Boyd puts out nuclear welcome mat

December 22nd, 2011

AAAAARGH, there goes PUC Commissioner (former chair) David Boyd putting out the welcome mat for nuclear power, nuclear plants and nuclear waste.  This we DON’T need…

And note that he’s claiming that the hurdles are “costs” and “public perceptions.”  Ummmm… where’s safety?  Minnesota is home to a Fukushima Dai-ichi GE nuclear reactor,  located in Monticello, north, upriver and upwind from the metro.


Safety, anyone?  But then, I’ve been to the Appellate Court about the responsibility of the PUC for assuring that the utilities provide “safe” electricity, and we were tossed out.   Power Line Task Force v. Public Utilities Commission


Addressing Nuclear Challenges


Published In: EnergyBiz Magazine November / December 2011

David Boyd

THE FUTURE OF THE U.S. ELECTRICITY PORTFOLIO is a complex matter that asks the industry to find a path forward that acceptably balances many different factors. Once one acknowledges that every generating technology carries physical, financial and environmental risks, the conversation can begin in an intellectually honest manner. In the case of the nuclear industry, the issues frequently discussed are the costs of new construction, safety and fuel management.

Why would a utility consider nuclear power when public opinion on the risks and rewards appears to swing more significantly than it does for other technologies? A response requires taking stock of the broader situation as it stands today, and then focusing on the nuclear industry specifically.

We are entering a period where utilities will retool their generation fleets for the next 40 or more years. Construction will need to be phased over time, and the optimum portfolio could change with the passage of time. Policy drivers of this build-out include electricity that is reasonably priced, increasingly low carbon and as clean as possible, together with North American Electric Reliability Corp. and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission mandates for reliability. In addition, the evolving domestic gas supply, economics and the anticipated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates dictate that coal use will be reduced in the near term. Some argue that this translates into a natural-gas dominated electricity sector. While I accept a movement to natural gas in the near term, that fuel will not yield the complete decarbonization of the electricity sector necessary to meet, for example, the goal to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, as per a Minnesota statute, among other state and federal guidelines. While we have made significant progress with wind and other renewables that support the greenhouse gas targets, questions remain regarding the cost and reliability of integrating very large quantities of renewable energy into the grid.

So is there is a place for new nuclear in our generation fleet? Advocates suggest that the answer is yes, with careful consideration of specific issues. Aside from hydro, nuclear plants are the only low- or no-carbon baseload option of significant scale for many states. Nuclear is also a part of a balanced generation portfolio that is prized by many – but at what cost, at what scale and under what circumstances? If the goal is to maintain the present 20 percent of electricity generation from nuclear, we will need to replace 40 reactors whose operating licenses expire by 2030.

There are a number of hurdles that remain for expansion of nuclear power in the United States. Chief among these is the capital cost of construction. Despite projections that the levelized cost of electricity from newly constructed plants will be competitive with other generating technologies, the project costs are so high that most utilities would be betting their futures by pursuing a new reactor. In addition, the first movers would need to develop new institutional knowledge and confront the preparedness of our domestic workforce. This could add significant costs, even though the effect would benefit those who might follow. Although the federal government has authorized loan guarantees to help overcome these barriers, they are significant issues that limit early movers in the industry.

Secondly, the federal obligation to take possession of spent fuel and place it in a repository, as dictated by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and standing contracts with the utilities, has not been fulfilled, and this inaction adds to uncertainty. The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has proposed policy actions to address this issue. Even with swift acceptance of the commission recommendations, it may be 12 years before any spent fuel begins to move from present storage sites. Furthermore, there remain matters of active litigation over the suspension of licensing activities for Yucca Mountain, and disputes over the Nuclear Waste Fund fees.

AWA Goodhue helicopter & eagle

December 17th, 2011

T. Boone Pickens a/k/a Mesa Power a/k/a AWA Goodhue’s helicopter and and an eagle captured on video.  This is the N144BH helicopter, which, upon information and belief, is owned by “Brainerd Helicopter Service.


