The June 25, 1998 blackout report needs to be on the interwebs available to the world.

June 25, 1998? That’s the night of the transmission fail that disconnected the Midwest from the Eastern Interconnect. That question was asked by Minnesota Power’s attorney of each and every witness, I think other than MP, but maybe MP witnesses too, in the Arrowhead transmission project hearing, circa 1999-2000. There were cries of “Hospitals will go dark without the Arrowhead project,” “We’re going to freeze in the dark in an incubator” which became “We’re going to freeze in the dark on a respirator without a job” — it was so histrionic.

The Arrowhead transmission project was project 13J of the WRAO Report, and the WIREs Report, which presented many transmission lines, but chose the Arrowhead transmission project as the “be all and end all” of transmission in the Midwest, that it would fix all the transmission problems:

The hearing went forward, 2 weeks in Minnesota, where MP got an exemption from Minnesota Power Plant siting law, and for TWO MONTHS in Wisconsin, for Round 1, then 2 weeks after the cost went way up, and another 3-5 days of hearing later when cost went up again. They got their permit, it’s up…

But in that first hearing, I did get to introduce the report that showed that the June 25, 1998, blackout was NOT caused by too little capacity, it was not caused by an unreliable transmission system. It was caused by corporate greed, transmission operators running the Prairie Island-Byron 345kV’s TCEX flow over the limit, disregarding operating guides, and disregarding requests and demands to ramp the power down, violating MAPP Operating Standards and NERC Operating Policies. SHAME, NSP, SHAME!!! And MP was so tacky, trying to attribute their desire for bulk power transfer to the blackout, that the Arrowhead project would save us. Yeah, right…

Here’s the report, below, it’s a gem, I’m posting this today because I’m shoveling off my desk and there are a lot of gems here, so posting them will get them out into the world in perpetuity — can’t disappear something from the internet! Scanning them in is taking a while, a royal and dusty pain in the patoot, but just for you inquiring minds, HERE IT IS:

Here are a couple snippets, starting with p. 2:

Bottom line?

OPERATE WITHIN OPERATING GUIDE LIMITS!!

DOH!

The report goes on and on with stupid human tricks – the flow was NOT reduced by NSP System Operators:

From pps 10-11:

So if the operators had been doing the job, not focused on keeping that line operating with all that power flowing through it, selling that power, the blackout may not have happened. Great…

And for some reason, NSP operators were not communicating:

300 MW above the operating guide limits:

OPERATE WITHIN OPERATING GUIDE LIMITS!! DOH!

Operator error is a too-generous way to put it — but for the efforts to NOT reduce power flows, the inadequate response of system operators and their failure to communicate the degree of the problem, the blackout may not have happened. And then utilities have the nerve to say that because of the June 25, 1998 blackout, we need the 13j Arrowhead transmission project?

How many years have I been saying that the purpose of this massive transmission build-out is to market coal elsewhere? Decades, folks, it’s been decades… And this latest from Xcel Energy, Notice of Comment period just out today, is demonstration that they plan to keep running those coal plants and selling it. Will the Public Utilities Commission care?

Here’s the newly released Xcel Energy plan, and a comment period:

The plan?

Here’s the Notice:

What to comment about? From the Commission’s Notice:

Bulk power transfer was the whole point of the transmission build-out, to be able to sell anything generated at any Point A to any Point B. And then coal generated here could be sold elsewhere, eastward via transmission, while we use generation that isn’t quite so dirty (but that’s dirty in its own way). We’re so clean here in Minnesota… NOT! We’ve been a pass through for Dakotas’ coal for a while, and now, they’re asking permission to keep burning coal here and send that energy eastward.

They built all that transmission, no Commission I’ve seen has ever found a transmission plan they didn’t like and roll over for, and now we’re paying for it. Rate increases anyone? Are you paying attention to what’s pushing those rates up?

Why ever would I say that it’s all about selling coal? Well… there’s a bit of a pattern going here. There was the Chisago project, starting in 1996 and three iterations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, not to mention the WRAO report:

WRAO laid out many transmission lines and the Arrowhead transmission project, circa 1999, was selected as the be all and end all of transmission after many hearings were held, one hearing in Minnesota and THREE before Wisconsin PSC, the price kept going UP, UP, UP!

But then on September 8, 2001, a meeting with likely intervenors to see if they could be convinced to “approve” of the SW Minnesota 345kV line, remember that, Commissioner Matt Schuerger? I pointed out all that coal lined up in the SW MN 345kV study… and from there on to the SW MN 345kV line, part of ABB plan for coal:

Don’t ya just love that name? It says it all. Why the ABB Lignite Vision 21 Transmission Study? The opening paragraph, linked above, DOH! says:

The SW MN 345kV line was the part that’s running east to west on the lower part of that yellow map, from Split Rock sub to Lakefield Junction. Some claimed it was an “It’s for WIND!” line, but that’s a lie, just read that ABB study again. The powerflows showed that it wasn’t to carry energy off of Buffalo Ridge, there was just 213-302 MVA coming off Buffalo Ridge into the over 2,000 MVA capacity line:

How stupid do they think we are? Well, money talked, and that money ruled the day. That SW MN 345kV line and the TRANSLink Settlement Agreement and 2005 Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell (and changes to Minn. Stat. 117.189) laid the groundwork to bring us $2+ BILLION of CapX 2020:

And then the MISO MVP 17 project portfolio, now over $6 BILLION:

And then they have the audacity to suggest we need MORE transmission?

Upper Midwest utilities to study transmission grid in light of ambitious carbon reduction goals

CapX 2050 Vision Study

So please explain how selling coal generated electricity on the MISO market is consistent with carbon reduction goals?

