Hmmmmm… Outland Renewable Energy proposes another “it’s for wind line” NOT… what does this mean? Do I detect trajectory?

Otter Tail Power’s Big Stone II coal plant is floundering, and the transmission for that project is pending at the Minnesota PUC, transmission that necessarily must connect to CapX 2020’s “it’s for wind” NOT line:


  • It’s a regular ol’ corporation, and does not have the power of eminent domain.
  • FERC regulations prohibit any transmission provider to discriminate against generators, generation types, etc., wind, coal, nuclear, whatever… An “It’s for wind” line can’t be done. Legally it must transmit whatever is out there…
  • oh… and a google reveals that Ingrid Bjorklund, V.P. of Governmental Affiars and Associate General Counsel for Outland, is also an Ottertail Power lobbyist.  She has since filed a termination notice for Otter Tail, hmmmmm.

Oh… OK… sigh…

Here’s their Press Release that was picked up verbatim by Shakopee Valley News and North American Windpower (Finance & Commerce did a bit better, bit it’s not online yet, rumor has it that F&C will be online soon) and probably others who didn’t put any thought into whether this is possible, legal, or just PR hype from toadies of coal hedging their bets as the transmission line that BSII depends on hangs in limbo…

December 21, 2007 – Chaska, Minnesota

Minnesota-based, Outland Renewable Energy, LLC (Outland) announced today their plan to build a community-wind generator-owned power line focused on moving wind energy from the wind-belt of southwest Minnesota to the Twin Cities area. Outland is a non-utility, private company and will finance the Minnesota Independence Line itself. This privately funded line will significantly increase the ability of wind energy resources available to meet the increasing demand for clean, renewable energy and will help Minnesota meet its Renewable Energy Standard, which states 25 percent of the state’s electricity will come from renewable energy sources by 2025.

“Outland is proud of its mission to harness the power of wind, creating a clean, safe and secure energy future for our communities,” said Ingrid Bjorklund, vice president of government affairs and associate general counsel for Outland Renewable Energy. “We are tackling the transmission bottleneck with an innovative solution to get the state’s abundant wind energy to market sooner.”

The Minnesota Independence Line will be a high-voltage transmission line approximately 150 miles in length, running from the Buffalo Ridge area to the Twin Cities area. This wind line will have the potential to move up to 3,000 megawatts of wind out of the wind-rich Buffalo Ridge region. Outland hopes to have the line operational in 2012. This will help the state meet the first milestone in the Renewable Energy Standard, which is 12 percent by 2012.

Since Outland’s wind-energy generation is community-based, it conforms to Minnesota’s goal that we develop more of our state’s renewable resources as homegrown energy. Outland’s commitment to Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) ensures that Minnesota renewable energy and the associated economic development stays in the state.

As an extension of our wind generation, Outland’s transmission line is also community focused. Outland envisions that landowners along the transmission route will embrace and participate in community ownership. This will enable those communities in Minnesota that do not enjoy the same abundant wind resource that exists in southwestern Minnesota to share the economic benefits of the state’s wind energy resources.

“This is a community endeavor where we will actively reach out to our communities to discuss every step of the project,” Bjorklund said. “Outland has the expertise and financial strength to deliver the potential of wind energy to Minnesota and revitalize our rural communities.”

The transmission grid in southwest Minnesota is at its maximum capacity and cannot support the significant increase in new wind energy that will be needed to meet Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard. This transmission congestion in that area is causing a backlog of projects, which is inhibiting wind farms from fully developing. The Minnesota Independence Line will significantly increase transmission capacity in southwest Minnesota, which will help Outland deliver wind more quickly.

LeMOnovo resolves computer mess!

