The ALJ’s recommendation has come out in the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project docket and he’s recommended that a permit be issued.  Really…

This is the judge who tossed out my client, Public Intervenors – Mesaba, Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power because we didn’t file testimony.  Show me in the rules where filing testimony is required…


Read it for yourself:

ALJ Report 12-28-09

I’m at a loss about what to say…


That’s the PATH path…

They’re withdrawing their application, saying they want them timed together — if so, why withdraw, and not just ask for suspension? “It keeps the blood flowing” they say, but I’d say it keeps the blood boiling. Why not just admit it — it’s not needed, and there’s no way they can prove, and now they tacitly admit they can’t even CLAIM it’s needed.

PATH’s site

A decent article from the Leesburg Journal:

PATH Seeks To Withdraw, Suspend Richmond Hearings

By Margaret Morton
(Created: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 7:48 PM EST)

Representatives of PATH-VA filed several motions Monday with the Virginia State Corporation Commission aimed at scuttling-for now-its application to construct the Virginia portion of an almost 280-mile 765kV transmission line that is designed to bring power from West Virginia to Maryland. The venture is a joint partnership between Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power.

First, PATH filed a motion to withdraw its application to build the line in Virginia. Simultaneously, the company sought to suspend the evidentiary hearing that is slated to begin Jan. 19 in Richmond, pending a decision on the motion to withdraw the application.

PATH attorneys indicated the company intends to re-file an application to the SCC next year, based on the most up to date electrical load information available. Those forecasts are scheduled to be released in May.

At the same time, through Allegheny affiliate Potomac Edison Company, the company filed a new application with the Maryland Public Service Commission to build the line and the Kemptown substation in that state. The commission in September had denied the application on grounds PATH did not qualify as an electrical company under Maryland law.

In a statement issued Monday, PATH representative Mark Nitowski said the filings were intended to “align the procedural schedules in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia to enable “regulators to consider the need for the project based on the same facts.”

Under the current schedule, the Virginia hearings would conclude before similar hearings are held in either Maryland or West Virginia, PATH attorneys said, claiming it would be better for regulators to consider the arguments at the same time.

The date of the Richmond hearings was set in July, and opponents of the line, who next month plan to challenge the company claims that the project is essential to address growing demand for power, expressed frustration over what they saw were simply delaying tactics by PATH to gain time in order to build a more convincing case for need of the 765kV line.

The filings were in line with what PATH attorney Richard Gary, of the Hunton & Williams law firm in Richmond, indicated the company would do during a public hearing last month in Lovettsville.

Attorney John Flannery, who represents the residents of the Rivers Edge subdivision near Lovettsville, had predicted that PATH would invoke procedural gambits to buy the time the company needed to prove need. Although PATH requested more time, both in November and again on Monday, to make its case, it has not explained why its original applications to all three states could not meet the required standard.

SCC Hearing Examiner Alexander Skirpan, who presided over a public hearing in Lovettsville last month, has not ruled on the PATH motion to withdraw. But, he did deny the company’s motion to suspend the January hearings.

The claim that the PATH line is needed to address power capacity shortfalls is at the crux of the struggle and the legal maneuvers come at a time when national electrical statistics show power usage is flat or declining, in part because of increased conservation methods by users and in part because of the economy.

Dominion Virginia Power recently announced it would scale back a line upgrade in southern Loudoun based on new demand forecasts. The company had planned to upgrade from 115kV to 230kV its line between Arcola and Middleburg. Now that upgrade will only extend to a new substation at New Road east of Rt. 15.

The line serves both NOVEC and Dominion customers, but, citing a growth of only 13 percent in its service area, but a 71 percent growth in the NOVEC area, Dominion said it would concentrate its efforts on the four-mile section from Arcola to New Road. The company cited different types of customers and energy conservation measures as factors in its decision.

And need is what Lovettsville-area residents say PATH can’t prove. SCC expert witnesses in the energy field also testified that the company had not met the proof of need test, with one arguing the company had relied on outdated modeling and flawed assumptions.

Alfred Ghiorzi, who has been a prominent figure in the fight against the line, said Tuesday, “I think they’re trying to game the situation again. They can’t prove need, that seems obvious.”

