Kandiyohi Development is at it again, trying to ram through an incinerator in Rockford, Minnesota.  Here’s a prior post:

Kandiyohi moves to Rockford?

Apparently, their plans to site in in the City of Rockford crashed, so they went to the neighboring township.  Yesterday, they went down in flames in both Rockford Township and Wright County where they’re trying to locate this thing — both local governments, on hearing their pitch to be exempted from utility personal property taxes and asking for their blessing, said NO!  We’re not signing off on a utility personal property tax exemption!

The School Board is next…

Here’s the bill that they’re trying to get through the legislature, SF 703 and HF 845 that needs to be stopped pronto:

1.8    Subd. 90. Biomass electrical generation facility; personal property.
1.9    Notwithstanding subdivision 9, paragraph (a), attached machinery and other personal
1.10  property which is part of an electrical generation facility that meets the requirements of
1.11   this subdivision is exempt. At the time of construction, the facility must:
1.12     (1) have a generation capacity of less than 30 megawatts;
1.13     (2) be located within a township with a population of less than 7,000;
1.14     (3) be located on land within five miles of a distribution substation;
1.15     (4) be designed to utilize biomass as a primary fuel source;
1.16     (5) be owned by a limited liability company, limited liability partnership or
1.17   corporation, any of which must be registered in Minnesota; and
1.18     (6) have received by resolution the approval of the governing body of the county,
1.19   township, and school board in which the proposed facility is to be located for the
1.20   exemption of personal property under this subdivision.
1.21   Construction of the facility must be commenced before January 1, 2013. Property
1.22   eligible for this exemption does not include electric transmission lines and interconnections
1.23   or gas pipelines and interconnections appurtenant to the property or the facility.
1.24   EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Who to contact about this?  It’s been sent to the House Tax Committee and the Senate Energy Committee, so start there.

Authors to blame for this are:  Senators Koch, Dibble and Dille,  and Representatives Emmer, Dill and Rukavina.

Click here to contact them:

Senator Amy Koch

Senator Scott Dibble

Senator Steve Dille

Representative Tom Emmer

Representative David Dill

Representative Tom Rukavina

Call and email them today!

You’d think that Dill and Rukavina would have learned with that Laurentian biomass burner that violated its permit and had to be shut down, the MPCA had to rework the permit so that it could even run, and it has been having so many problems and is out of service so often that the ratepayers are FURIOUS!

Here’s the language we added to the Mesaba bill, now Minn. Stat. 272.02, Subd. 55, to require “payment in lieu of taxes” which would tank the project:

To qualify for an exemption under this subdivision, the owner of the electric generation facility must have an agreement with the host county, township or city, and school district, for payment in lieu of personal property taxes to the host county, township or city, and school district.

I think this is the one for the Invenergy plant in Cannon Falls, Minn. Stat. 272.02, Subd. 69:

To qualify under this subdivision, an agreement must be negotiated between the municipal power agency and the host city, for a payment in lieu of property taxes to the host city.


I-10 billboard criticizes LA proposal to run electrical lines through Inland areas

The Press-Enterprise

Opponents of Green Path North, a plan to route about 80 miles of electrical transmission lines through the desert near Joshua Tree National Park and the foothills of San Bernardino County, have taken their protest to Interstate 10.

The Wildlands Conservancy rented a billboard along the eastbound freeway, just east of the outlet mall in Cabazon, to protest the project proposed by the city of Los Angeles. The ad depicts a sunset over Joshua trees and the park’s signature rocks. It includes a red slash through a picture of a transmission tower and the Web address of the California Desert Coalition, a conservancy-associated group formed to fight Green Path.

The billboard reads: “L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, It’s not yours to destroy!”

The sign is aimed at capturing the eye of desert-bound tourists, said David Myers, executive director of The Wildlands Conservancy. It is the first full-size display in a 100-billboard, $400,000 campaign, he said.

The conservancy is an Oak Glen nonprofit that acquires and preserves open space for public use. The group owns the 20,000-acre Pipes Canyon Wilderness, northeast of Yucca Valley near Pioneertown, and land in Oak Glen, both areas the group says could be in the route of Green Path North. A smaller billboard was posted last year along Oak Glen Road in Oak Glen.

“We’re just going to do whatever it takes to protect our communities,” Myers said. “It speaks directly to the mayor about destroying our local lands and begs Angelinos to be a good sister city.”

Neither Villaraigosa’s office nor a spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power returned phone calls Tuesday seeking comment.

“Mayor Villaraigosa is the only single person who can stop this without a whole lot of process. We wanted to put it in his lap, to tell him, ‘This is your responsibility. This is your legacy you’re playing with,’ ” said David Miller, of Pioneertown, who took the photographs for the billboard.

Last fall, The Wildlands Conservancy launched a postcard-writing campaign to Villaraigosa urging him to choose a different route for Green Path North. Myers said 35,000 postcards were sent from Oak Glen in an effort to keep high-voltage towers off the hilltops surrounding the apple-growing region.

The controversial Green Path North project would route geothermal energy from the Salton Sea, as well as wind and solar power, to 5 million customers in Los Angeles and possibly some Inland cities.

Opponents, including numerous desert cities and the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, say the project would devastate pristine land and critical habitat and could lead to a federal utility corridor designation that might be used for more utility projects.

Los Angeles officials have said they would need a path no more than 330 feet wide and would take steps to bury lines in sensitive areas.

Check out the site for the:

California Desert Coalition

And here’s the map of  LA’s preferred corridor, and the wide line on the map is accurate as they’re planning a TWO to FIVE mile wide corridor!  Really!  TWO to FIVE miles!


Here’s another site — groups fighting this stupid “Green Path North” idea:

STOP Green Path North, LADWP and Imperial Irrigation District



Seems Xcel had a bit of a problem with an equipment shipment from Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant… oops… it was too radioactive at the receiving end of the line… how was it before and during???  Hmmmmmm…

Here’s the NRC report:

Prairie island Preliminary Yellow Findings Report

Bottom line?

…. the NRC concluded, that the elevated ratiation levels, although on the underside of the package, had the potential to adversely affect personnel who would normally receive the package and/or respond to an incident involving the package with the reasonable expectation that the package conformed to DOT radiation limitations.

and, regarding Title 49 CFR 173.44(a) which sets out specific shipping requirements …

Contrary to these requirements, on October 29, 2008, Northern States Power – Minnesota (Prairie Island) shipped a package containing radioactive material that was not sufficiently designed nor prepared to assure that, under conditions normally incident to transportation, the radioation level on the external surface of the package would not exceed 200 mrem/hour.  When received and surveyed at the shipping destination (Westinghouse in Waltz Mill, Pennsylvania), on October 31, 2008, the external surface of the package exhibited radiation levels of 1630 mrem/h [i.e. package radiation levels greater than five and less than ten times the regulatory limit].

Prairie island Preliminary Yellow Findings Report, see p. 9-11.

Here’s the story from the Red Wing Republican Beagle, also posted as AP in STrib and StPPP:


Shipments radioactivity was too high

Anne Jacobson
The Republican Eagle – 02/16/2009

A radioactive piece of equipment passed muster when it left Prairie Island nuclear plant, but the package exceeded safe radiation shipping levels by eight times when it reached Pennsylvania.

Plant Vice President Mike Wadley called it a serious and rare event.

The Nuclear Regulation Commission officials notified him by mail last week that they have issued a preliminary “yellow” finding in the matter. Yellow is the third highest of four safety risk rankings.

The NRC defines a yellow as an incident of substantial safety significance that will require additional inspections.

The plant immediately reported the incident to the NRC, Wadley said Monday. Westinghouse Electric Co., which received the shipment, also filed a report.

