system for Delaware. Bunting said he would not support coal over wind power, because he realizes alternative power is going to be needed in the future. He said he hoped both technologies could coexist.

“NRG has been running an ad that may not be completely factual,” said Bunting, referring to an advertisement that has appeared in the Cape Gazette, among other papers. “I told NRG that if they are going to put things in an ad, they better make sure it’s factual because here in Delaware there are more Ph.D’s per square mile than anywhere else.”

While wind is one possibility for alternative energy, not everyone is in favor of putting wind farms in the ocean. Others wonder why nuclear energy or bio-fuels are not on the forefront, rather than wind.

“Wind may be good but not on our pristine oceans. I want my grandchildren to be able to see the ocean the way the Native Americans saw it and the way I saw it, not with hundreds of eye-polluting windmills and marine- and avian-life destroyers out there. If NRG isn’t clean, then make them!” said Mike Tyler of Citizens Coalition.

An ethanol task force was convened last year, with Rep. Joe Booth, R-Georgetown, officiating. A lot of information was presented and legislators may be looking at implementing legislation during this session, said Booth.

Solar power is another opportunity for alternative energy, but no large-scale solar utility has yet been developed in the region. One already proven technology is nuclear power, but the term nuclear tends to make people nervous, noted one resident attending the wind meeting.

The Cape Gazette would like to hear from residents who support the coal gasification or natural gas plants to produce electricity.

Contact Rachel Swick at

Jump on the Cap & TAX train…

January 30th, 2007


The best news I’ve had lately is that Komanoff is back at it and laying out the essential differences between “Cap & TRADE” (BAD) and “Cap& TAX” (GOOD). He gets it — do you?? Here’s the Carbon Tax site. More on this soon.
I was just indulging in a little Komanoff in the tub (Power Plant Cost Escalation) and found this snippet that rings so true about coal gasification and the spiraling out of sight costs — and in dealing with those promoting IGCC when they haven’t a clue what they’re talking about. The cost estimates for IGCC are way off for the same reasons that was an issue in nuclear — we’re stuck in the 70’s folks, overbuilding, trying to get approval for capacity we don’t need, and on the brink getting mired in Dogawful messes:

The failure to predict accurately nuclear capital costs reflects a fundamental limiation in the power industry’s technique of engineering estimation, which employs conceptual plant designs to calculate the labor, materials, equipment, and engineering effort to build a plant. The technique requires that the scope of work be known at the start of construction, yet nuclear plants, as the larges reactor builder has noted, are subject to “new requirements… imposed after the design and construction are well advanced, requiring substantial rework that increases both the schedule and cost.

Yeah, DUH, but the cost estimates are so far off, and it’s only going to get worse if they actually try to build one of these fool things somewhere. Substitute IGCC for nuclear and there you have it! How many “lessons learned” at Wabash River? How many full-time engineers does it take to cobble Wabash together?

I can’t get over the aspects shared by nuclear of the 70’s and coal of 2006. We really don’t need to do this all over again.

Yeah, you tell ’em!

A little birdie told me that there was a new MISO study for Excelsior, and whooooeeeee, here it is:


OK, folks, once more with feeling:


Pretty clear, eh?

Here’s my Motion to the PPA ALJ:

Motion to Include MISO System Impact Study

The birdie probably wanted to offset that awful testimony of MISO’s Clair Moeller yesterday…


Question of the Day: WHAT DOES CAPX2020 WANT NOW?

Here’s my House Energy presentation that didn’t happen:

House Energy Jan 29 2007

Once more with feeling… Question of the Day: WHAT DOES CAPX2020 WANT NOW?

CAPX 2020 for RES??? Streamlining?

Exempt from what… Certificate of Need?

Environmental review?

I don’t think so… Over my dead polar bear!

Why are they before the legislature? Didn’t they get it all in the 2005 transmission bill? Other than an exemption from all regulation and review — so that must be what they want, eh? No Renewable Electricity Standard without more transmission?

