AWA Goodhue appeal refiled

December 13th, 2011


The T. Boone Pickens’ AWA Goodhue Wind Project proposed for Goodhue County is headed to the Appellate Court… again.

Goodhue Wind Truth – Appeal II

Coalition for Sensible Siting – Appeal II

Here we go!!!

Why again???  Ask the PUC — they sent around a bogus memorandum pushing to appeal in September, we did, and said, “Hey, Appellate Court, look what they’re saying, can you believe it?” and the Appellate Court said, “PUC, what ever do you think you’re doing?  APA rules do not pre-empt your own rules about appeal, DUH!”

PUC Memorandum saying FILE APPEAL NOW OR ELSE!

Appellate Court Order to Dismiss – November 1, 2011

They’re worth a read to see how convoluted and brazen the PUC’s push was.  The Court agreed with us and said the PUC was so egregious that hey, don’t worry about it, when you refile at the appropriate time, NO CHARGE!!!  As it should be.


Here it is, MTEP 11, the Midwest Transmission Expansion Plan for 2011 (CLICK HERE, look on lower right), and it’s in the news too.  The main report and some appendices:

MTEP 11 – Draft Report

MTEP Appendices A B & C

MTEP 11 Appendix A-1_2_3 – Cost Allocation

Page listing all the Appendices

MTEP Appendix e52 Detailed Proposed MVP Portfolio Business Case

Please take note that this includes not only the CapX 2020 Brookings-Hampton line (#2 on map), but also the LaCrosse-Madison line (#5 on map), the one they need to build or they’ve got a lot of system instability goin’ on.


From my perspective, the most important thing to be aware of is that MTEP 11, and the MTEPs that preceded it, are about the shift to economic dispatch and development of the electric market.  At the outset, MISO studied potential benefits of this shift, and found massive economic benefits, of which they speak in their press release.  The economic benefits are realized by optimizing use of lower production cost generation, and in their own words, to “displace natural gas with coal.”  Don’t believe it?  Read this study that ICF did for MISO:

ICF – Midwest ISO Benefits Analysis

This is the worst possible result for those of us who breathe, and means that tens of thousands of landowners will have very high voltage transmission lines on their land, taken from them by eminent domain.  These projects, almost all of the MTEP projects, are not about electric reliability, they’re “need” is to deliver market transactions of electric generation from any “point A” to any “point B,” and this is a private interest, a desire for market profits, and not a public interest.

Another issue looming is “what does MISO ‘approval’ mean?”  Transmission lines are regulated by states, individually, and there is a movement to strip states of their regulatory authority and transfer that to federal entities.  Look no further than Obama’s transmission “fast track” proposal, naming one of the CapX 2020 projects!  States must make their energy regulatory decisions in an open, transparent process and based their decisions on ratepayer and public interest.  That focus is not present in federal top-down edicts.  States’ rights are at issue and we need to keep on our toes so this power shift doesn’t slide through.

And it’s not “just” the ICF report above, that’s it’s all about coal is clear from prior press.  Here’s an important sentence, quoting GRE’s spin-guy Randy Fordice — explaining what we all know, that the MISO effort to get the “benefits” of displacing natural gas with coal:

They now consider the line to be a multi-value project since system reliability- and service to existing substations and existing fossil fuel plants- are also benefited, he said.

Coal with benefits, yesiree…  Gotta hand it to Fordice for being honest!


Black Dog Plant – photo by Rick Orndorf.

Xcel Energy is cancelling some of its projects, choosing to shut down Black Dog coal plant rather than spent the $$$, our ratepayer $$$, to convert it to gas; pulling out of the Prairie Island uprate (though on this one it’s hard to tell if it’s economics or technical difficulties):

The Minneapolis-based utility said that its latest forecasts show demand for electricity in 2016 will be 5 percent less than previously forecast, according to Laura McCarten, regional vice president for Northern States Power Minnesota, the Xcel unit covering the Upper Midwest.

The Black Dog project would have more than doubled the plant’s output from 253 megawatts to 700 megawatts and reduced harmful emissions. Xcel also will reassess its plans to increase the power output at its Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant near Red Wing, Minn., and hold off on any new wind projects, the utility said.

From this, found in St.PPP (keep in mind that “would have more than doubled the plant’s output” is coal v. gas peaking power:

Xcel puts off power plant upgrades

And also this choice tidbit:

Xcel also has discovered that uprating a nuclear power plant is harder than it looks after running into snags on a similar project at its Monticello Nuclear Power Plant this year.

For the  financial-wonkishettes out there:

Xcel’s 3Q 2011 10-Q (you’re welcome)

Seeking Alpha:

Xcel Energy CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results-Earnings Call Transcript

Note that Xcel Energy’s expected residential demand is 0.5-1.0% increase…

Delivering On The Plan – Theresa Madden

For the December 1, 2011 Xcel Energy’s Investors Dog & Ponies GO HERE!

Back to coal plants… Xcel Energy’s Sherco 3 down, to remain down, after a fire:

Becker’s Sherco plant unit to be silent till spring

And Xcel’s Black Dog blew up a while ago… what’s up with that trend?

BOOM! at Xcel’s Black Dog plant

September 22nd, 2010

…so let me see… they admit that demand is way down, that there’s too much generation… and we need CapX 2020 exactly why???

And consider that the Sherco plant and Black Dog plant are problem puppies in their pack — a direct quote from the 10-Q above:

NSP-Minnesota NOV — In June 2011, NSP-Minnesota received an NOV from the EPA alleging violations of the NSR requirements of the CAA at the Sherco plant and Black Dog plant in Minnesota. The NOV specifically alleges that various maintenance, repair and replacement projects undertaken at the plants in the mid 2000s should have required a permit under the NSR process. NSP-Minnesota believes it has acted in full compliance with the CAA and NSR process. NSP-Minnesota also believes that the projects identified in the NOV fit within the routine maintenance, repair and replacement exemption contained within the NSR regulations or are otherwise not subject to the NSR requirements. NSP-Minnesota disagrees with the assertions contained in the NOV and intends to vigorously defend its position. It is not known whether any costs would be incurred as a result of this notice.