Investigators determined that a small particle moved during shipping, coming to rest on the steel shipping container’s bottom. That spot exceeded by eight times the 200 millirem radiation limit set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The equipment, which workers used during the plant’s Unit 2 refueling outage last fall to test the integrity of fuel rods in preparation for moving them, is always shipped by itself on a flatbed truck.

“It isn’t migrated or commingled with any other shipment,” Wadley said. “The trucker, no workers, no members of the public were affected.”

The plant promptly stopped all shipments so staff could evaluate what went wrong and modify procedures. Limited shipments resumed Feb. 6.

“We think we’ve eliminated the possibility going forwarded,” he said.

The plant ships potentially radioactive items, from oil to equipment, once a month.

Xcel Energy owns the plant. The utility’s officials as well as plant managers are reviewing the NRC’s preliminary yellow determination and will decide if they wish to respond in person or in writing. A final NRC determination is expected within 90 days.

JCSP & UMTDI in the news

February 16th, 2009


More transmission – again in the Wall Street Journal.

Hard to tell which of the alphabet soups this article is about, and I’d say both, it’s about the Joint Coordinated System Plan and the Upper Midwest Transmission Development InitiativeUMDTI! But we know it’s all one and the same.

The article doesn’t really specifically name either “group” and it leaves us wondering just who or what is behind it.  This is a good thing — yes, it really is as amorphous as it sounds! What disturbs me, of course, is the “It’s for wind,” because we know better!

New Grid for Renewable Energy Could Be Costly

FEBRUARY 9, 2009


A substantial increase in the amount of electricity produced from renewable energy would require building a transmission system that would carry a price tag of up to $100 billion, according to a new study.

The new system would be needed because the existing eastern grid couldn’t handle the volume of power coming from the wind-producing states. In addition, the new grid would need to be able to handle the fluctuating nature of wind power, which can surge at some moments and drop sharply at others.

There is strong political and public support for increasing production of renewable energy, and Congress is considering enacting a nationwide standard that would require utilities to garner more of their power from renewable sources. However, there is only an emerging understanding of how new standards would affect the country’s existing electricity infrastructure.

The study, sponsored by some of the nation’s biggest grid-running organizations east of the Rockies, is the most comprehensive attempt by the industry to figure out what kind of infrastructure upgrades would be needed if the U.S. attempts to sharply increase the amount of power it gets from sources such as wind and solar. In 2007, according to the Energy Information Administration, about 7% of the nation’s electricity came from renewable sources, including less than 1% from wind.

If the U.S. wants to get 20% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2024, the study says, it would be necessary to build a new electricity circulatory system, including 15,000 circuit miles of extremely high voltage lines. The system, which would be laid alongside the existing electric grid infrastructure, would start in the Great Plains and Midwest — where the bulk of the nation’s wind resources are located — and terminate in big cities along the East Coast.

The transmission system would cost up to $100 billion. Building the wind turbines needed to generate the desired amount of power would cost about $720 billion, the study estimates — making the total investment about equal to the size of the current stimulus bill. The money would be spent over a 15-year period, and would be financed primarily by utilities and investors.

The purpose of the study was “to make clear that if you need large sums of energy that’s not carbon-based, these are the kinds of numbers involved” to achieve it, said Clair Moeller, head of transmission planning for the Midwest Independent System Operator.

The report was prepared by organizations responsible for electric-system reliability in roughly half the states, including the Midwest Independent System Operator, SERC Reliability Region, PJM Interconnection LLC, the Southwest Power Pool, the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The projected cost of the system is only one hurdle. Getting the high-voltage power lines build across the country would require the assent of local authorities and landowners, and might require federal intervention. “For that 15,000 miles of lines, I promise about 15,000 lawsuits,” said Mr. Moeller.

The report is generating controversy because there is no guarantee that expensive power lines, if built, would be used primarily to move renewable energy. They could just as easily carry energy from coal-fired power plants in the Midwest or Great Plains.

