And a break from Sarah Palin…

October 19th, 2008

After Todd in Minnesota this week, and Sarah again last night:

… today in the inbox was Earl’s url for a little musical interlude:

You’ll need some grey to be “Old and In the Way!”

The STrib reports Todd Palin is in Minnesota, Duluth, Grand Rapids, Hibbing…

Todd Palin stumps in northern Minnesota

And from a little birdie, the photo below and a memorable sound bite from Todd Palin:

“When Sarah makes up her mind to do something, I’ve learned to just get outta the way, ‘cuz she’s gonna do it!”

It’s our job to make sure she doesn’t get the opportunity to do anything, eh?

Here’s something better — a photo of a really fine specimen near Duluth:

Here’s Theresa, who just had pups about 8 weeks ago, and she and her pups are all at the Humane Society of Goodhue County, 1213 Brick Road, Red Wing, or 651-388-5286.:

She’s about 4 years old, born in October, 2004, kind of small for a shep, and very gentle.  She’s a “leaner” and was very calm when i let her out of the pen and put her on a leash.  Her puppies are in the pens next door, they’ve just been weaned, and there are 11 of them, yes, ELEVEN, and though it’s clear dad or dads are not sheps, more like yellow lab, rottweiler, and who knows what else, they are adorable.  Theresa is on the way to the vet to be spayed tomorrow and she’ll be back waiting for YOU on Monday or so.

The Humane Society of Goodhue County is located at 1213 Brick Ave Red Wing, MN. Hwy 61 runs directly through the city of Red Wing. Approximately one mile north of the downtown district will be Wilters Harbor Drive. Wilthers Harbor will loop around at that time take a left onto Tile Dr. Take Tile Dr. approxiately 1/2 mile to Brick Ave. Take a right onto Brick Ave.  They are at the end of Brick on the left hand side.

Picture this scene with a 115kV transmission line on one side of the path… or BOTH?!?! AAAAAGH!

Scroll down for the scoop from Pam Rasmussen, Xcel…

Just when you thought it was the “Midtown Greenway,” maybe Xcel has another idea… maybe it’s going to be the “Xcel Transmissionway.” Xcel has announced the “Hiawatha Project” for Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis. Where in Phillips?

Here’s the map, but essentially, it’s stretching east-west between Midtown and East Phillips:

Hiawatha Project Map

They’re holding public meetings soon, at both ends of the project:

Midtown Global Market Management

920 East Lake

Greenway Level Conference Room – Lower Level

Wednesday October 29th

12-2pm and 5-7 pm


Thursday November 6

12-2 pm and 5-7 p.m.

Be there or be square…

There are supposed to be other meetings in November at the YWCA on East Lake Street, but I don’t have any info on when — have emailed Pam Rasmussen and her response is down further.

For more information from Xcel, see:


Here’s how they explain the project, from their blurb on the project page:

What is being proposed to improve the system?

Our proposed project involves construction of one substation near the Hiawatha corridor and another in the Midtown area, connected by two 1.25-mile, 115-kilovolt transmission power supply lines. The two lines may be located on the same corridor.

Is that bizarre? In other proceedings they use “geographic diversity” as a reason not to use a pre-existing corridor, and here they’re saying it’s “two” lines which “may be located in the same corridor.” Uh-huh…

Xcel claims that they’ll be conducting “open discussion with all stakeholders, including the city of Minneapolis” (in the Q & A blurb they also commit to including “area neighborhoods), and they say that “[i]nput from stakeholders pertaining to visual impacts will be considered prior to final location of structures, rights-of-way and other areas.” So do tell, Xcel, who is a “stakeholder?” I would expect that the East Phillips, Midtown and West Phillips neighborhood groups would be stakeholders. I would expect that the Midtown Greenway Coalition is a stakeholder. Does Green Institute have a dog in this? The hospitals, clinics, and associated medical interests in the area? The Midtown Exchange? And the Midtown Eco-Burner?

What I’m not seeing in any of this is a need statement with any specificity, but hey, who needs a need statement when there’s no Certificate of Need required? How would system alternatives be considered? It sure wouldn’t happen in the Routing permit. Maybe they just have to say they want it and the City agrees? In looking at the area, with Honeywell gone and WellsFargo in, with all of that hospital and associated medical stuff, and that they took OUT the substation on Oakland, there’s probably not so much a shortage of power as a power quality problem, given the old distribution system. And why would they build line from the 115kV line on Hiawatha to near WellsFargo, a radial line, connecting to the sub, but not to another line, not to the grid? Why not just update the existing system? Is there something else in the works? Inquiring minds want to know.

In their press release, they state:

The company plans to employ state-of-the-art “Smart Substation” technologh that will allow enhanced monitoring and control of substation equipment. In addition, other elements of SmartGrid technology can be incorporated that will improve reliable service to customers.

SmartGrid? That’s the project they’re working on in Boulder, Colorado, and blurbs for that that THEY put out say that it can cut load by 30%. Let’s just forget about transmission and put in SmartGrid, eh?

Where did that SmartGrid blurb of theirs go? It’s in the CapX 2020 exhibits. Will post it later…

Here’s what Pam Rasmussen had to say in answer to a few of my questions:


The project substations and lines are 115 kv and the new lines will be about 1.25 miles long. It will not require a CON, but does fall under the MN PUC Route permit process.