While PATH attorneys said they did not wish to delay the applications unnecessarily, Flannery noted Skirpan has already allowed PATH two extensions of time for rebuttal-from Dec. 22, to Dec. 31 and now to Jan. 4. Flannery said his concern is that a scheduled oral argument set for Dec. 30 would be a “set up” that would provide PATH the opportunity to compress the schedule to favor the company, extending its deadline to file proof of need while reducing the time citizen-intervenors have to examine the PATH testimony.

“PATH’s intention is not to exhaust its remedies, it is to exhaust us and our resources,” Flannery said to property owners.

Ghiorzi took a more philosophical view. “We’ll have to start all over again. It keeps the blood flowing,” he said of the project’s twists and turns.

… it’s way too subversive!

Let it snow… squeals of delight, lots of fun happening…

… and then…

jeeeeez, get a life…

Let Mesaba go…

December 19th, 2009


Jorgensen’s got to get over it — Mesaba is done, ain’t happening, dead, dead dead, yet she’s spinning those tales and hype about Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba IGCC Project.  From the first words in the title, it’s lies, lies and more lies, oh, and misrepresentations and falsehoods and exaggerations and utter bullshit too!  Why does the St. Paul Pioneer Press give her space forthis advertising of the nonsensical kind?

Here’s what Citizens Against the Mesaba Projet’s Charlotte Neigh had to say about it:

Julie Jorgensen is using the opportune hook of the Copenhagen conference to repeat Excelsior Energy’s same old, self-serving promotional claims about the “clean coal” technology of its Mesaba Energy Project. One must wonder why the Press unquestioningly allots opinion space to the promoter of a precarious for-profit venture, financed almost exclusively by $40 million in public funds, which have been benefiting the author and her co-founder husband, Tom Micheletti.

What Jorgensen didn’t say:

• The U.N. negotiators in Copenhagen decided to leave carbon capture and storage, the prime objective of the IGCC technology touted by Excelsior Energy, off the list of clean-energy projects eligible for the Clean Development Mechanism; the 12/17/09 Wall Street Journal reported that “clean coal seems to be getting the cold shoulder at the climate summit”, and  “. . .  clean coal is anything but viable right now”.

• Mesaba’s Unit I would emit 5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year and the Department of Energy has acknowledged that capturing and sequestering the CO2 from the proposed Taconite plant is not feasible.

• The claimed economic benefit has been rejected by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which found the project too expensive and risky and not in the public interest.

• The need for this Project has never been proven; no utility is willing to buy its output; Xcel Energy successfully resisted efforts to force it into a power purchase agreement; and the MPUC has declined to require other utilities in the state to include Mesaba’s output in their resource plans.

• The environmental claims are yet to be adjudicated as the MPUC considers the route and siting permits and other government agencies pursue their concerns related to air, water and waste permits.

Is Jorgensen’s piece really that bad?  See for yourself:

Julie Jorgensen: We need baseload power. Coal’s plentiful. Let’s clean it up

By Julie Jorgensen
Updated: 12/17/2009 05:54:25 PM CST

As heads of government gather in my ancestral home of Denmark, the world considers its energy options.

The challenge for Copenhagen is that commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions are at odds with the plans of developing nations to rely on inexpensive fossil energy to fuel economic growth and improve their standard of living. Developed nations, meanwhile, fear that mandated greenhouse gas reductions will tax economic recovery and prolong global recession. Diplomacy is the art of the achievable, and these realities will be balanced against concerns about the effect of man-made carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases on Earth’s climate.

On the home front, there are plenty of competing concerns to consider as we address our energy needs. But there are two things our local energy experts agree on: Minnesota has an impending need for more baseload power, and renewables can’t do the job alone.

For baseload — that is, the steady supply of electricity for everything from factories to home outlets — Minnesotans must take a long, hard look at the most abundant resource in our own backyard: coal. Not old-fashioned, dirty, polluting coal, but coal used to fuel a new technology called IGCC, which stands for Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle. In addition to producing clean, affordable energy, such plants would allow us to transform America’s 250-year supply of coal into ultra-clean fuels like synthetic natural gas, transportation fuels, and hydrogen.

