Senate Energy Bill… again

January 23rd, 2020

Last night in Performing Arts Center, Westonka H.S., Sen. Osmek held the second Senate Energy Committee meeting, taking testimony and discussing the bill. Good grief, burning garbage is RENEWABLE?!?! Eliminate the new nuclear prohibition?!?! CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE!?!?!?! Where on earth do these ideas come from? Lobbyists paid by who?

They put together a list of testifiers. This meeting’s list included TWO who had testified in Rochester! I spoke up and objected to allowing those two to testify before others who had not testified could, and near the end of testimony one was crossed off, BUT, well, guess who was second to the bottom, despite having requested to be put on list 8 days prior in Rochester, and didn’t get to testify.

For the first hearing, they put the three regular folks at the very bottom of the list, those not affiliated with an organization, those NOT paid to show up in suits and testify, and at the outset at Westonka last night, Osmek said, at least twice, “we may not get through the list.” They did in Rochester.

And at the outset of last night’s meeting, he again said, “we may not get through the list” and he limited testimony to 30 minutes total, but didn’t put any limit on individual testimony. AND he said, “we didn’t get through the list in Rochester.” FALSE, you DID get through the list in Rochester. Why say that? Prelude to a dis…

They’re talking about “carbon capture and storage,” “CCS” as if it’s real. It is not. No one else in the room has the knowledge and direct experience working on a project proposing carbon capture that I have, and no one else in the room had signed the non-disclosure agreement in the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project and knows the details of cost and energy loss. Most of the Senators on that committee weren’t even around during the Mesaba Project, and I do not recall a single one of them weighing in on that boondoggle project. So what all do they know about it? Do they know only what paid toadies are telling them? Do some research! We do not need to reinvent the wheel, and folks, this is rock science, not rocket science.

We went through this “carbon capture” nonsense on the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project, where it was talked about a lot, but wasn’t part of the actual project, and then, when it was clear the project Power Purchase Agreement “PPA” was tanking, SURPRISE, they popped in a “Plan” at the last minute, in Rebuttal testimony:

Suddenly, a Plan for Carbon Capture and Sequestration
October 19th, 2006

For sure it was utter bullshit, and not enough to save the day and get that PPA through. Here it is:

From MCGPs Initial Brief in Mesaba Project PPA docket (M-05-1993), but first the full brief, the CCS pages are 22-24, with references:

And the section on the Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project bogus “Plan for Carbon Capture and Sequestration”

Well DOH! What’s changed since then? Only a large funding of “research” and a larger funding scheme of promotion, a la Great Plains Institute, etc.,

… but carbon capture and storage is no more doable, either in percentage of capture feasible, or in potential for creating seismic activity and earthquakes, well, there is more evidence now that pumping gas into the earth DOES create earthquakes. It’s even made it into corporate news media, REAL NEWS from 2013 and 2016:

Fracking and energy exploration connected to earthquakes, say studies

7 million Americans at risk of man-made earthquakes

From USGS:

Are earthquakes induced by fluid-injection activities always located close to the point of injection?

Also from USGS, 2018:

What more information do you need? Do some research, folks.

Those of us who went through the 5+ years that was the Mesaba Project have the facts. If you want us to do this all over again, yes, phenomenal waste of time, but yeah, OK. Been there, done that, have the files, have the facts, here we go!

To look at the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project docket at PUC (05-1993) go to eDocketsand search for PUC Docket 05 (year) 1993 (docket no.) in the search field.


wartsila-gen-set-copyWay back during the CapX 2020 proceeding, it became clear that Rochester Public Utilities planned to build gas generation just west of town, at the “Westside” site.  But this was downplayed, and ignored by the ALJ, because it would be evidence that CapX 2020 wasn’t “needed.”  And of course demand was way down, which we knew but which was also ignored, and that was one more reason CapX 2020 wasn’t needed.  The Rochester gas generation was delayed.

But recently they announced the new gas pipeline around the city, and now, the gas plant.  Today, from the MPCA:

Intent to Construct Air Emission Permit for Rochester Public Utilities Westside

MPCA requests/expects certain things to be addressed in Comments, “you must state” per the MPCA:

(1) Your interest in the permit application or the draft permit.
(2) The action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to the section of the draft permit you believe should be changed.
(3) The reasons supporting your position, stated with sufficient specificity as to allow the MPCA to investigate the merits of the position.

Send Comments to:

Rachel Yucuis
Industrial Division
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-757-2863