But wait… it’s already here!

Just in from Bob Cupit, from the Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative:

UMTDI Summary Report

Here’s the initial idea:

The RGOS first-mover subset located within the UMTDI states’ footprint is:

• Big Stone, SD to Brookings, SD 345kV – estimated cost of $150 million.
• Brookings, SD to Twin Cities, MN 345kV – estimated cost of $700 million.
• Lakefield Junction, MN to Mitchell County, IA operated at 345kV but constructed at 765kV specifications to allow full upgrading and operation at 765kV in the future – estimated cost of $600 million.
• North La Crosse, WI to North Madison, WI and Dubuque, IA to Spring Green, WI to Cardinal, WI 345kV – estimated cost of $811 million.
• Sheldon, IA to Webster, IA to Hazleton, IA 345kV – estimated cost of $458 million.

In addition to the proposed transmission projects above, the Midwest ISO’s Midwest Transmission Expansion Plan (MTEP) for 2011 identifies the following transmission project as an initial candidate for regional cost sharing because of its regional benefits.
• Ellendale, ND to Big Stone, SD 345 kV – estimated cost of $275 million.

OK, folks, do any of these lines look familiar?  Why is the CapX 2020 Brookings SD to Twin Cities MN 345kV line on this list?  Why is the CapX/ATC North LaCrosse, WI to North Madison, WI on this list?  Hmmmmmmmmmm…yet they say this:

Although UMTDI actively engaged in the identification of possible renewable resource areas and potential transmission corridors, this should not be taken as expression of support for particular routes, particular projects, particular voltages, or appropriate levels of spending in any state proceeding. Those decisions remain for a future day, when specific projects might be proposed. However, the Executive Committee sees great value in affirming its support for coordinated state efforts on these multi-state projects, and its general support for these corridors, which appear to have value in all identified reasonable futures.

Um… hello, they’re listing specific proposed projects.

Of course it’s all connected, how stupid do they think we are?  Well, pretty damn stupid, look what they’re recommending, cost-sharing to shift the cost across MISO:

A key, unresolved issue for construction of projects of this magnitude is cost sharing. The criteria in the Midwest ISO’s recent tariff filing at FERC, as well as other activities ongoing at the Midwest ISO, indicate that these first-mover projects would likely all qualify for cost allocation treatment. This designation would mean that all energy users in the Midwest ISO’s footprint would share the costs of these “no regrets” lines. FERC has not approved this rate treatment, however, and it is likely that FERC will receive a number of comments and objections to the Midwest ISO’s tariff proposal. While the UMTDI Executive Committee has not taken a position on the Midwest ISO’s cost allocation filing, it is safe to say that the absence of cost sharing would make construction of EHV transmission lines in these corridors very difficult.

And PJM too:

The total cost for these first-mover lines is approximately $5.8 billion with $1.4 billion being funded by customers in PJM, the Midwest ISO’s neighboring independent system operator to the east.

And because they know this isn’t needed or wanted, they’re frantically trying to find a way to circumvent state authority — how about a multi-state regulatory body to site transmission… or direction to the states from FERC to act:

States Together

Interstate Compacts At the highest levels, all five states have the power to create a compact, with the consent of Congress, to establish a common agreement on how to develop the UMTDI Project. Minnesota and Wisconsin provide specific powers to their respective governors to enter compacts involving transmission lines. Congress has specifically contemplated the compact mechanism by authorizing three or more states to form a compact, subject to Congressional approval to “facilitate siting of future electric energy transmission facilities.” Sec. 216(i) of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. § 824p. Another FPA provision, little used § 209, authorizes the FERC to delegate any subject matter in its jurisdiction to a group of states, offering another potential avenue of federal approval for joint state action on transmission siting and cost allocation.

…”little used § 209″… how perverted can we get?  Perhaps there’s a reason why a state PUC would be reluctant to permit projects like this?!?!?!?

Our new BLOB!

September 30th, 2010


Alan noticed that I haven’t posted photos of our new grrrrrrrl.   Can that be?  We got her just over a month ago, and she’s not at all what I expected, we weren’t looking for a dog, and I was glad to only have one, and an easy one at that.    Kady is just the best doggy around.  But when I took a dog down to Dog Days of Stockholm, well, there she was, head on my shoulder the whole way and how could I bring a dog like that back to the shelter?  Sadie, that’s her name from the shelter, and with Kady it gets confusing.   She’s small, mostly black/chocolate lab, just 50 lbs, and 50 lbs of solid muscle.  At 10 months now, won’t get much bigger.


She eats everything, but especially toilet paper, full rolls, and electrical cords plugged in, shoes, and one of the couches, and has helped us pull up the “Kenya” rug in the living and dining room.  Oh, and she ate a library book.  Not good.  Other than that, she is a delight, and keeps us hopping.

Here are a couple from my phone, sitting on the “poop deck” at my office door,  and in the office, they don’t convey her spirit at all…  More to follow — I got a new camera after having lost the other one I’ve had for so long… though it might be in the boat, or Washington, or left at the PUC or some meeting or other…



She’s “the BLOB” based on the extensive previous and extensive older shep with new lab mix experiences of our dear friend Sierra on Doggyspace!

Northfield flood and clean-up

September 26th, 2010

Hot off the press… er… just in on the wire… errrr, wireless! has a great overview!

Cannon River flood news roundups and updates

And the missive hot off the press?

Cleanup is ongoing in Northfield today

Looking Forward: Volunteers Needed!
If you are willing to be called on to help with the clean up effort in the next 2 to 4 weeks, please register to help at . You will be contacted to help out as needed.

Griff Wigley’s phenomenal album of flood photos here

Check this out, I’ve not seen this before in any of the million photos of flood sandbagging, look at this utterly brilliant ladder and cone sandbag technique– only in Northfield (photos stolen from Griff – Fair Use and Full Attribution!!!):



BOOM! at Xcel’s Black Dog plant

September 22nd, 2010

An “ignition event” in the coal hopper, more commonly called an explosion and fire… Three firefighters on the scene were injured when it blew after they arrived.

This’ll be old news, but I’ve been incommunicado for a while, lost in the mountains of the Northwest, where there is no cell, no internet… what a concept!


Photo by Bill Klotz, Finance & Commerce (Fair Use!)

An interesting quote:

“I would say it’s pretty significant,” said Behnken, gesturing toward the Black Dog plant from a nearby park. Though reporters were not allowed closer access to the plant, it was apparent from a distance that the explosion’s force far exceeded initial references to it as a small explosion in a coal bin.

Here’s some video from KARE 11 with shots of the exterior damage:

In the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

3 firefighters hurt in blast at Xcel Energy coal plant in Burnsville

Workers noticed smoldering coal bin

By Emily Cutts and Deepta Holalkere
Pioneer Press
Updated: 09/21/2010 11:47:43 PM CDT

Three Burnsville firefighters were injured Tuesday morning at a power plant fire and explosion that shook local residents out of bed.

The fire started in a smoldering coal bin at Xcel Energy’s Black Dog power plant in Burnsville, the company said. As fire crews tried to extinguish the flames, a blast in the bin rocked the plant.

Two of the firefighters were treated at the scene for minor burns and returned to fighting the fire. A third was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with a leg injury, said Burnsville police Sgt. Jef Behnken.

“I heard a boom and then a bigger boom,” said Nancy Caneff, who lives nearby. Caneff was in bed when the blasts — the second strong enough to shake her bed — happened.

Firefighters put out two relatively small fires at the plant by 2 p.m. Tuesday but remained on site through the afternoon to handle hot spots, Xcel spokesman Tom Hoen said.
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On vacation!

September 18th, 2010

Long deserved…