Transmission — it’s all connected.  In looking at the Minnesota rulemaking, and the existing and proposed rules that utilize the word “regional,” I’m thinking about big picture stuff, the big proposals in the wings, and that Joint Coordinated System Plan (JCSP) map sure presents a big picture. For some reason, I’ve not been able to find the full JCSP report until recently:



Who cares about JCSP?  Well, WE’D better care, because look who’s paying for the transmission build-out (p. 68 of Vol. 1):

Look at the numbers for Midwest ISO, a $-10,293, or for MAPP, a $12,292, that’s a COST, not a savings.  MISO and MAPP get nominal production cost savings and massive load COSTS.  This is not news, but is worth repeating as we discuss “regional.”  And another take with the same take-away of big costs for MISO and MAPP customers, used by our good friends at  AWEA to promote this transmission buildout in their flyer called “Green Power Transmission and Consumer Savings” (flyer below):

Read the whole thing:


What a deal, eh?

Look what AWEA has been advocating to make this happen:

Federal Siting
In addition to regional planning and cost allocation,
substantial reform of the transmission siting process is
required to meet national renewable energy goals. The
most effective model is the siting authority that was given
to FERC over interstate natural gas pipelines. For green
power superhighways, the extra-high-voltage facilities
defined in the regional plans would be subject to FERC
approval and permitting. Separate siting approval at the
state level would not be required. FERC would act as the
lead agency for purposes of coordinating all applicable
federal authorizations and environmental reviews with other
affected agencies.
Check their “Policy Solutions on p. 3:
Again, this is not new news, I remember fighting over this with the Waltons/Wind on the Wires in 2005, their agenda was all about increasing federal authority and decreasing state authority… and of course they’re not part of this rulemaking, there are NO, NONE, NOT ONE enviro group participating in this transmission rulemaking docket.
The point of JCSP is to increase power flows along those red pathways — who benefits and who loses:
There’s been little talk of JCSP lately, but given the rate of return for transmission construction, it’s hard to believe it’s not lying in wait.
And if it’s not all about coal, why is this the case (Vol. 1, p. 190):



Above, “JCSP,” the Joint Coordinated System Plan.



And they don’t give a rodent’s rump what we do with our transmission but THEY DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR IT!


It’s not anything new, but it seems that the message is getting through all the way to Iowa.   Soon Minnesota? The message?  That the east coast does not want Midwest transmission, that they have their own renewables and not only that, they know that transmission from the Midwest means coal and, most importantly, THEY WILL NOT PAY FOR TRANSMISSION FOISTED UPON THEM.

The 7th Circuit case tossing out PJM’s cost apportionment scheme must be having an impact because everyone is freakin’ about cost allocation.  Again, GOOD!  The court said that PJM could not shove the costs of transmission on those who do not benefit from it:

Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC – August 6, 2009

Enter the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy, just launched today with a press conference in Washington, D.C.

Dig this from their site:

Assessment of National EHV Transmission Grid Overlay Proposals: Cost-Benefit Methodologies and Claims

HA!  I love it when that happens…

Here’s some background on our Midwest Transmission — transmission we don’t need and they don’t want:

JCSP & UMTDI in the news

This opposition to Midwest transmission is nothing new, I’ve entered documentation in the record in a couple of proceedings now, but what is new is that as of today’s “launch,” there’s now an industry group advocating against Midwest transmission, and that’s one utility interest I’m glad to see hopping mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!  GOOD!  Maybe that will help stop this stupid transmission-fest across the Midwest.

PUC Chair David Boyd had it right when he testified before Minnesota’s Legislative Energy Commission and led off with, “We need a business plan.”  Yes, that’s true, there is no business plan, and there is no MARKET for transmission.  I just hope that message gets through before “we” build and WE have to pay for all these wires in the air!

Here are a few recent posts of mine on this, followed by today’s article in the Des Moines Register.

Offshore transmission, NOT transmission from the Midwest

Eastern Governors stand up against transmission!

And today’s Des Moines Register article:

Eastern states balk at paying wind cost

By DAN PILLER • • March 5, 2010

Much of the nation isn’t eager to help pay for a high-voltage transmission line to sell Iowa’s extra wind power to big markets east of the Mississippi River.

