Xcel’s Hiawatha Project is sitting there like the fart in the elevator, and I’m wondering what they’re doing in the back rooms of Minneapolis City Hall when we’re not looking.

Two events coming up in January:

Community Forum on Xcel’s Hiawatha Project

Sponsored by the Phillips Community Energy Cooperative, the Coalition, and others
Monday, January 12, 2009
At Plaza Verde
1516 East Lake Street
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

… and an Open House, another opportunity to dig into this project and find out what’s really going on:

Xcel Energy’s Next Public Open House on the Hiawatha Project
Thursday, January 15, 2009
At Plaza Verde, 1516 East Lake Street
Noon to 2:00 p.m.
And 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Here’s something to make your head scratch… the project is based on a study of south Minneapolis, which they confirm on their site:

Xcel Energy planners have conducted a 20-year long-range electric delivery system study for south Minneapolis and determined that infrastructure improvements are needed to meet capacity deficiencies and support continued growth and economic vitality.

OK, so where is it?  They won’t produce it!  Local stakeholders have asked nicely, they even say “PLEASE?” and nope, no study.  Contact Betty Mirzayi (betty.mirzayi[at]xcelenergy.com), Pam Rassmussen (pamela.jo.rasmussen[at]xcelenergy.com) and Paul Adelmann (paul.adelmann[at]xcelenergy.com) and ask them for a copy of the South Minneapolis study that’s the basis for the Hiawatha Project.

Franken is ahead…

December 19th, 2008

… and lead is growing… into “double digits” now…

… and now 250 or so…


Hydrokinetic power in Delaware

December 18th, 2008

Just last week I read an article about a hydrokinetic turbine manufacturer relocating to Delaware, UEK Delaware.  UEK stands for “Underwater Electric Kites,” and here’s their site, though pretty lame:

UEK Delaware

They’ve been around for a while and got a grant recently to take the next step towards a project in Delaware:

UEK Delaware gets DNREC grant

Water turbine plant coming to Delaware

Turbine maker moving to Sussex (into 80,000 square feet of… chicken houses?)

UEK will employ 40 at Frankford facility

The News Journal

A company that is developing water-powered electricity-generating turbines has announced plans to move its assembly plant from Annapolis, Md., to Sussex County.

UEK would hire up to 40 people at the outset, with the possibility of 100 workers total, said David O. Rickards, president of UEK Delaware, based in Frankford.

Before the deal is done, the company needs county approval to convert chicken houses into 80,000 square feet of assembly facilities near Frankford. With a host of international and United States contracts for the turbines, it has outgrown its prototype assembly space in Annapolis. It is working to fill contracts for turbines for sites in Uganda, Zambia, Chile, Brazil, Japan and Alaska and for an American Indian tribe in Maine, Rickards said. “We needed the assembly plant yesterday.”

The company also has a project under way to install a hydrokinetic turbine in the cooling-water intakes at the Indian River Power Plant, where the flowing water would generate electricity. That project may be up and running by June, Rickards said.

And it plans to relaunch soon a 5-year-old proposal to install the turbines at the bottom of the Indian River Inlet, to take advantage of the fast-moving waters there, he said. That project ran into opposition from fishermen and was dropped.

Rickards said he hopes to connect with local manufacturing firms for components including seals, bearings and chains so that UEK can focus on assembly.

The state gave final approval last week for a $52,440 grant from the Green Energy Fund toward installation of the turbines in the cooling intakes at the NRG Energy power plant on Indian River near Millsboro, Rickards said.

After that project proves its worth, he said, the company plans to market such turbines to the approximately 10,000 other facilities around the country that use cooling towers.

Even if just 5 percent of those facilities employ the turbines, the company expects it would need to ramp up assembly to the point where it would need to have about 100 workers on site.

When the NRG turbine is up and running, the company will be producing an educational video for schools — a requirement of the grant — and a marketing video for commercial purposes.

Rickards said he hopes to receive expedited county approval for his land-use application. Converting the old poultry houses would save him several hundred thousand dollars compared to renting smaller space in an existing industrial park, he said.

Here’s the turbine they make… but wait, it says on the site that several prototypes look promising, which to me means they don’t have one.

Hydrokinetic Power in MN

December 18th, 2008


I’ve been hearing rumblings, and finally am getting around to doing the background on this, and I was shocked and most pleased to find that there are FOUR projects proposed for Minnesota.  FOUR!  One each at Lock and Dams 2, 3, 4, and 7.

Lock and Dam #2 is in Hastings, and that project has been issued a permit by FERC – here’s the permit (the application isn’t there, they’ve got a link mix-up that I hope will be fixed):

Lock & Dam #2 – Hastings – Hydrokinetic Permit Issued

Here are the other ones that I could find on the FERC site.  First is the one for the Lock & Dam by Red Wing, immediately south of the Prairie Island nuclear plant:

Lock & Dam #3 – Permit Application

Lock & Dam#3 – Letter – Permit App is Deficient

After the applicants fix the holes in the application, FERC will have a comment period, probably at least 30 days, I need to look at one that’s been through the process to be sure.

And here we are going south — the Lock & Dam numbers go up as they go south:

Lock & Dam #6 – Permit Application

Lock & Dam #7 – Permit Application

Lock & Dam #9 – Permit Application

This is new, and needs vetting, but I’m excited at this possibility, particularly as back up for wind for dispatchable power.  And I really like that it’s right here in Red Wing.  The Red Wing project is 11 MW, 1% of Prairie Island, but from the FERC site, the projects already on track equal 1500+ MW, and that’s 1.5 Prairie Islands, and that’s significant!  One issue of concern, in addition to fish impacts (do you see fish screens on either of these pictured?), is the implications of further dependency on water for power generation.  There is already concern in the transmission world about the impacts of low water level on power plants, the concern being that if the water’s really low, they shut down, and then what does that do to the grid generally (crash it?).  Increased dependence on water will amplify that problem, I’d think.  On the other hand, the hydrokinetic generation doesn’t take water, it just passively uses it, unlike the millions of gallons a day going through a coal or nuclear plant with a percentage going up into the air through cooling towers and not into the river.

Here’s one of those intense regulatory process charts with circles and graphs and arrows and lots of colors:

US Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Process

US Army Corps – Mississippi River Primer

Here’s some FERC info:

White Paper – Licensing Hydrokinetic Pilot Projects

And from Fish & Wildlife:

Fish & Wildlife Service – Mississippi River Primer & Concerns

Oh, and duh, here’s the rules:

Speaking of cooling towers, there’s a hydrokinetic project proposed for NRG’s Indian River Power Plant, in the water intakes or discharge… gotta check that out, and it will be on a following post.  But the issue with that project is that the hydrokinetic project may be used as justification not to go to a cooling tower or zero water system… so… it’s mixed…

Here’s another version of a hydrokinetic turbine:


Shouting “THIS IS A FAREWELL KISS — YOU DOG!” an Iraqi reporter flung his shoes at Bush.

And now we probably can’t wear shoes on airplanes…

… or maybe just to press conferences:

Iraqi Reporter Throws Shoes at Bush

Stolen from Common Dreams & Reuters

Here it is, turn the sound off to avoid the inane commentary: