Hot off the press in today’s EQB Monitor:

Xcel Energy/ City of Northfield AUAR

Location: Northfield, Dakota County
Process: Alternative urban areawide review (AUAR)
Step: Draft order of review
End of comment period: March 2, 2023

Project description: Xcel Energy and the City of Northfield are partnering to conduct an Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR) for an approximately 787-acre area in the northwestern portion of the City of Northfield. Portions of the AUAR area include land within Greenvale Township. Two development scenarios will be evaluated as part of the AUAR which primarily consist of technology center and industrial park uses. Additional steps are required to initiate the AUAR process for certain large projects, which include a public comment period on the scope of the AUAR. This Scoping Document is available for review and comment as part of the AUAR process in accordance with Minnesota Rules, part 4410.3610, subpart 5a.

Link to public documents: Excel Energy / City of Northfield draft order of review
Location of public documents: Northfield City Hall, 801 Washington Street, Northfield, MN 55057

Responsible governmental unit and contact: City of Northfield, Mikayla Schmidt,

Note to reviewers: Comments must be submitted to the RGU during the 30-day comment period following notice of the EAW in the EQB Monitor. Comments should address the accuracy and completeness of information, potential impacts that warrant further investigation and the need for an EIS.

Interestingly enough, a notice just came over the wire, TWO DATA CENTER DOCKETS — removed from the February 9, 2023 PUC Agenda — dockest E002/M-22-572 and E002/M-22-579. Any relation?

You can send a missive to the U.S. Postal Commission AT THIS LINK.

Here’s what I sent:

  • 1) PLEASE fire DeJoy. The lawsuit to rollback changes back a few years ago wasn’t enough. We need firm change in direction of USPS.
  • 2) Needed now, wage increase, serious recruitment, and establishment of a float pool to cover staff shortages. This is a management problem going to the very top. For months, we did not get mail, or very sporadically, like once, and maybe twice a week. Now we’re getting mail at least a few times weekly. This is not acceptable service from USPS.

You have to read it to believe it — scathing, and so long overdue. Short version?

Lava Ridge EIS is out!

January 18th, 2023

Alternatives map

The Environmental Impact Statement for the Lava Ridge wind project, proposed by Magic Valley Wind, is now available — get it here:

BLM page for Lava Ridge

Magic Valley’s map for proposed project footprint

I’d first learned about this when we were on the way from Craters of the Moon National Monument

… to our next stop, which took us through Jerome, Idaho, and to the Minidoka National Historic Site.

That’s a “new” historical site, where a Japanese internment camp was located. And as we were learning about it online between the two sites, the Lava Ridge wind project popped up — turns out that the wind project as proposed would be adjacent to the historical site! Check the first map above, hunt for “Hunt” Idaho, and here’s Minidoka in relation to “Hunt.”

And from there, Friends of Minidoka popped up, and their advocacy to protect the site, so we’d learned some before we got there:

Friends of Minidoka has an excellent “Comments” page — written suggestions for EFFECTIVE and SUBSTANTIVE comments, and scroll down for a youtube (see also National Trust for Historic Preservation Action campaign), as does the linked BLM pate. From that Friends of Minidoka page:

How to Submit Effective Comments

Effective comments will produce actionable items for BLM. How to Write Substantive Comments provides tips and examples. As per Kasey Prestwich of the BLM, it is important to:

* Focus your comments on the proposed project and what is being analyzed.

* *Describe the significance of the potential impacts and how they affect you, others, places, and activities.

* Provide any new information that is relevant to the project (e.g., potential affected resources).

* Discuss modifications to existing alternatives or suggest other reasonable alternatives with justification.

* Provide detailed information and references to back up your comment.

If your comment includes a statement that describes your opposition or support for the project, ensure you describe specific elements of the project or specific potential impacts that are influencing your position. Position statements must include enough information to help the BLM inform reasonable changes to the alternatives or revisions to the assessment of potential impacts. Avoid comments like “I don’t like this” or “I do like this.”

Identical comments are treated as one comment, including form letters.

Get to work on comments!

For decades now, I’ve been arguing that transmission isn’t “needed,” it’s wanted, and we’ve got so much in the way of transmission “incentives” that it’s hard to believe transmission lines are being approved. Updates, yes, most of the electrical grid was built and nothing since, and there’s so many reasons, so many millions of dollars of reasons, to underground transmission and distribution lines. Climate change extreme weather that’s downing lines makes this a priority, and then there’s substation domestic terrorism — it’s no longer the squirrels taking out substations!

Squirrel causes brief power outage for 9,500 customers in Minneapolis

But this — this is what the building push, infrastructure and more infrastructure, is all about — EXCESS CAPACITY! It’s not about “need” for more electricity, or building it at or near load so the system isn’t vulnerable to storms and/or domestic terrorists of any sort. It’s about SELLING EXCESS CAPACITY!

Xcel’s 2022 3Q SEC Filing

Next time you hear a utility “NEEDS” transmission, do remember this, and remind them that you know it’s not about need, it’s about facilitating marketing and bulk power sales.


In Grist today: Transmission Lies

February 3rd, 2009