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Donate!!!  Yes, you!!   See that “PayPal” button up to the right?  Join the challenge to transmission that they don’t need and we don’t want!  Residents and Ratepayers Against Not-so-Great-Northern Transmission, an ad hoc advocacy association, has Intervened in the Certificate of Need, a public interest intervention focused on showing up to weigh in on the big picture issues (Important note, we’re aiding public participation, but not taking a position on route.).

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Manitoba Métis Federation’s appeal goes forward

It’s in the news — the Winnipeg Sun:

Hydro’s transmission line project heads back to court

And here’s the Metis’ press release, and the court orders:

Federal Court of Appeal Agrees to Hear MMF Appeal Challenging Minnesota-Manitoba Transmission Line License

Winnipeg, MB – The Federal Court of Appeal has granted the Manitoba Metis Federation’s (“MMF”) request to appeal the Canada Energy Regulator’s recent decision that concluded Manitoba Hydro was not required to uphold the Government of Canada’s (“Canada”) accommodation of Indigenous rights and interests included in federal license for the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project (the “MMTP”). 

“We are pleased that the Federal Court of Appeal has agreed to hear this important appeal. The license for the MMTP included commitments to all Indigenous peoples, including the Manitoba Métis community specifically. We are optimistic that the courts will not continue to allow Manitoba Hydro to ignore those obligations or the Canada Energy Regulator to turn a blind eye to the accommodations the federal Crown made,” said MMF President David Chartrand.

The MMTP is a new 213-km power line stretching from near Rosser to the Manitoba-United States border near Piney, where it connects with the Great Northern Transmission Line in Minnesota. The MMTP cuts through the heart of the Métis Nation Homeland, where the Métis – as a distinct Indigenous people – emerged and call their home today. The MMTP significantly impacts the constitutional rights of the Manitoba Métis Community.

As an international power line, Manitoba Hydro was required to get regulatory approval for the MMTP from Canada to construct and operate it. Prior to approving the MMTP, Canada engaged in Crown consultations with MMF and other Indigenous groups who stand to be adversely impacted by the Project. Following that process, Canada modified the Canada Energy Regulator’s proposed conditions for Manitoba Hydro’s license to address Métis rights, interests, and concerns. 

In August 2020, the Canada Energy Regulator made a decision that effectively rendered Canada’s changes to the MMTP’s license meaningless in relation to protecting Métis rights and interests as well as the rights and interests of other Indigenous peoples. In effect, the Canada Energy Regulator concluded that Manitoba Hydro only has to do what it wants to do, not what Canada promised to Indigenous peoples flowing from Crown consultation.

President Chartrand added, “This case is about ensuring that accommodation measures put in place by the Crown cannot be cast aside by the Canada Energy Regulator who is charged with enforcing them. The Crown has a duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples. When accommodations are made to us to secure our support for resource development projects, they must be honoured.” 

A copy of the MMF’s leave to appeal application, as well as the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision, is available below.


Memorandum of Fact and Law (12 October 2020)Download – Document

20-A-35 – Order of Appeal – Download

Here’s the Canadian site for this project:

Manitoba Hydro – Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project

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And GNTL is energized…

The Great Northern Transmission Line has been energized, and RRANTing is over. Right on schedule, as above, Minnesota Power’s Great Northern Transmission Line is up and running, bringing Manitoba Hydro generated electricity to Minnesota, and likely beyond.

Here’s their press release, hot off the press from Minnesota Power, but I got sidetracked:

In Minnesota as proposed:

In Canada:

And in the air:

And the press lapped it up:

Minnesota Power to reach 50% renewables in 2021 with Canadian hydropower

Minnesota Power energizes Great Northern Transmission Line, bringing 250 MW delivery capabilities online

And it looks like a cut and paste of the MP press release in the Grand Rapids paper:

Minnesota Power energizes Great Northern Transmission Line to move company closer to 50 percent renewable energy by 2021

This was a LONG project, starting at the PUC in 2012, EIGHT YEARS AGO, with Minnesota Power’s planning starting long before that.

To look at the full Public Utilities Commission siting docket, go HERE and search for 14-21. The Certificate of Need docket is 12-1163.

There was also a DOE Presidential Permit, that’s where the DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement came in, a limited scope:

There were also three FERC dockets regarding Zonal Agreements, ER16-1107, ER16-110, an ER16-1116.

And then there’s Canada!

Open houses beginning in Canada for GNTL

January 17 – Canada will announce public hearings

Canada’s National Energy Board recommends “MMTP”

Suffice it to say, this was a long and complicated haul. As well it should be, two countries involved, and multiple agencies here in the U.S. and Minnesota. So many road shows, and I sure couldn’t go on all of them.

There were some really cold meetings, I remember one in the ambulance hall, because I was handing out flyers, freezing… Here’s what I’d been handing out in attempt to let people know how to weigh in. They’re affected, they’re right there, and they know the situation on the ground.