I saw that you found the map. We are going to post it on the web page as a direct link today along with the meeting announcement.
The map should give you an idea of where the two substation siting areas are in the area.

It is two 115 kV kv lines, with single 795 ACSS [originally she reported ACSR, and corrected that to ACSS — thanks for that clarification!] at this time. No bundling. Depending upon the route and design it could be double circuited or it could be two single circuit lines.

This is not replacing the 115 kV line along Hiawatha. The proposed Hiawatha substation will tie into the existing line and then the two new 115 kv lines would go from the Hiawatha sub to the new Midtown substation.

I see you have the dates for the public meetings on your web page. We will be mailing letters to landowners in the area is shown on the map later this week as well as putting ads in the paper.

We don’t have any other meetings scheduled at this time, but will be scheduling them as we move forward. This is just the first set of meetings to provide information on the project and to gather input on concerns or suggestions people have.


As I understand it, there’s been a “stakeholder” meeting with at least one neighborhood group. Still tracking down info on the others… stay tuned!

There’s something about a Citizen Advisory Task Force, and that something is that when people are “forced” to sit down and actually read a utility application for significant utility infrastructure, be it nuclear waste storage, transmission line, coal gasification plant or nuclear waste storage once again, they, and WE in the cosmic sense, all learn something. What is usually learned makes the Dept. of Commerce squirm… too bad, these applications are full of unsupported justifications for their infrastructure, projects that will make them money but that are not in the public interest, and “the Department” just takes what they say and works with it, no independent verification, as they’ve testified to over and over and over again. That’s where a Task Force is helpful — a Task Force has a way of recognizing the inconsistencies, factual errors (remember “Lake Pepin was formed by Lock and Damn #3” from the Goodhue Co. Alternate Site application?). Task Forces have a way of coming up with system and site/rout alternatives to meet the need claimed by a utility in ways that they hadn’t brought forth (didn’t discover or don’t want discovered). Task Forces have a way of finding a better way, or two, or three. Task Forces have a way of taking a disparate and diverse group of public officials and NGO representatives and citizens and jelling them into cohesive, informed and thoughtful questioners and advocates.

Here are a couple of significant Task Force Reports for background:

Report of the Site Advisory Task Force: Goodhue County Dry Cask Storage Alternate Site Project (I’m downloading this, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz, very, very, very slow – in the meantime, CLICK HERE FOR LINK)

Expanding Horizons – Chisago I Task Force Report 1997

Expanding Horizons – Appendices – Chisago I

Here are some recent attempts of Task Forces to struggle to evaluate a big project with insufficient time, to wrap their heads around system and site/route alternatives, and with laudable results:

Chisago II Task Force Recommendations – May 2007

(Authored by Task Force. Note there are no Appendices — Commerce jettisoned them, they were not included with the Report!!!)

Mesaba Energy Project – Citizen Advisory Task Force Report

(Authored by staff, where Comments on each aspect of charged were solicited from Task Force and report compiled — report shows resulting lack of cohesiveness). Note AGAIN there are no Appendices — Commerce jettisoned them, they were not included with the Report!!!)

For the Chisago II Task Force, we had to fight Commerce to get it. Notices/invitations were not sent out to all affected communities, there wasn’t enough time for a governmental unit to appoint a representative, they didn’t have enough members and local communities were not represented so they weren’t legally sufficient to be a “Task Force” so it was a “work group… Not enough time… appendices “disappeared.”

For the Mesaba Task Force, we had to file a petition in this one too, Commerce didn’t want it. Meetings were “facilitated” by Commerce staff and provided with incorrect guidance, i.e., told they could not address cumulative impacts, GRRRRRRRRRR. Report prepared by staff with comments by members… not enough time… appendices “disappeared.”

For this most recent one, the Prairie island uprate and dry cask storage, once again Commerce fought against a Task Force, very few were sent solicitations, there was nearly no time to apply, and only three meetings are planned, cut short already by 1/2 hour because the library closes at 8:30, not 9:00.m. Bill Storm, Commerce Staff, has unilaterally decided the “charge” of the Task Force, and despite Commission emphasis on the importance of vetting the application (which I raised at the PUC meeting) and independent review and analysis, there’s no mention of vetting the application; he’s unilaterally decided that public comment is not allowed (there has been time at end of meeting for public comment in past Task Forces); he stated that the PUC Ordered that he is to “preside” over the meeting (OH, PUH-LEEEZE, the PUC did no such thing) and when challenged insisted that was the case (“HAVE YOU SEEN THE ORDER?” Well, I have seen the PUC Order, and it does not state that Storm is to preside over the meeting); he stated that there will be no report (OH? The PUC specifically stated that the Task Force could do a report if it wanted to, and if it does not, how will its work be entered in the record… oh, it won’t be… right, funny how that works and how convenient where the public’s work and issues raised aren’t even part of the proceeding?) Good way to delegitimize and dismiss our efforts… I realize that’s just what he wants, it’s his job to “remove the impediments” and “streamline,” but speaking as an “impediment,” I’ve got my job too.

And the good news, other than it’s such a lovely day that it’s easy to forget the economy is imploding, on my doorstep just now is the FedEx package with the tape of that PUC meeting, so now there’s a transcript to do.

And that Goodhue County Task Force Report is still downloading, like molasses…