I’m the co-founder of Excelsior Energy, which is developing the Mesaba Energy Project, an IGCC power plant near the town of Taconite on Minnesota’s Iron Range. From my point of view, IGCC offers economic and environmental benefits to Minnesota. The Midwest is poised be a leader in the delivery of this technology. Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Minnesota Legislature have supported the development of Minnesota’s IGCC plant, the Mesaba Energy Project, since 2003, and the project has been exempted from a statewide prohibition against new coal plants. Eleven Midwest governors established a collective goal to spur construction of at least five commercial-scale IGCC plants by 2015, and President Obama announced a goal to build five such “first-of-a-kind” clean coal plants. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has provided significant funding and incentives to the Mesaba Project to offset the costs of needed innovation.

Adoption of IGCC technology is essential to cleaning up coal and mitigating climate change.

IGCC plants use less water, use less land, create less waste, and emit two-thirds less air pollution than the cleanest of the traditional coal plants that currently deliver most of our electricity. In addition, IGCC plants clean a volume of gas that is a mere 1/100th of the stream pouring out of the smokestacks at the Sherco coal plant in Becker and the Boswell coal plant in Cohasset. This makes it easier and cheaper to prevent the release of carbon dioxide, which is essential in the face of potential climate change regulation.

As fears mount about global warming, environmental advocates like the Clean Air Task Force and the Natural Resources Defense Council support the timely and widespread commercialization of IGCC technology. From a global perspective, the importance of commercializing a cleaner way to use coal cannot be understated: both India and China have vast coal reserves, which they will inevitably use in the cheapest and easiest possible ways to fuel their growing economies.

Nuclear power faces major obstacles. Plans for a federal nuclear waste repository have been scrapped. The Obama Administration stopped the DOE’s development of the Yucca Mountain repository, originally slated to begin accepting waste in 1998, without providing an alternative storage plan. As a result, we will store nuclear waste on the banks of the Mississippi River for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, the costs of new nuclear facilities may put them out of reach.

Even if the Legislature lifts Minnesota’s ban on new nuclear plants, it will be at least 20 years before a new plant could be licensed and built in Minnesota, given the long and costly lead-times. Simply put, new nuclear capacity cannot meet our current needs.

While the eyes of the world are on Copenhagen, it’s appropriate for Minnesotans to ponder our own impending energy crisis. Since renewables and conservation can’t meet all of our new energy needs, we must make some difficult choices that ultimately will involve coal-fired, natural gas-fired, and nuclear energy sources. Marrying new IGCC technology with the abundance of U.S. coal makes clean coal the most rational choice for our state.

Julie Jorgensen is the former CEO of CogenAmerica, a publicly traded independent power company, and a former executive of NRG Energy, a global energy development company. She’s a co-founder of Excelsior Energy Inc., which is developing a coal gasification plant near Taconite on Minnesota’s Iron Range. Her e-mail address is



From ECM article…

On Monday, citizens of Lent Township organized a Special Meeting, as allowed under statute, and told the Town Board what they thought of LS Power’s Sunrise River Energy Station.  The hands raised you see in the photo is the vote telling the board that they should not approve a development agreement with LS Power.

The people say NO, but the township, the following day, went ahead and approved the Development Agreement:

Power Plant Gets Township Approval

And a view from the trenches:

We the PEOPLE – found in the Fish Lake Karpa

And here’s the report from the Post Review:

Citizens’ vote was to nix power plant

By MaryHelen Swanson

There were a few empty chairs, but if those standing at the back of the room had all wanted to sit, the attendance would still be considered “standing room only.”

lent meeting1.jpgThat was the scene at Lent Town Hall Monday night as a special citizen-petitioned meeting got underway.

The folks were divided by Lent residency and non-residency.

There were separate sign-in sheets and designated seating areas.

Called to order by Lent Township Clerk Laura LeVasseur, it soon became the people’s meeting when they elected Mark Koran moderator.

First order of business was the Pledge of Allegiance.

With the agenda adopted, resident Dave Milles introduced a resolution which was adopted by the people with no audible nays.

Milles went on to read the resolution.

It noted three things that were expected to happen that night:
• openly and publicly review and discuss the final draft of the development agreement by and among Lent Township and Sunrise River Energy, LLC (also known as LS Power) prior to any official vote of the Lent Township board to approve and/or sign the development agreement;

• to present and vote on a resolution requiring a public referendum on the question of approval or disapproval of any development agreement by the township and energy group prior to any official vote of the Lent township board to approve and/or sign the development agreement;

• and to present and vote on a resolution requiring Lent Township board to comply with the results of the referendum when taking any action or vote to approve and or sign the development agreement.

All of the above was accomplished Monday night.
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