Handout – November GNTL Meetings

Notice Plan Comment Form – click to download editable form

I usually did that outside, but whew, but sometimes it was TOO COLD:

That’s the meeting where MP folks were not too happy that I brought up my Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line details of the capacity for that initially quad-bundled 500 kV line, MVA over 4,000. This line is pretty much the same, though now I can’t remember if this is quad or “just” tri-bundled. It’s absurd design for “250 MW” load, so we know there’s going to be more. Though with the energy market as it is, can’t see a need for more anytime soon, and with COVID shutdown, Minnesota Power demand is down 40% or so.

It was so cold that first year. Minnesota Power held its own PR meetings before it even formally applied, in International Falls circa 2012:

In Grand Rapids at the Sawmill:

Formal meetings were held later, also in Grand Rapids. And Burl Ives (yes, that’s his name, and he’s a County Commissioner, District 4, now) wasn’t thrilled that I was handing out flyers at his hotel, but we had a good chat and he got it, he saw that I was graciously greeting people and handing out info, not making them run the gauntlet:

And Taconite?

And 2013, another cold winter road show, THE COLDEST, this was in the ambulance garage, and I really did not have fun on this road show:

In 2014, we had meetings in warmth, all over, another road show, well attended, with good treats:

Note the Executive Order, E.O. 12038:

And some not so well attended…

And came 2015, the DOE’s EIS meetings, unbearably hot, unfunded so couldn’t get hotel, and we stayed in site 12 in Big Bog State Park in our “new” pop-up, the site had a dock, and was swarming with bugs, the worst I’ve ever experienced. NEVER AGAIN! We were picking out bug carcasses for years afterward (there were still bugs embedded in the screens when we sold it last fall!).

And then the rain, the Rainy River was overflowing the banks, one city’s municipal campground was flooded, standing water everywhere through torrential rainfall and super high winds:

Who knew there were honey bee colonies all over along Hwy 11??

And PUC hearings the following month, another series of road shows:

Then the PUC’s permit:

And now it’s up and running… sigh…

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Filed under Canada permitting, Certificate of Need, DOE (Dept of Energy), Environmental Review, FERC Filings, Hearings, Media, Meetings, MP, Need, Open Houses, Presidential Permit, PUC Filings, Routing Docket

GNTL Corona Rings

From the “Learn Something Every Day” category, and timely, it’s about corona!

CORONA RINGS – Wikipedia

Close, but no… here are corona rings on transmission lines at insulators:

Today a Minnesota Power Compliance Filing came over the wire:

And a part of that was a cool photo, above, of the corona rings installed at the “Iron Range Substation.” Corona Rings — rather relevant today! Ahem… but this was new to me, so the Wiki. I have not seen this before, haven’t noticed it in filings, so I’ve got some homework to do. But as corona was raised as an issue in at least one docket that I can think of, this way to limit corona and corona impacts should have come up. Did I miss it? Gotta take a look!

Digging in my files from way back, I have some studies about corona, the link between corona and childhood leukemia, and limitation of corona/prevention:

Corona Effect –

And this one, with the quote below, does indicate that corona rings are a “new” thing, so maybe I didn’t miss anything back then:

Corona rings – On certain new 345 kV structures, we are now installing corona rings. These rings have smooth round surfaces which are designed to distribute charge across a wider area, thereby reducing the electric field and the resulting corona discharges.

And this, near and dear to my heart, LINE LOSSES:

AC Transmission Line Losses

What I’m taking from this is that utilities are getting more serious about limiting line losses, and to do so, limiting corona! That’s a good thing, and I’d like to know the particulars!

And who cares? Well, an instance where it mattered, well, two cases, and what was learned:

Failures on 400 kV Lines Highlight Importance of Corona Rings


1. The two cases described clearly demonstrate that it is important to install corona rings at the energized end of polymeric insulators used on 400 kV overhead lines. This is true for both suspension and tension towers since corona can reduce the effective service life of such insulators to less than 14 years. It is also important to take into account whether the route of a line passes areas with agricultural, maritime or industrial pollution as this will accelerate irreversible structural damage to such insulators. The outcomes described here were not due to manufacturing defects but rather to the absence a corona ring. This resulted in a high concentration of electric field, producing corona effects that permanently destroyed the silicone rubber housing and left the core rod exposed to the environment.

2. Corona rings designed and supplied by their manufacturer must be installed on polymeric insulators used at transmission voltages. Some manufacturers recommend grading rings at both ends of the insulator at higher transmission line voltages.

3. It should be mandatory that corona rings be installed during construction of any line and, if such accessories are missing, the line should not be energized.

4. Visual inspection with binoculars and evaluation of corona activity using high sensitivity UV cameras can help detect problems affecting polymeric insulators. Both should therefore be part of routine annual or bi-annual inspections to prevent insulator failures on overhead transmission lines.