“If Iowa wants to build a transmission line for their energy, we have no objection. But Iowa or the Midwest should pay for it,” said Ian Bowles, secretary of energy and environmental affairs in Massachusetts. New England states want to produce their own wind energy from offshore farms.

A coalition of utilities in Eastern states will announce today their opposition to a 765-kilovolt transmission line, more than double the capacity of the current 345-kilovolt lines. The line would send electricity from the Dakotas, Iowa and Minnesota to Chicago and points east. Iowa is the nation’s second-largest producer of wind-generated electricity, behind Texas.

Such a transmission line won public support from President Barack Obama on his visit to Newton last April. It is a linchpin of the renewable energy policies of Gov. Chet Culver and Iowa’s largest electric utility, MidAmerican Energy of Des Moines.

Alliant Energy has its objections

Proposals by MidAmerican and ITC Holdings, which runs transmission lines in eastern Iowa, are considered the best chance for Iowa to reap a wind energy version of the financial windfall enjoyed by Texas and other oil- and gas-producing states.

But as wind energy becomes bigger and more corporate, the utility industry is divided even in Iowa.

Alliant Energy, which serves 525,000 customers in parts of northern, eastern and southern Iowa, has joined the newly organized Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy, which promises to fight a government-mandated transmission line from the Midwest.

“We don’t think the costs of transmission should be socialized,” said Alliant spokesman Ryan Stensland. Alliant’s wind energy production in Iowa is a fraction of MidAmerican’s.

Bruce Edelston, executive director for the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy, said his group has formed to fight a proposal in the Senate to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to site and assess costs for a wind transmission line.

“We don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea to build a multistate transmission line,” said Edelston, whose group will hold a coming-out news conference today in Washington, D.C.

The Fair Transmission group represents companies serving 28 percent of U.S. electric customers, including utilities in New York City, Michigan, Indianapolis, New England, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and Florida, New Jersey and Georgia.

Those states presumably would be among potential markets for the wind-generated electricity moved from the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, which have the potential to produce far more wind energy than would be consumed there.

Other states have their own plans

While Iowa has speckled its countryside with wind turbines, other states have similar aspirations.

Atlantic seaboard states advanced plans for offshore wind farms, which they say would eliminate the need to ship wind-generated electricity from Iowa.
Read the rest of this entry »


I’d wondered why “The Economist” had shown up in my blog stats, and now I know.  But from the viewpoint of this article, it’s clear they didn’t do more than scratch the surface of transmission in the Midwest.  This is “party line” all the way — I hope they’ll now take the time to read NYISO and ISO-NE’s letter of withdrawal from publication of JCSP!

YOUR TURN!  Let them know what you think and why — the registration is instantaneous and easy, so COMMENT AWAY!

Spreading green electricity: A gust of progress

Apr 30th 2009 | CHICAGO
From The Economist print edition

Creating windpower transmission in the Midwest

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT helped bring electricity beyond America’s cities to its most distant farms. Barack Obama hopes the countryside will return the favour. Much of this challenge rests in the gusty upper Midwest. In recent years Interstates 29 and 80, highways of America’s heartland, have teemed with lorries bringing wind blades to new plants. Efforts to build transmission have moved more slowly. There are 300,000 megawatts of proposed wind projects waiting to connect to the electricity grid, says the American Wind Energy Association. Of these, 70,000 megawatts are in the upper Midwest.

Now action is at last replacing talk. Firms are proposing ambitious transmission lines across the plains. The region’s governors and regulators are mulling ways to help them. The federal government is playing its part. In February the stimulus package allotted $11 billion to modernise the grid. Since then members of Congress have proposed an array of bills to develop transmission. Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate energy committee, intends to start marking up transmission plans next week—though debate over other parts of the energy bill may delay progress.

America’s grid is complex: 3,000 utilities, 500 transmission owners and 164,000 miles (264,000km) of high-voltage transmission lines are stretched across three “interconnections” in the east, west and Texas. If wind is to generate 20% of electricity by 2030, as in one scenario from the Department of Energy, about $60 billion must be spent on new transmission. Just as important, regulations must change.

Historically, electricity has been generated close to consumers. Regulations are ill-suited for transmission across state borders. Rules for allocating a project’s costs burden local ratepayers rather than distant beneficiaries. One state’s regulators can scuttle a regional plan. The process for seeking approval from federal agencies is so disjointed and slow that pushing a line over a national park or river might as well be crossing the Styx.

American Electric Power (AEP) built a transmission line from West Virginia to Virginia in two years. The approval process had taken 14. “There are lots of people with authority to make pieces of the decision,” explains Susan Tomasky, president of AEP Transmission, “and no single entity that can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” Despite recent changes, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has limited power to make projects go faster.

Fortunately, officials have started to address these problems. In September 2008 the governors of the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin formed an alliance to co-operate on regional planning. Midwest ISO, which supervises 94,000 miles of high-voltage lines, is considering ways to spread the costs of new transmission beyond local ratepayers and taking part in preparing a broad plan for the eastern interconnection.

Federal legislation will help too. Harry Reid, the Senate’s Democratic leader, Mr Bingaman and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota have offered three of the most prominent proposals. Each would require comprehensive plans for the interconnections, and would, to varying degrees, expand FERC’s authority to locate big new projects and allocate their costs.

Initiatives like this would help to encourage firms already eager to invest. Two of the most ambitious plans belong to AEP and to ITC Holdings, which each want to build lines from the upper Midwest to cities farther east. In April FERC offered ITC’s “Green Power Express” initial incentives to push the project along.

However, even quick progress in the world of transmission is slow. If all goes according to schedule—an unlikely thought— the Green Power Express would still not be in service until 2020. Fights in Washington are inevitable. FERC’s role in siting projects is controversial. More important, this debate may be bogged down by broader ones, such as the fight over a mandate to make a greater share of electricity from renewable sources. Meanwhile the winds whistle across the plains.


Yes, all this transmission we see, the hard to believe plans of superhighways across the country, MTEP, JCSP, Green Power Express, TrAIL line, Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, Susquehanna-Roseland, on and on and on, it’s for coal, we know that, but when the truth jumps up and is as in-your-face as it is at this meeting… well, ya gotta read it to believe it.  From the FERC docket entitled PROMOTING REGIONAL TRANSMISSION PLANNING AND EXPANSION TO FACILITATE FUEL DIVERSITY INCLUDING EXPANDED USES OF COAL-FIRED RESOURCES (really, that’s the name…):

FERC Transcript 5/13/05

Here, from p. 61, is a tantalizing snippet from the Pres. of PJM:

PJM is certainly proud of what has been accomplished to date to open up markets to coal, but there is much more that we and others in this region can do to further enhance that use of coal.

It is for this reason that, today, PJM is setting out by example, a new initiative which we have labeled Project Mountaineer — appropriately titled for the state that we’re in — to utilize our regional transmission expansion planning process to explore ways to further develop an efficient transmission super highway, if you will, to deliver the low-cost coal resources in this region of the country, to market.

And to actually build it when people don’t want it over their land, don’t want to look at it, don’t want the EMF impacts?  Well, they say…

About the only answer to that would be some sort of federal siting law that would basically overcome local property rights.

National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors anyone?  This was in 2005… as the CapX Technical Report was about to be published, putting all of this into action… sigh….

To look up the entire docket, go HERE and search for AD05-3, and voila, there it is for your edification and reading enjoyment!

It’s all for coal, we know that, and we’ve got to NOT let them get away with this!

JCSP & UMTDI in the news

February 16th, 2009


More transmission – again in the Wall Street Journal.

Hard to tell which of the alphabet soups this article is about, and I’d say both, it’s about the Joint Coordinated System Plan and the Upper Midwest Transmission Development InitiativeUMDTI! But we know it’s all one and the same.

The article doesn’t really specifically name either “group” and it leaves us wondering just who or what is behind it.  This is a good thing — yes, it really is as amorphous as it sounds! What disturbs me, of course, is the “It’s for wind,” because we know better!

New Grid for Renewable Energy Could Be Costly

FEBRUARY 9, 2009


A substantial increase in the amount of electricity produced from renewable energy would require building a transmission system that would carry a price tag of up to $100 billion, according to a new study.

