Scoping for the “Northfield AUAR” ended a while ago, and now, it’s the DRAFT!


Comments are due Thursday, August 17, 2023 at 4:30 p.m.

Send comments to Northfield, and I’d recommend you also send to Xcel and Stantec:

Of course, it gets my attention whenever Xcel does anything, and this large AUAR, on the northwest edge of Northfield sure got my attention. My comments, sent in February (5 months ago!):

This AUAR got my attention because it includes a “data center” option:

Note in Development Scenario A, the “Technology Center” takes up 538 acres, the majority of the area:

And what caught my attention initially was that this popped up around the time that Xcel was going back and forth about a big data center near the old Sherco plant site. Then that application was withdrawn.

Funny thing though, two dockets appeared, filed by Xcel, M-22-572 (CONTRACTS FOR PROVISION OF ELECTRIC SERVICE TO A NEW LARGE CUSTOMER’S MINNESOTA DATA CENTER PROJECT), and M-22-579 (CONTRACTS FOR PROVISION OF ELECTRIC SERVICE TO A NEW LARGE CUSTOMER’S MINNESOTA DATA CENTER PROJECT), with Xcel Energy filings in November, 2022. The two initial filings by Xcel in these dockets are both pdfs of 142 pages, 137 of those the Petition and tariff provisions. They seem identical, but I’ve not gone over page by page.

What I do note, in these days of focus on energy conservation, is the load predicted, on page 6 of both, expecting quite a load suck:

“The initial data center Premise is expected to achieve an initial load of at least 10 MW and grow to exceed 75 MW by the end of its first 10 years in service.

It’s important to consider the electrical service to these sites, locations unknown. What new infrastructure would be needed? One data center I know of was set in the middle of Glencoe, and is a nuisance to neighbors, violating the MPCA’s noise standards. How is location of data centers determined, what factors are considered? With the Northfield AUAR proposed by Xcel, in the Xcel service territory, and anticipating 538 acres for a “technology center,” it’s at the very least within the realm of possibilities.

The most recent posting in both of these dockets was from “Amber Kestral” (reminds me of the names for transmission line conductors!), not Xcel.

There were identical one page filings from “Amber Kestral,” stating a request for a pause:

In transmission, we’ve noted for decades that “it’s all connected.”

Do review the Xcel/Northfield AUAR and send in comments by August 17th!