5. Suitable inspection procedures should be developed by utility maintenance departments to establish proper methodologies for visual inspection and detection of corona activity on polymeric insulators at close distance. Work methods must address such inspection with the line energized or de-energized and the main objective is to evaluate the physical operating condition of polymeric insulators and identify any units with higher risk of failure. Depending on maintenance resources, the inspection methodology should be performed tower by tower, climbing each structure and avoiding stepping on insulators. It can also performed using trucks with aerial work platforms or insulated ladders.

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GNTL Compliance Filing

Minnesota Power has filed its “Update” and the update is that the clearing, soil boring, and foundations are 100% complete. They’re working now on putting up the structures, and look at them, they’re those bizarre ones standing on a point with guy wires. You’d think they could just drop them from the helicopter and they’d implant themselves… naaah, nevermind…

Here’s the update:

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Manitoba-Hydro reneges on deals

The “Not so Great Northern Transmission Line”

The project was approved, based on “benefits” and “costs” (arguably) and now they pull the rug out AGAIN?

Manitoba Hydro cancels $4.2M payments to municipalities for Manitoba-Minnesota transmission line support

The RM of Piney was planning to create a foundation that would offer scholarships and bursaries to youth, among other initiatives, as part of its $800,000 payment, Parent said. 

It would have long-lasting benefits to the individuals here, because these towers are going to be up for not just my generation, but many generations to come,” she said.  

The “provincial government has taken a different position on benefit programs,” Hydro said in a statement, and the Crown utility is “aligning itself with the government’s position.” 

Spokesperson Bruce Owen added that Manitoba Hydro had the right to walk away because no agreements were ever signed or formally in place.

The funding would have been earmarked for community enhancement projects, including projects that promote environment sustainability or provide training, employment, economic development or develop community infrastructure, Owen wrote.

Financial incentives from Hydro remain in place for the owners of property the route will go through.

Kiansky said the RM of Stuartburn was going to set aside money to encourage year-round use of the arena in Vita, about 95 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg.

The other southeastern Manitoba municipalities that would have received money were the RMs of Springfield, Tache, La Broquerie and Ste. Anne. 

Opposition to transmission line

The RM of La Broquerie was among the vocal critics who chastised Manitoba Hydro for not choosing a more easterly route for the Manitoba-Minnesota line. They held community meetings in opposition to the transmission line.

Council eventually agreed to cease its opposition once Hydro’s funding package — in excess of $900,000 — was proposed, said Reeve Lewis Weiss.

I know I’m the one, along with everyone else, who’s really paying for these things anyway.

– RM of La Broquerie  Reeve Lewis Weiss

He said he always opposed the transmission line, and still does. 

“I had a lot of people — farmers and residents — that did not want that line here, so I felt like I fought pretty hard against it.”

Weiss isn’t too bothered that a cheque won’t be coming the municipality’s way, however.

“As a resident, I’m not hurt,” Weiss said. “I know I’m the one, along with everyone else, who’s really paying for these things anyway.” 

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Canada’s National Energy Board recommends “MMTP”

This, hot off the press in an email update — it’s not over, but it’s getting closer, the final decision is yet to be made by the Governor in Council – press is below:

National Energy Board Reasons for Decision completed and released

The National Energy Board has completed and released their Reasons for Decision (PDF, 2.1 MB) recommending to the Governor in Council that a certificate should be issued for the Project. It is available for your review.

[emphasis added] Here’s their “Document Library” page.

And in the news, note both these headlines say “approves” but that’s not correct, it should be “recommends” and should note it takes further action:

NEB approves Manitoba-Minnesota power line; landowners could fight decision in court: lawyer

NEB approves Manitoba Hydro’s proposed link to Minnesota

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Getting interesting in Manitoba!

Coalition lobbies for halt of Manitoba transmission line project

So the government rejects the “deal,” and I’ll bet their idea is to just go ahead and build it and screw over the Metis.  ???  We shall see…

And getting interesting in Minnesota too:

Minnesota Power hopeful Canadian transmission line will stay on track

Some columns with background on the mess on the other side of the border:

BRODBECK: NDP’s reign of terror at Hydro will take a generation to overcome

BRODBECK: Time for Hydro to come clean on Keeyask

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RRANT applies as Commenter in Canada

RRANT, Residents and Ratepayers Against Not-so-Great-Northern Transmission have filed to be a “Commenter” in Canada’s National Energy Board proceeding for the “Manitoba-Minnesota” transmission line, the Canada portion of Great Northern Transmission Line.  It’ll address both need and route, but particularly need.

This transmission project is HUGE, it’s a bundled 500 kV line with the capacity of Susquehanna-Roseland, over 4,000 MVA!  And it is yet another transmission project that isn’t needed, and is designed 8+ times too large for the stated/claimed need and the Presidential Permit, particularly because one dam was admittedly not needed.