The new system would be needed because the existing eastern grid couldn’t handle the volume of power coming from the wind-producing states. In addition, the new grid would need to be able to handle the fluctuating nature of wind power, which can surge at some moments and drop sharply at others.

There is strong political and public support for increasing production of renewable energy, and Congress is considering enacting a nationwide standard that would require utilities to garner more of their power from renewable sources. However, there is only an emerging understanding of how new standards would affect the country’s existing electricity infrastructure.

The study, sponsored by some of the nation’s biggest grid-running organizations east of the Rockies, is the most comprehensive attempt by the industry to figure out what kind of infrastructure upgrades would be needed if the U.S. attempts to sharply increase the amount of power it gets from sources such as wind and solar. In 2007, according to the Energy Information Administration, about 7% of the nation’s electricity came from renewable sources, including less than 1% from wind.

If the U.S. wants to get 20% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2024, the study says, it would be necessary to build a new electricity circulatory system, including 15,000 circuit miles of extremely high voltage lines. The system, which would be laid alongside the existing electric grid infrastructure, would start in the Great Plains and Midwest — where the bulk of the nation’s wind resources are located — and terminate in big cities along the East Coast.

The transmission system would cost up to $100 billion. Building the wind turbines needed to generate the desired amount of power would cost about $720 billion, the study estimates — making the total investment about equal to the size of the current stimulus bill. The money would be spent over a 15-year period, and would be financed primarily by utilities and investors.

The purpose of the study was “to make clear that if you need large sums of energy that’s not carbon-based, these are the kinds of numbers involved” to achieve it, said Clair Moeller, head of transmission planning for the Midwest Independent System Operator.

The report was prepared by organizations responsible for electric-system reliability in roughly half the states, including the Midwest Independent System Operator, SERC Reliability Region, PJM Interconnection LLC, the Southwest Power Pool, the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The projected cost of the system is only one hurdle. Getting the high-voltage power lines build across the country would require the assent of local authorities and landowners, and might require federal intervention. “For that 15,000 miles of lines, I promise about 15,000 lawsuits,” said Mr. Moeller.

The report is generating controversy because there is no guarantee that expensive power lines, if built, would be used primarily to move renewable energy. They could just as easily carry energy from coal-fired power plants in the Midwest or Great Plains.

New York and New England grid operators provided information for the report but say there might be ways to build resources in their regions more economically than hauling power from the Great Plains. “This study doesn’t look enough at alternatives to huge transmission additions,” said Stephen Whitley, chief executive of the New York Independent System Operator.

Utilities are proposing to build some new transmission lines already, but nothing on the scale of what the report says would be needed.

At least the WSJ noticed the NYISO and ISO-NE’s objections — here it is again, it’s one of those letters I just can’t get enough of:

Feb 4 2009 NYISO & ISO-NE Letter to JCSP

The UMDTI is insidious, a cheerleading effort to push transmission through.  The way the thing is structured, is, as I said in my comments at the February 11, 2009, meeting, is ABSOLUTELY ASS-BACKWARDS.  It’s market driven backwards engineering a transmission solution to support nonexistent need.

Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative – HOME PAGE

UMTDI Stakeholder Letter 10-28-08

Stakeholder Responses – LINK – look who the stakeholders are – DUH!

Wind on the Wires Comments … sigh…

UMDTI Stakeholder Letter 12-31-08 (Ed Garvey – MISO)

Dec 30 Draft – Cost Allocation Work Group (Marya White – Commerce)

December 30 Draft – Transmission Planning Work Group (Randy Pilo – PSC-WI)

Wind on the Wires cites many studies:

MISO’s Regional Generation Outlet Study (RGOS)

Transmission planning initiatives by” CapX 2020, ATC, Mid-American and others”

Minnesota RES transmission study

MISO’s MTEP-08 and MTEP-09

Joint Coordinated System Planning Stuey

Eastern Wind Integration Transmission Study

None of these studies are linked — and they’re not on the UMTDI site — let’s see how long it takes to find them.

CapX 2020 – they’re HERE

See also the Certificate of Need Appendix A

ATC 10 Year Plan (2008)


Now for the more difficult ones… one moment please…