What on earth do they think they’re doing? Check the video and see for yourself:

Scott Logan caught this on video, way to go!

Complaints — a few things you can do, I’d recommend all of them:
1) Contact the Sheriff, either 911 or (651)385-3155
2) There’s a complaint procedure established by the PUC

PUC Complaint Process

Essentially, BOTH email a complaint to
and mail to:

AWA Goodhue, LLC
706 2nd Avenue South, Suite 1200
Minneapolis, MN 55402

3) Call the FAA’s Flight Stand District Office to make a complaint 612-713-4211 (when I clicked on the contact link, I got a different number, 612-253-4400). Here’s the “email link.

Info about how to make FAA Complaint:
FAA Low flying Aircraft Complaints

4) File on PUC’s AWA Goodhue Siting Docket – at and then to Efiling, then eFile to docket 08-1233.

Meanwhile, AWA Goodhue is alleging in its Avian and Bat Protection Plan that there IS eagle baiting going on, and have made reports to the Board of Animal Health. AVIAN AND BAT PROTECTION PLAN (see p. 10-11)

Eagle bating alleged in ongoing wind farm debate

“To make the blanket statement that this is being done to bait eagles, I’m not ready to make that statement,” Denkinger said.

That’s funny — the ABPP


T. Boone Pickens , a/k/a AWA Goodhue Wind, a/k/a Mesa Power, is at it again, and here come the helicopters!


First, let’s take a look-see at the Complaint that AWA Goodhue served on Belle Creek Township, the little township that could, and CAN, and DOES:

AWA Goodhue v. Belle Creek Township

Monday, the Township had a meeting where they were to discuss the road agreement that’s in negotiations right now.  The Township controls township roads, and AWA’s project would require a lot of road upgrading to support the very heavy trucks and cranes, meaning that the roadbed has to be made a lot deeper, meaning that corners have to be filled in so that trucks can get around the corners, culverts could easily be damaged by the weight, and this is something within the township’s jurisdiction.  And the day after the Monday meeting, AWA Goodhue serves the Town Board Chair with a Complaint!  Here’s what AWA wants:


How’s that for a punch line?!?!  So the Township shouldn’t have any say over the roads, the Township isn’t able to protect its interests?  Right… we shall see!

And as that’s happening, I started getting calls about very low flying airplanes, startling cows and horses, and residents too!  One scared a calf, which climbed over its stall and ran off — they were able to get it, and were lucky it was not injured as it climbed over.  Then today, it’s helicopters, with horses running every which way, windows rattling:


AWA Goodhue’s attorney did admit they were “their” aircraft.  We got the number, N144BH, which “upon information and belief” is owned by  “Brainerd Helicopter Service.”  AWA Goodhue’s attorney says that they’re doing avian work as specified by their (filed yesterday) Avian and Bat Protection Plan (ABPP), which states:untitled

You tell me, does this look like 200 feet?  And anyway, exactly how is this the ABPP last word on anything?


Suffice it to say, the Sheriff is on it, and they’ve called in the FAA, apparently the FAA inspector is on it too.


Seems they’ve put out a press release – the market is at it again.  The first US offshore wind project is going down due to lack of interest, no investors, the market for electricity sucks, so they’re cancelling the contract with Delmarva.  Thanks to a little gas birdie for this heads up!

From the News Journal, a series from Aaron Nathans (I’ll be he’s glad he’s not in Wisconsin anymore!):

NRG to end Bluewater contract with Delmarva

Wind project in jeopardy as NRG drops contract

Bluewater: What went wrong

Offshore wind farms still have Del. potential


December 14, 2011

NRG Drops Delaware Offshore Wind Farm Project

NRG Energy brought development of a key offshore wind project off the coast of Delaware to a screeching halt on Monday. Saying the development of a new domestic offshore industry was ridden with “monumental challenges,” the Princeton, N.J., company cited its inability to find an investment partner, a lack of federal loan guarantees, and the looming expiration of wind tax incentives as key reasons behind its decision.