Hold yer horses, Conawapa…

And in Minnesota, it was weird… for routing, people did not get proper notice, and agency comments were being hidden off in the EIS and not incorporated into the hearing record, comments that were oh-so-relevant in routing, so I did have to raise a stink about that:

Transcript (partial)_8-13-2015

So on to Ccanada… Oh, Canadda!!! How will this go in Canada?  Why the NEB process?

Here’s the HEARING ORDER: A88851-1 NEB – Letter – Manitoba Hydro – MMTP – Hearing Order EH-001-2017 – A5Y6X8

How to participate? GUIDANCE HERE!

Much is already online, and they have the filings up and will utilize what’s been filed thus far, and those intervenors in the earlier Canadian process are intervenors in this one.

Here’s the Canadian docket with the Application.

The Minnesota part of this project required a lot of travel, and testing out the “new” camper in Big Bog State Park (never again, way too hot and humid, what a mosquito and fly hell hole!).  The rain was so intense that the Rainy River was over its banks, water in all the ditches, covering roads.  That was July 2014, and I’m still brushing and vacuuming fly carcases out of the recesses of screens!

We’ll see what Canada has to say about this!  No, not high hopes…


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Notice of Hearing – Canada’s NEB

Got this in the inbox yesterday, and this Canadian process WILL address “need” for this transmission line — in Canada it’s called the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project (MMTP):

National Energy Board Notice of Public Hearing

The National Energy Board (NEB) has issued a Notice of Public Hearing indicating they will hold a public hearing for the Manitoba–Minnesota Transmission Project (MMTP) and will conduct an environmental assessment pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.

Intervention deadline: February 7, 2018

From the NEB site:

Support for participants

Participant Funding

Participant funding is available. Refer to the Participant Funding Program page for information on deadlines, eligibility, how to apply for funding, and how to submit claims.

Process Advisor

The Process Advisor’s role is to support the public (e.g., landowners, concerned citizens, environmental non-governmental organizations) and Aboriginal groups if they have questions about the NEB’s assessment of the project.

Matt Groza
Process Advisor

National Energy Board
Telephone: 403-614-4952
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
Facsimile: 403-292-5503
Facsimile (toll free): 1-877-288-8803
TTY (Teletype): 1-800-632-1663




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January 17 – Canada will announce public hearings

Public participation, getting the lay of the land — it’s messy, it’s time consuming, and it’s where it’s at in transmission siting proceeding, it is the essential guts of transmission line siting.  Get ready for another round of meetings some time after January 17, 2018 up in Canada!

Last report was that Canada;s National Energy Board had suddenly decided that there was a need for a public hearing process that had somehow been left out of the mix! WHAT? More pubic process is always better, but a series of public hearings for this huge transmission project, both in length and capacity, isn’t too much to ask of Canada.  It’s expected!

Well, Manitoba Hydro is now agreeing to the public hearings… mighty nice of them.  Something tells me they had no choice.  It’s still up in the air how soon that will happen, but mark you calendars, because on January 17, Manitoba Hydor will make the announcement of the hearing dates and locations!

Published in CBC news:

Manitoba Hydro line to Minnesota to go through public hearing process

Despite delay, Crown corporation hopes $453M line will be complete by 2020

Manitoba Hydro accepts a decision by the federal government to put a transmission line to the U.S. through the public hearing process, officials at the Crown corporation say.

The province-owned utility was told in December that Ottawa officials had accepted a National Energy Board recommendation that the $453-million Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project go through a certificate process, which means it will be subject to more public hearings.

Hydro had instead sought a process in which the energy board would do a technical assessment and issue a permit to build the 213-kilometre transmission line without more public hearings. Hydro officials said a public hearing process involving all stakeholders, including Indigenous groups, had already been done by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission.

“We respect Ottawa’s decision to adopt the National Energy Board’s recommendation regarding a certificate process for the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project,” said Manitoba Hydro spokesperson Bruce Owen.

The public hearing process and final decision to approve the line by Ottawa must be completed within 15 months, the energy board said.

Owen also said Hydro officials are happy the energy board has “expeditiously issued a directive regarding commencement of the federal proceedings” and committed to a Hydro request to try to avoid duplication of other measures that were completed by the province and the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission.

Last year, the Crown corporation expressed concern that the National Energy Board certificate process would delay the project, but Manitoba Hydro still hopes to complete the project by 2020, said Owen.

In late December, Hydro asked the NEB for a Jan. 17 advertising deadline to let people know when and where the hearings will take place. Those dates and places have yet to be made public.

And an earlier article:

$453M Manitoba Hydro line to Minnesota could face delay after energy board recommendation


Filed under Canada permitting, Hearings, Meetings, Open Houses