A shindig has been announced, at which Xcel Energy will unveil its plans, the options it has deemed “alternatives” to the Hollydale Transmission Project.

Xcel Energy’s Hollydale “Open House”

May 25, 2016 from 12-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.

Medina Ballroom

500 Highway 55

Medina, Minnesota

Heard some time ago that this was in the works, and made a scheduling request, overtly received with intent to schedule around time I could not attend… well, so much for that.  Gee, thanks, folks!  PPPPPPPPPFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFBT!

Now, on to the Hollydale Transmission Project.  This is the project that Xcel withdrew, because it was apparent that it wasn’t needed… well, Xcel would never admit that, but it was going down in flames:

Xcel and Great River pull the plug on Hollydale applications


This is a project that was first applied for in 2011, 5 years ago!  That project was a plan to run a 115 kV transmission line through Plymouth and Medina to a substation way to the west, when the “problem” was increased demand along 694 and Hwy. 55.  DOH!  What’s not to object to!  Here’s what they’d originally proposed:


So after the project was withdrawn, without prejudice (they can re apply), they embarked on a “study” to determine options.  That was so long ago…

For ages, they’ve been saying they’re working on this report, and have been saying “it’s not finalized” (this is NOT rocket science, it’s only engineering and transmission planning and PR spin, what takes so long?  I guess it takes this long to come up with justifications and twist the data to make it look reasonable and needed?).

Compliance Filing_July 2015_20157-112044-01

Compliance Filing_April2016_20164-119743-01

From that April Compliance Filing, here’s their plan for this meeting:

OpenHousePlanIt would help to be able to review the “study.”  So I left a message with Xcel Energy at 612-330-6644, the number provided on the meeting notice (no name, but I presumed Tom Hillstrom is still in charge of this) asking for the study.  Because I got voicemail, I also called the attorney assigned to this:


No “little birdie” here, and something’s fishy — no “study” is forthcoming to study because “it is not finalized yet.”  Sent an email to Plymouth@xcelenergy.com with the same request.  Oh please… it has been YEARS!  Pretty tough to argue for any of your “options” when you don’t have anything to back it up!


My clients are on the Medina end of this, and each project blurb notes that “The existing 69 kV transmission line west of the Hollydale Substation will remain unchanged on all three of these alternatives”

Here’s the three they’re proposing:

View Alternative A Map (PDF)

View Alternative B Map (PDF)

View Alternative C Map (PDF)

Alternative C what looks to be the worst one of the three — to energize the existing 69 kV line through this Plymouth subdivision, much of which is directly over a walkway/bike path:

View Alternative C Map (PDF)

AlternativeCAnd once more with feeling, Xcel says that “The existing 69 kV transmission line west of the Hollydale Substation will remain unchanged on all three of these alternatives.”  GOOD!  But… will that hold true for the foreseeable future?  What’s the “Long Term Conceptual Plan” on the maps?  That’s why I want to see this study, because past experience with Xcel Energy is that once they propose something, they work it until they get it, one way or another.

From the Xcel “Plymouth Project” site:

dsc01265Today the public hearings continue for the Hollydale transmission project.

1:30 p.m. at the Medina Ballroom on Hwy. 55

It’s a 115 kV line proposed for Plymouth and Medina through people’s yards — not a good idea.  DUH!

For the full docket, go to the PUC’s Search Docket Page and search for 12-113.

Here’s how they present it in Figure 2 of the Certificate of Need application:

But here’s what it really looks like:

I’m representing a family that lives west of the “Focused Study Area” who just moved to Medina and were surprised by this project — no notice that it was proposed — and are challenging need for the project, and if need is demonstrated, supporting the A-2 distribution system alternative, an upgrade of the 13.8 kV system to 34.5 kV, distributed generation at the load along the area highways, and a combination that would address any demonstrated need:

Petition for Intervention — March 4, 2013

The parties had a phone conference Monday about Xcel Energy’s request to delay the evidentiary hearings (we aren’t formal parties at this point and weren’t invited, but thanks to “plays well with others” Xcel for the heads up about it):

Xcel Energy request for continuance (SF 716 attached)

And the response from Western Plymouth Neighborhood Alliance:

Western Plymouth Neighborhood Alliance

It’s odd delaying a project hearing for a bill that’s speculative, who knows if it might pass or not.  But it’s delayed, the evidentiary hearing, that is, until May or June sometime, after the legislative session is over, and details remain to be worked out.  I’d guess Xcel Energy has other reasons not to go forward with the evidentiary hearing on need for this line…