NRG and lead developer of the Mid-Atlantic Wind Park off the coast of Delaware, Bluewater Wind, plan to terminate the project’s 200-MW power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Delmarva Power & Light Company (DP&L) at the end of the year.

According to David Crane, NRG’s president and CEO, NRG and Bluewater had made a “considerable financial investment in the Wind Park, but that effort cannot overcome the difficult and unfortunate realities of the current market,” he said. “We’re not giving up, but at this moment we can’t rationally justify further investment in this project without the prospect that it can move forward within a reasonable timeframe.”

Since NRG acquired Bluewater Wind in November of 2009, the company said it has made significant financial investments in development, including design and engineering studies, state and federal permitting and leasing fees, ecological assessments, and professional and consulting fees to move the Wind Park forward.

“At the time of the acquisition, the outlook for offshore wind was positive,” NRG said. “The Wind Park was in line for a Department of Energy loan guarantee, a necessary element for this capital-intensive project, and NRG Bluewater had received preferential development rights for a project off the coast of New Jersey and [had] submitted proposals for projects off the coasts of Maryland and Massachusetts.”

But a little more than two years later, the outlook for offshore wind and for the Delaware project “has changed dramatically,” the company said. “In particular, two aspects of the project critical for success have actually gone backwards: the decisions of Congress to eliminate funding for the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program applicable to offshore wind, and the failure to extend the Federal Investment and Production Tax Credits for offshore wind which expire at the end of 2012 and which have rendered the Delaware project both unfinanceable and financially untenable for the present.”

Finding an investment partner has been another difficulty. “In addition, a central element of the Wind Park’s business plan, previously communicated to public authorities in Delaware, was to find an investment partner. To date the company has been unable to find a partner, despite the attractiveness of the PPA and after having approached more than two dozen prospective investors over the course of several months,” NRG said.

The company said its next steps would be to close its Bluewater Wind development office but preserve its options by maintaining its development rights and continuing to seek development partners and equity investors. “If and when market conditions improve and the company is able to find partners, NRG will look to deploy the Wind Park and explore other viable offshore wind opportunities in the Northeast.”


Colorado’s Leslie Glustrom, hot off the Boulder campaign to oust Xcel Energy from its Boulder electrical franchise (two birds with one stone, first, Xcel is out, and second, the PSC is out too!) will be featured in a conversation about municipalization of electric utilities – where a city takes over its own energy purchases and distribution, and yes, even generation too, to the extent possible!


Municipalization in Minneapolis?
Xcel’s Minneapolis Franchise

Energy Options for Minneapolis

Boulder Colorado’s Leslie Glustrom
Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 7:30 pm

UTEC Center – Room 102B
1313 5th St. SE
Dinkytown, Mpls

Boulder, Colorado, has long gotten its electric service from Xcel Energy. Now, Boulder seems well on the way towards kicking out Xcel and setting up a publicly-owned electric utility.   Boulder voters have made the choice, and Xcel lost the municipalization referendum in which it reportedly spent over ten times as much as the “municipalization” advocates.

Boulders ratepayers decide to explore a world without Xcel or the PUC.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, has also long received its power from Xcel Energy, and the agreement between the city and Xcel expires on Dec 31, 2014. This is the time to explore options, as Boulder has done!

Leslie Glustrom, Research Director of Clean Energy Action, headquartered in Boulder, has been close to the municipalization issue in Boulder and is visiting Minnesota. Leslie is a nationally-prominent energy figure and so effective that the Colorado Public Utilities Commission has banned her from intervening in Xcel proceedings!

Come meet with Leslie and other interested citizens to learn more about possible alternatives for electrifying Minneapolis.

TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
UTEC Center – Room 102B
1313 5th St. SE
Dinkytown, Mpls