I’m really tired of these “little bit of wind for noxious generation” deals…

Minutes of October 19 2006 MAPP NM-SPG meeting state:

Ed Weber noted that the Coalition coal generator location is expected to be announced sometime early in 2007.

Anyone want to put any $$$ on that one?

It’s time to effectively deal with the transmission lies of Wind on the Wires, and their agreements with NSP/Xcel that grew from the 2002 SW Minnesota 345kV case. To watch Beth Soholt represent that proceeding to legislators as one where they got conditions to the Certificate of Need that would limit coal (a logical and legal impossibility) and as one where landowners were behind it because they got something out of it, that’s too much. Their entire purpose is to promote transmission, and they’ve done a good job of it. It has nothing to do with the public interest, nothing positive, that is, and has everything to do about the purposes of the Wind on the Wires grant — it’s a grant, not an organization, it’s just like the Great Plains coal work group — they’re paid to promote transmission.

For years, Soholt as Izaak Walton staff, and Matt Schuerger as ME3 staff, were attempting to gain SEED buy-in. They advocated for transmission in other venues too, promoting transmission generally, weakening of state jurisdiction and strengthening of federal jurisdiction, alteration of criteria for Certificate of Need particularly toward a regional focus — how is any of this in the public interest? How is any of this within the mission of the Izaak Walton League? Within the mission of ME3? Do their constituents know what they’re doing?

The sell-out by Minnesota’s so-called “environmental” groups has been apparent for a long time, starting with the Izaak Walton League and ME3, and including Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and George Crocker’s North American Water Office on the deal for the SW Minnesota 345kV line. That sell-out was codified in the 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell. My awareness of it began a couple of days before September 6 or 8, 2001, months prior to the filing of the SW MN 345kV Application, when Beth Soholt and Matt Schuerger asked six or seven of us potential intervenors to sell out on the line, errrrr… to “approve” of the line. At the time, Beth was working for Izaak Walton League and I think Matt was still with ME3 (he’s now contracting with the state). The perceived problematic potential intervenors were myself, the only attorney of the group, Bill Neuman, Sig Anderson, Dan Juhl, George Crocker and Dave Benson (two others have agreed to sign affidavits about this meeting). I’d requested the SW transmission study, which I still have, and was up at 6 that morning to review it. What was obvious to me was that when they listed generation waiting that required the line, it was coal, a big long list (see SW MN/SE SD Transmission Study, Section 7.2, p. 29-30). Soholt’s and Schuerger’s line was that it was needed for wind, but a 345kV line doesn’t do a thing for wind — yet that 345kV part was what they were insistent about. Wind interconnects, even large projects, to at most a 115kV line, well, logically it could connect to anything, but there’s not enough in one spot to justify the size of the line that was proposed, 2,085 MVA capacity, and the cost for wind to interconnect to that is prohibitive. The 345kV line ran from Sioux Falls (Split Rock) to Lakefield Junction, with just one interconnect from Buffalo Ridge, at Nobles. At that substation, the powerflows show that there’d be 213-302MW coming off of Buffalo Ridge, a very small percentage of the capacity of the line. At the time, I asked about Big Stone II, the logic user of that transmission. I pointed to the list of coal plants in the draft study, and asked what would limit that 345kV line from being used as the logical purveyor of coal, and he got snippy and pissy, and of course had no answer. I also said that obviously they were getting something, and were they willing to share? And got another pissy snippy answer, he threatened to walk out of the meeting again, hey, please do! I was there for the duration to find out what was up, and what struck me most was the “B squad” nature of the approach, there was no sell, no offer of anything that would justify selling out on that line. All they did was alert me to their selling out and promotion of that line and the importance of stopping that line because it really would facilitate coal.

Right after that came the Buffalo Ridge Transmission Plan, designed to address REAL wind collection and integration into the grid, and to expose the lie of the 345kV line. In disgust at the Soholt/Schuerger proposal, it was clear another means of achieving wind development was needed, and here it is:

Buff Ridge Transmission Plan

I’ve got to dig up my notes here… this will be a multi-part piece.