Yesterday Neighbors Against the Burner filed this Petition to Intervene in a docket at the PUC where Xcel Energy has filed a request for approval of a Power Purchase Agreement slashing the rate paid to Hennepin Energy Recovery Center – HERC for electricity generated at the HERC garbage burner:

Neighbors Against The Burner_Cover-Notice of Appearance -Petition to Intervene

Check out the Public Utilities Commission docket:

Click “Search Documents” HERE and search for docket 17-532

Here’s the Neighbors Against the Burner page for HERC:

HERC page and links via Wayback Machine

And check out Alan Muller’s powerpoint from the successful challenge to attempt to increase garbage burning:

HERC_Power Point

There was an announcement in April, 2016, of  the “HERC Clean Power Plan Coalition” with multiple groups joining to shut down HERCSierra Club North Star Chapter, MPIRG, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Community Power, St. Joan of Arc, etc.  HERC has been raised as an issue in this fall’s Minneapolis Mayoral election. 

Now’s the time to get it done!  SHUT IT DOWN!

Comments are due September 1, and Reply Comments are due September 15.

New law allows much of Minnesota’s biomass industry to be shut down

And it’s happening, and that’s a good thing — these plants that spew toxins and which have routinely violated their air permits should not have been built, permitted, and subsidized.  Shut down is going to happen:

Xcel, Benson agree on plan to mitigate power plant closure – MPR News

But is what they’ve agreed to in the public interest? Who all was a party to the negotiation? Are there other ways to deal with this?

Xcel Energy has asked the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to approve its request to terminate the Power Purchase Agreement for the Benson turkey shit burner.


To review the full docket, E-002/M-17-530, go HERE, and search for “17” (year) and “530” (docket).

What’s at issue?

I need to find the older dockets, they’re not listed here…


It’s nice to win sometimes, even in absentia…

Tonight the Chisago County Board of Commissioners, on a 3-2 vote, voted NOT to approve their proposed Development Agreement with LS Power for an 855MW (give or take a few hundred, depending on their mood, what they ate for lunch, whatever) natural gas electric generating plant.  Like WOW!

Congratulations to Concerned River Valley Citizens for a job well done, and thanks to Tom Dunnwald who filled in for me tonight, but this is no time to let up — the work’s not over — there’s still the matter of the need for an Overlay Essential Services Ordinance that addresses generating plants and whatever other noxious infrastructure somebody might come up with.

This LS Power mess is the PROCEEDING that Concerned River Valley Citizens intervened in, under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, and were shut out by the County Attorney, Janet Reider (bad idea), and we just filed another Notice of Intervention yesterday or today.

There were some interesting comments, like “we’ve done the best we can in the time we had” indicating some sort of train schedule that has now been derailed.  They tried to prevent attorneys from speaking, and the worst of that came from Commissioner Ben Montzka, who is an attorney himself!  He should know better…

In the packet for tonight’s meeting:

Development Agreement

Host Fee Agreement

Host Fee Allocation Agreement

It’s all on video, so we’ll have that soon.  I can’t wait to see the snippets on YouTube!

Here’s from KARE 11:

(it’s not up yet)

More later


THE MESABA PROJECT IS DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!  Coal gasification is not happening.  IGCC ist zu ende!  How many silver stakes through its slimy heart will it take?

Once more with feeling:


IGCC doesn’t provide any significant environmental benefit!

IGCC is not in the public interest!

This is from Charlotte Neigh, Co-Chair of Citizens Against the Mesaba Project, who, having reviewed the recent spin-doctoring of Excelsior Energy, and their tentacle-reach toward Minnesota Municipal Utilities — they’re trying to make it look like they’ve got something they haven’t got:

It is not correct to say that the federal government would back 73 percent of the total cost, or that the federal government has “pledged” $800 million in loan guarantees, or that municipal utilities would have to raise only 27 percent of the project costs to secure ownership of Unit 1 of the Mesaba Project.

Excelsior Energy has not yet been awarded any loan guarantees. It is one of eleven final applicants to share in a pool of $4 billion. Excelsior admits that its negotiations with DOE will continue throughout 2009. DOE stated in October 2007 that projects relying upon a smaller guarantee percentage will be given greater weight. Despite this statement, Excelsior repeatedly misled the media and even the PUC about the status of the loan guarantees, suggesting that they would cover 80 percent of the project costs.

Apparently Excelsior is now seeking 73 percent but this is a long way from becoming reality. A key requirement for qualifying is to have an assurance of revenues to be generated from sale of the product. This means a long-term commitment from a customer to purchase the energy. This is why the failure to achieve a PPA with Xcel Energy is critical. Other obstacles are DOE requirements for: credit assessment without a loan guarantee; approval of environmental and other permits; reduced greenhouse gases; and relative amount of cash contributed by the principals.

Now Excelsior is trying to entice municipal utilities into purchasing ownership interests by suggesting that 100 percent ownership can be obtained by raising 27 percent of the costs. Municipal utilities should carefully assess the likelihood that this amount or any loan guarantees at all will be awarded for the Mesaba Project before issuing bonds to finance such a purchase.

More information and analysis about the federal loan guarantees can be found by scrolling down to the October 8, 2007 entry on the CAMP website:

Charlotte Neigh, Co-Chair
Citizens Against the Mesaba Project

Here’s an example of the bogus spin, from Business North — note she can’t even get the announcement time-frame right… Excelsior announced Mesaba in December, 2001, that’s EIGHT years ago:

No customer for controversial energy project

Excelsior Energy targets municipal PUCs in search for a buyer as key May 1 deadline looms.

by Beth Bily

About six years ago in the wake of the permanent closing of LTV Steel Mining in Hoyt Lakes, momentum began to develop behind a project concept, one since celebrated and renounced.

That proposed Mesaba Energy project with a price estimated at $2 billion has moved through various phases of public review to a potentially new location further west. Along the way it has become one of the most vigorously debated economic development initiatives proposed for Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Meanwhile, an important deadline looms that could make or break the project. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had ordered talks between Mesaba’s parent, Excelsior Energy, and power giant, Twin Cities-based Xcel Energy. The two sides were directed to negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the approximate 600 megawatts of electricity Mesaba’s proposed Unit One would produce. That ordered negotiation period ends on May 1 and there is no evidence an agreement will be reached.

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