What a crock…

? Affordable Clean Energy Rule?

September 1st, 2018

tRump’s “Affordable Clean Energy Rule” would be quite the legacy (though he leaves so many, how to choose).

EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule page

Here are the fact sheets from that page:

Fact Sheets (these are links below!):

And the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register yesterday:

Affordable Clean Energy Rule-Federal Register-8-31-2018-18755

It’s 68 pages long, and intense.

Comments due October 30 — how to comment?  From their site:

Online: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for submitting comments to EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355.

Email: Comments may be sent to a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov. Include Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355 in the subject line of the message.

Mail: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Mail Code 28221T, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460.

Fax: Fax your comments to: (202) 566-9744. Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355.

Hand/Courier Delivery: EPA Docket Center, Room 3334, EPA WJC West Building, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

 

Center of the American Experiment is at it again, twisting obvious facts, and losing credibility in the process, well, not that they have any…  They must be getting paid big bucks to continue this distortion and disinformation campaign.  And maybe it’s just an attempt to get their name out there, as if they’re a “think” tank, and not a tank of hot air.

Your Taxes, My Friend, Are Blowing in the Wind

There are issues with wind, particularly about siting — the way projects steamroll into communities, putting up turbines too close to people who are already there — bringing the nuisance to the people where the community does not consent.  Very valid issues, particularly where wind companies, on top of that, are violating their permits.  We as a society need to address these issues now so that people are no longer steamrolled, and we need to figure out a way to deal with projects already improperly sited.  If not, well, it’s hard to imagine how any wind project could be sited going forward!

What’s  Center of the American Experiment up to?  This time, it’s about wind subsidies, and they’re again milking that bogus report for whatever they can — please read it carefully and rip it apart — it’s not worth the mb it’s printed on:

Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure

What’s wrong with their take on subsidies?  Well, they’re on a rant about taxes and pick out wind subsidies, because they want to bash wind, but they don’t address the subsidies for all other sorts of generation.  DOH!  That means that the issue isn’t subsidies, it’s wind.

Worse, they start out about Warren Buffett and tax benefits he gets from his wind projects.  Yup, that’s there.  But earth to Mars, he has a lot more invested in coal.

Warren Buffett owns BNSF which ships coal around the Midwest. BNSF is also a major Bakken BOOM! oil transporter, the impetus for the $5 billion Amtrak deal with BNSF for rail, crossing, and safety upgrades.

Warren Buffett owns the MidAmerican Energy Center, 4 coal plants, which includes the “Walter Scott, Jr. ” 790 MW coal plant — the largest in Iowa.  It cost $1.2 billion to build, and was completed in 2007, just in time to start utilizing the biggest transmission build-out in history!

Just the Facts – Walter Scott, Jr. Energy Center’s New 790 Megawatt Unit

Center of the American Experiment says about transmission that:

There are plenty of people who believe that wind turbines are cost competitive with other sources of energy, but these analyses do not include the cost of the transmission lines needed to transport wind energy (which regularly cost $2 million per mile) or the cost of running conventional power plants as backup sources of electricity in case the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Transmission is needed for all generation, none but rooftop solar is at the load. Cost of transmission is not in any PPA.  FERC requires that transmission not discriminate against or favor particular types of generation — what is there is what goes over the wires.  And whatever the generation source, cost of transmission does show up in rates. Utilities get more from capital investments, a/k/a as transmission, than from selling electricity.

And then there’s the basis for that transmission build out — to displace natural gas with coal:

ICF-Independent Assessment MISO Benefits

And “the cost of running conventional power plants as backup sources of electricity”  Natural gas peaking plants are what’s used for backup for wind, they kick in only when needed, and that’s not often.  Further, solar follows peak. Back up occurs when the variable source isn’t running, it’s not simultaneous, not duplicative, DOH!  It’s duplicitous!

As to rates: Xcel’s rate case 15-826, is there for reading, but you seem to ignore the filings. Center of the American Experiment has been silent on Xcel’s e21 “business plan” rate scam and the current bill to change cost review and rate recovery for Prairie Island. Where’s theirconcern about rates when rates are at issue? Oh, right, weighing in on a rate case might involve facts.

Enough of Center of the American Experiment’s repeated disinformation, misstatements… just stop.

Good try, DOE Secretary Perry, but you’re outta here!  Yes, it’s true, a tRump stacked FERC said “NO!” to a proposed rule to subsidize coal and nuclear plants, generation with 90+ days of fuel on hand, outmoded generation plants that are oh-so-suffering while they try to compete in the wholesale “free market” and sinking south fast because costs of production are high and market prices are higher.  I’m shocked, utterly shocked, and very pleasantly surprised!

What did Perry ask for?  Here’s the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:

Secretary Rick Perry’s Letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Bottom line?  Gotta snort, “Now that a quorum has been restored at the Commission, I am confident…” (click for larger version):

SOL!!! 

That’s SNORT out loud… how’s that workin’ for ya, Secretary Perry?

What he thought was a slam dunk was a 5-0 rejection of preferential “out of market” treatment for certain generators.  Nope, ain’t gonna happen.

Here’s the FERC Order, straight from the horse’s mouth.  I’m most appreciative of the many articles and posts that include the primary document.  It’s crucial to be able to read the FERC Order.  This is REAL NEWS!

FERC-20180108-3061(32617655)_No2CoalNukeSubsidy

There are a lot of people railing and wailing about subsidies these days, but it’s very lopsided, and I’m not hearing the complaints about all the subsidies of coal and nuclear.  If you want to complain about subsidies, slash them across the board.  “Free market” right, the essence of capitalism, right?