Xcel’s Hiawatha Transmission Project, through the heart of the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis, was on the PUC’s agenda last Thursday.  I had some deadline or other and couldn’t go, but here’s what happened:

MOES – Comment on Application, Task Force, etc.

Of course MOES thought everything was just ducky…

Midtown Greenway filed a Comment:

Midtown Greenway – Letter

Midtown Greenway – Resolution

There was no Petition for a Contested Case filed, but a Contested Case was ordered because Xcel has taken the mandatory Contested Case route.  There were no Petitions to Intervene… There was only ONE comment filed…

Here’s the PUC’s Order:

PUC Order – May 26, 2009

Here’s the Dept. of Commerce’s view of Scoping for the full-blown Environmental Impact Statement:

Draft Scoping Document

So there we are… Bill Storm of MOES is assuming that it’s an EIS we’re doing, that’s a good thing.  Check the DRAFT scope, though, and note how narrow it is.

There’s a public meeting for scoping (hmmmm… I wonder if I got notice… $50 says no — Bill says yes, and where’s the $50, but, “It would be WRONG,” she says, speaking into the lampshade…):

DOE-MOES – Notice of EIS Scoping Meeting

Thursday, June 18, 2009 – 6:oo p.m.

Midtown Global Market

920 East Lake St.

Mpls, MN

Comments accepted until July 10, 2009

Send to:

Bill Storm, Project Manager

MN Dept of Commerce

85 – 7th Place East, Suite 500

St. Paul, MN  55101



OK, folks, get to work!

  • Now’s the time to read the application (Xcel’s Hiawatha Project Page HERE) and draft a Comment about what should be included in the EIS.
  • Now’s the time to put in your requests to be on the Citizens Advisory Task Force
  • Now’s the time to Petition to Intervene! (well, it’s not to late… YET…)

The Alley, the Phillips neighborhood newspaper, has a few articles that you should check out:

Power or Problem to the People?
Xcel’s Proposed High Voltage Lines–more time needed to develop alternatives

By Eric Hart

In late September 2008, Xcel Energy announced its Hiawatha Project that seeks to increase the amount of electricity flowingto the Midtown area of south Minneapolis.

The plan includes two new substations,one near Hiawatha Avenue and anothernear I-35W, which are to be connected by two high voltage transmission lines. The
potential area for the transmission lines is parallel to the Midtown Greenway between 26th and 31st Streets. It is our understanding that the only approval needed by Xcel is a routing permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Xcel does not have to prove the need for the project or study alternatives to it like they would for a larger project. Their application to the PUC could come as early as late January 2009.

We have learned from Xcel and businesses in the corridor that there have been power quality issues that have adversely effected some businesses. It is important that the corridor is served with high quality, reliable power. However, simply running high voltage lines on huge towers through the Greenway corridor or along residential streets is not the long-term solution that causes the least harm to the people in the effected neighborhoods and promotes a
more sustainable future. As of December 3, 2008 the Midtown Greenway Coalition “currently opposes” the Hiawatha Projectgiven the lack of detailed data from Xcel and the lack of any serious alternatives analysis so far. Visit www.midtowngreenway.org to see the Coalition’s policy resolution or watch for updates on this issue.

The Coalition is working with Xcel, the effected neighborhoods and others to explore solutions that negate the need for the power lines and substations. Alternatives include aggressive electricity conservation, distributed electricity generation (such as solar power or co-generation of heat and power), upgrading the local distribution system, and high-tech demand management systems.


• Recommend to the following parties that alternatives to the Hiawatha Project be studied and that more time be allowed for this purpose: Minneapolis Council
Members (contact info at: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/) or Xcel Energy (Paul Adelmann, paul.adelmann@
xcelenergy.com, 612 630-4384).
• If energy conservation and renewable energy interest you, volunteer your help or request that updates be emailed to you, contact Tim Springer at 612-879-0105 or tim@midtowngreenway.org.
• Finally, participate in one or both of these upcoming meeting [that are now past tense, happened Thursday].

Eric Hart is a resident of Longfellow Community and a Midtown Greenway Coalition board member.