New York and New England grid operators provided information for the report but say there might be ways to build resources in their regions more economically than hauling power from the Great Plains. “This study doesn’t look enough at alternatives to huge transmission additions,” said Stephen Whitley, chief executive of the New York Independent System Operator.

Utilities are proposing to build some new transmission lines already, but nothing on the scale of what the report says would be needed.

At least the WSJ noticed the NYISO and ISO-NE’s objections — here it is again, it’s one of those letters I just can’t get enough of:

Feb 4 2009 NYISO & ISO-NE Letter to JCSP

The UMDTI is insidious, a cheerleading effort to push transmission through.  The way the thing is structured, is, as I said in my comments at the February 11, 2009, meeting, is ABSOLUTELY ASS-BACKWARDS.  It’s market driven backwards engineering a transmission solution to support nonexistent need.

Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative – HOME PAGE

UMTDI Stakeholder Letter 10-28-08

Stakeholder Responses – LINK – look who the stakeholders are – DUH!

Wind on the Wires Comments … sigh…

UMDTI Stakeholder Letter 12-31-08 (Ed Garvey – MISO)

Dec 30 Draft – Cost Allocation Work Group (Marya White – Commerce)

December 30 Draft – Transmission Planning Work Group (Randy Pilo – PSC-WI)

Wind on the Wires cites many studies:

MISO’s Regional Generation Outlet Study (RGOS)

Transmission planning initiatives by” CapX 2020, ATC, Mid-American and others”

Minnesota RES transmission study

MISO’s MTEP-08 and MTEP-09

Joint Coordinated System Planning Stuey

Eastern Wind Integration Transmission Study

None of these studies are linked — and they’re not on the UMTDI site — let’s see how long it takes to find them.

CapX 2020 – they’re HERE

See also the Certificate of Need Appendix A

ATC 10 Year Plan (2008)


Now for the more difficult ones… one moment please…

Joint Coordinated System Plan

February 12th, 2009


With all these transmission proposals from hell announced, I think we’ve got to take a step backwards, and go through JCSP, the source of an insane “plan” for transmission across the U.S.  JCSP is “Joint Coordinated System Plan,” which is MISO, PJM, SPP, TVA, and MAPP, getting together and fantacizing about transmission.   This has nothing to do with need, with whether there’s a market, with whether it’s in the public interest, it’s what they want.

The NYT “Green Blog” had a post about this a couple of days ago that got this completely wrong, as you can see from the headline:

An Ambitious Vision for Upscaling Wind Transmission


Here’s a NYT “Green Blog” snippet with a look into the JCSP’smotivation (click for the whole thing):

The Joint Coordinated System Plan, as it is called, has been in development for months, according to the Midwest Independent System Operator, which is steering the project — and the full report will not be ready until the fall. But details of the plan were revealed on Monday in order to coincide with debate over the stimulus bill.

Yes, the stimulus bill.  There’s a lot of money in that stimulus bill for transmission, and there’s NO money in the market for building transmission, or anything for that matter — remember, CapX 2020 was hustling Lehman Bros. for money, so it’s possible CapX won’t be built anytime soon.  There they go to the government trough…

JCSP has it’s own site, just a contact form, with no contact information on it whatsoever, other than links to “the participants.”

Joint Coordinated System Plan Site

Here’s their “plan” for transmission across the US:


JCSP Report – Executive Summary

So let’s see, we’ve got CapX 2020, MISO’s MTEP, the JCSP dream/nightmare plan, the Green Power Express… and they keep trying to couch their market dreams into wind, needed for RES.  Can’t beople do a little background checking before they jump on this bandwagon?  Can’t they do their due diligence like NYISO and ISO-NE?

Feb 4 2009 NYISO & ISO-NE Letter to JCSP

DUH!  There’s no market.  This is such arrogance on the part of MISO…