December 26th, 2007


All I wanted was a computer… my trusty Dell that I’d had for years died the afternoon before the start of the Chisago Transmission Project hearing, couldn’t have been worse timing — I swear Xcel arranged that one. Alan ordered a Dell to be shipped to the hearing site the next day, and it wasn’t, and when pressed, they said they couldn’t guarantee that it was even in stock, much less that they’d ship it (so do explain why they’re charging for overnight delivery???). Needless to say that was cancelled, but that took a couple days to accomplish. So he then ran to the store and got a Lenovo 3000N, which I got the next day, Saturday, and started loading it up and everything, and when I got to the scanner, the damn thing crashed. With no time (the hearing resumed on Monday), I frantically restored (yes, the system restore worked very well) and got it going again, and again, at the scanner, it crashed, but just before it did, I got a little screen that the scanner was not compatible with Vista. Oh, great, and so then I started googling, using a reliable desktop that Alan had put together from junked computers, and found that Vista isn’t compatible with all sorts of things. I called Lenovo to see what I could do about Vista and was told I needed to get a compatible scanner — ahem… I DON’T THINK SO!! I told them Vista sucked, and I wanted XP, and they said, no, I couldn’t get XP because they only did that exchange with ones with the upper grade Vista, wonderful… I have XP but of course Microsoft has these rules… So then I restored again and got it going and of course by now the Chisago hearing is long done, and I’m out in Delaware and gave up on my scanners and figured I’d just use that with the desktops here and there, OK, fine, and I was cruising along, and then the keyboard stopped. First one letter, and then a couple and within a few minutes, the keyboard was DEAD, no keyboard whatsoever. And I had a brief to write. Great, thanks… can you spell PISSED. My normally low blood pressure was through the roof. The Lenovo phone guy said that he couldn’t just give me instructions to take it apart and fix it, that it had to be fixed by one of their warranty fixers or mail it in (oh, so that means how long without my brains?). OK, he gives me a case number and refers me to a list of providers. Of the four in Delaware, not one phone number was correct, so I googled the names, and called, only two were still in business and of those two, NONE would do work on one they hadn’t sold. Oh, great, so I have to ship it off.  We ran to the local Office Big Box and got a USB keyboard and I finished up the brief.  Lenovo sent out a mailing box and I sent it in after downloading everything into a separate drive. And since Vista was a problem throughout, I said in big capital letters “NEEDS NEW KEYBOARD, AND INSTALL XP, VISTA SUCKS.” It came back with a new keyboard, and I guess Vista had been reloaded because a lot of things that were there when I’d sent it in were not there when I got it back… sigh… Also missing was the ThinkVantage which has the save and restore functions I needed. Because by that time, I was bent on getting XP into this machine, and the internet descriptions of how to do that said to save everything just in case. Oh well… The new keyboard worked, and it was time to reload AGAIN, but I didn’t want to do that in Vista, I’d had enough, and in utter frustration about Vista, I brought it to my local computer guy and threw up my hands and said, GET RID OF VISTA AND GET XP IN THIS, and so he did, and once again, I was happy, cruising along, getting everything set up and reloaded and all that crap for the umpteenth time, and all was well for a couple weeks until the keyboard went out again. AGAIN!!! I lost it, utterly lost it, we got another USB keyboard (because the other one was in Delaware of course) and called Lenovo and bitched and of course it was the same, mail it in or bring it to a local, and I wasn’t about to go through calling a list of bad phone numbers again, so I dutifully got my new case number and proceeded to rant and rave and stomp around the house, and meanwhile Alan’s feeling terrible because he’d gotten it for me and it was a LeMOnovo, how would he know, it wasn’t his fault, and we’re both getting pisseder and pisseder. Is a lemon computer grounds for divorce??? Are they liable for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress??? Somehow I think the warranty is insufficient…

So Alan’s looking on the internet for ideas and he finds David Churbuck, Lenovo Grand Pooh-Bah of Marketing, and his cellphone is on his blog. Really, he lists his number and says call if you’ve got a Lenovo problem. 508-360-6147 And it’s an interesting blog! I think he’s on a one-person mission to salvage the reputations of corporate types (ahem… salvaging reputations of corporations just isn’t within the realm of possibilities) and in this case, he did just that. One call and a quick return, an email exchange, and then a few back and forth phone calls with another corporate guy and next thing you know, I have a Lenovo box in my porch on Xmas Eve (not that I’m anything but agnostic, mind you). Call it a belated Happy B-Day! THANK YOU!!!

I’ve loaded everything in, it’s working, haven’t had a glitch… Yes, I’m paranoid, but I think it’s OK. OK enough to say it here. Alan’s a bit more paranoid than I, but I’m ready to say that Lenovo has indeed rectified this “situation.” Time will tell, but I think it’s fixed!!!

Happy HoliDOGS!!!!

December 25th, 2007

Alan and I wish all viewers of this page a happy holiday season–whatever you do or do not celebrate–and a successful new year….. one full of agitation and advocacy!!!

Year End Wrap Up – and what a year!

Happy Holidogs from Krie and Kenya too!


Excelsior files Petition for

December 22nd, 2007

Ok, let’s trot out this guy again… because this sure deserves it!


I get the feeling that Excelsior feels the need to quick spend a lot of money before year end, because here they go again, another inexplicable filing:

Excelsior Energy Petition under Minn. Stat. 216B.1694

Excelsior Energy is asking for an Order from the PUC that transmission infrastructure associated with the Mesaba Energy Project is exempt from Certificate of Need requirements.  Ummmm.. let me get this straight, they want to know that transmission is exempt for a project that does not exist and for which it seems there is no way in hell it ever will?  So what are they trying to do here?

As if there isn’t enough to do…



It’s got us all scratching our heads… this inexplicable appeal.  Here’s more on the theme of challenges to Excelsior’s appeal of the PUC’s decision regarding its Mesaba Project, the coal gasification (IGCC) plant proposed for Taconite, MN.

Xcel has filed a Motion to Discharge Writ and Opposition to Discretionary Review, YES!!! GO XCEL GO!!! (yeah, spend time fighting them, and forget about CapX for a while, eh?)

NSP Opposition to Discretionary Review

NSP Motion to Discharge Writ

And note what they’re relying on for precedent… will post on that separately.