Remember Xcel Energy’s Hollydale Transmission Project that was derailed when it was clear it wasn’t needed, and so Xcel Energy withdrew the application with regular compliance reports on status of the project, and a promise of a need study so long ago???

Yeah, I’ve been forgetting too, it’s been so long.  Here’s Xcel Energy’s page on what’s now called the “Plymouth Project.”

But, here it is!!  Finally, it has arrived, the Hollydale System Assessment Report from Xcel Energy that we’ve all been waiting for:


Pay particular attention to the map above of the “study area,” and note that it is the Interstate 494/694 ring and Hwy 55 to the east and north where the problems are, and the problems are yellow and orange, and not red.  The problems are not in the area of the Hollydale substation and not to the west, towards Medina.

When do we start seeing problems?  Looks like it’s in 2036, 20 years from now, double the usual 10 year transmission planning outlook (hint, that means it STILL is not needed) — and note, again, the problems are to the east and north, along the highways:


I’ve got to scour this report, but I do not think that they’ve considered select placement of distributed generation, i.e., solar panels on all the big boxes in the areas above in red!  Or residential solar on those in yellow.  What’s so difficult about that?

Here’s their choice:

FavoriteAlternativeCOn the plus side, there’s new substations planned in the red territory.  On the minus side, they still want to utilize the Hollydale substation.  On the plus side, they plan to expand transmission using 34.5 feeders, which is what I promoted as a solution.  On the minus side, they plan to keep the 69 kV line through Plymouth, with an eye on utilizing it in the future.  On the PLUS side, they claim that there’s no impact on the Hollydale – Medina section of the 69 kV line, claim that there’s no change from present use and non-use, and for my clients in Medina, that’s a good thing.  On the MINUS side, they don’t propose to tear that “unused” 69 kV line down.  On the MINUS side, they don’t propose to put all the transmission and distribution underground.  And remember, just yesterday, when there was a large distribution outage due to wind out in the western suburbs?

So now, it’s time to read this report!


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 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: