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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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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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ALLETE, GRE & MISO Joint Answer


ALLETE, Great River Energy and MISO have filed a response to the Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) and Residents and Ratepayers Against the Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line (RRANT) comments filed earlier this month:


Here are the previous filings in reverse chrono order:

Supplemental Protest_MRES_20160405-5187(31361348)






(search FERC dockets ER16-1107; ER16-1108 and ER16-1116 for initial filings)

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Annual Hearing – Power Plant Siting Act 12/1


I’m having a difficult time getting worked up about the PPSA Annual Hearing this year.  It’s the time we have to tell the Commission what does and does not work with the Power Plant Siting Act.  I’ve been at this for 20 years now, and it never ends, doesn’t change, so many of the same problems, over and over.  It is SO hard for people to participate and while it got better for a while, when people stood up and leveled the playing field, and with Gov. Ventura’s active outreach to the public, well, can’t have that happen, so then NSP’s big buck lobbyists changed the laws to their advantage (2001) and then bought off the funded intervenors and they rewrote the laws together (2003 & 2005) and now the head of one of those funded intervenors, the Waltons, is at Commerce in charge of utility permitting (CoN and Route/Siting) and another on the Commission.

Oh well, it’s that time again… Let’s all put this on our calendar and once more, with feeling, tell them what we really think!


Notice of the Power Plant Siting and Transmission Line Routing Program Annual Hearing

Issued: November 6, 2015

In the Matter of the 2015 Power Plant Siting Act Annual Hearing

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Docket Number: E999/M-15-785

Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Docket Number: 60-2500-32901

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Location: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, Saint Paul, MN 55101

Bad weather? Find out if a meeting is canceled. Call (toll-free) 1-855-731-6208 or 651-201-2213 or visit

Hearing Description

The annual hearing is required by Minnesota Statute § 216E.07, which provides that:

Thecommission shall hold an annual public hearing at a time and place prescribed by rule in order to afford interested persons an opportunity to be heard regarding any matters relating to the siting of large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines. At the meeting, the commission shall advise the public of the permits issued by the commission in the past year….

Note – No decisions about specific projects are made at the annual hearing.

Public Hearing Information

  • Public hearings start on time.
  • Arrive a few minutes early so you have time to sign in, pick up materials, and find a seat.
  • Administrative Law Judge James LaFave will preside over the hearing.
  • Public Utilities Commission and Department of Commerce staff members are available to answer questions about the Power Plant Siting Act processes and the projects.
  • You may add verbal comments, written comments, or both into the record.
  • Learn more about participating at a public hearing at
  • Judge LaFave will use information gathered at the public hearing and during the comment period to write a summary report for the Commission

Submit Comments

Topics for Public Comment:

  • Any matters related to the site permit process for large electric generating power plants and routing of high-voltage transmission lines.

Comment Period: November 6, 2015 through January 5, 2016 at 4:30pm.

  • Comments must be received by 4:30pm on the close date
  • Comments received after comment period closes may not be considered

Online Visit, select Speak Up!, find this docket (15-785), and add your comments to the discussion.

If you wish to include an exhibit, map or other attachment, please send your comments via eFiling (see below) or U.S. Mail.

Please include the Commission’s docket number in all communications.

Filing Requirements: Utilities and state agencies are required to file documents using the Commission’s electronic filing system (eFiling). All parties, participants and interested persons are encouraged to use eFiling:, select eFiling, and follow the prompts.

Important Comments will be made available to the public via the Public Utilities Commission’s website, except in limited circumstances consistent with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. The Commission does not edit or delete personal identifying information from submissions.

Hearing Agenda

I. Introductions
II.Overview of Programs
A. Public Utilities Commission – Facilities Permitting and Public Advisor
B. Department of Commerce – Energy Facilities Permitting Unit
C. Role of Other Agencies
III. Projects Reviewed
A. Projects Permitted in 2015
B. Pending and Anticipated Projects
C. Electric Facilities Subject to Power Plant Siting Act
1. Generating Plants
2. Transmission Lines
IV. Public Questions and Testimony
V. Adjourn

How to Learn More

Subscribe to the Docket: Subscribe to receive email notifications when new documents are filed. Note – subscribing may result in a large number of emails.

  2. Select Subscribe to a Docket
  3. Type your email address
  4. For Type of Subscription, select Docket Number
  5. For Docket Number, select 15 in the first box, type 785 in the second box
  6. Select Add to List
  7. Select Save

Full Case Record: See all documents filed in this docket via the Commission’s website –, select Search eDockets, enter the year (15) and the docket number (785), select Search.

Project Mailing Lists: Sign up to receive notices and opportunities to participate in other dockets relating to specific projects in which you are interested (meetings, comment periods, etc.). Contact or 651-201-2234 with the docket number, your name, mailing address and email address.

Minnesota Statutes and Rules: The hearing is being conducted according to Minnesota Statute 216E.07. Minnesota Statutes are available at

Project Contacts

Public Utilities Commission Public Advisor

Tracy Smetana –, 651-296-0406 or 1-800-657-3782

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Deliberation and Decision on GNTL at PUC today!

Right here, right now:

PUC Webcast

ALJ’s Recommendation_20153-108286-01

Staff Briefing Papers_20155-110199-01

Amended Findings of Fact and Decision Options_20155-110407-01

John Tuma as a Commissioner is surprising me, seems he’s really been doing his homework.  And Lipschultz, as always, is raising the right questions and doing some serious thinking.  These last two appointments have been good ones, it seems!

WOW, they’re saying that the calculation has not been done as to whether in the long run it is cheaper to pay Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) or Allowance For Used During Construction (AFUDC).  Then Tuma is noting CWIP is legislation, but it is only an option, not a requirement.  And no-one is noting that the CWIP option came in as part of the 2005 Transmission Bill from Hell.  As LPI notes, CWIP is not a mandate, and the burden of proof is on the Applicants to demonstrate that it is just and reasonable.  Moeller/MP claims it will be an additional $55 million for AFUDC rather than CWIP (and whines about harm to the company).  Moeller DOES admit that the CWIP legislation incentives transmission, DOH!

Heydinger is wanting to modify the ALJ’s Recommendation, to take out some “editorial” comments.  Strike paragraph 316 regarding “rate shock” and alter first part of FOF 317 about whether requiring AFUDC would harm MP…

Commissioner Lange is talking about approving CoN, that Commerce confirmed the load forecast, and that the Commission has had to revise prior decisions and that she takes that to heart.  Also takes into account the question of Manitoba Hydro’s interest.

Tuma also raises the needs of MP and its customers, and noted legislature wants us to think regionally, and that we’re mandated to figure it out.

Commissioner Wergin is not all that concerned about regional, they’ve been a good neighbor, they’re part of MISO.  And later, I’m amazed at how smooth the end result has been… I think that the company has followed through with informing the public… that has a lot to do with how smooth this has gone.

… sigh…

Certificate of Need approved.

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URGENT – TOMORROW – HF 341 in Committee!


Tomorrow the House Jobs Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee will take up HF 341, see also SF 237, to provide an exemption from Certificate of Need for natural gas plants that sell power into the MISO market.

SAY WHAT?!?!?!

The Power Plant Siting Act, specifically Minn. Stat. 216E.04, Subd. 2(2) already gives natural gas plants a free ride by allowing “alternate review,” which is “review lite.”  For example, the “Simon Says” 325 MW natural gas plant that had been planned for Waseca would have been built.  The 700-800 MW Sunrise River Station by the Chisago sub would have been built.  WHY?  Should a community be subject to living with a HUGE natural gas plant without regulation?  Nope, no way, no how.  Plus who will pay for the transmission interconnection, and how will that be regulated, both “need” and routing… and then there’s eminent domain!  What’s the impact on Minnesota utilities and their service territory?

Here are the Authors’ emails — contact them today:,,

Here are the Committee member emails — contact them today:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Please let them know how important it is that we continue to regulate natural gas plants.  A power plants is large, expensive infrastructure with large, costly impacts, and should only be built when and where needed, after a full Certificate of Need and Siting review.

Here’s an example of how it went in Waseca when they tried to bootstrap a larger plant onto an already approve very small plant — short version?  It didn’t go:

Blooming Grove Township — Sen. Dick Day shows his true colors

And in Chisago County where they tried to ram through a HUGE plant on the Sunrise River and pull out large amounts of water — short version?  It didn’t go:

LS Power’s Sunrise River plant voted DOWN!

Lent Twp voters say NO! to LS Power

LS Power’s Sunrise River Energy in the news

Report on Monday Chisago meeting

500+ give LS Power a piece of their mind

What about the Mesaba Project which has a site permit good until 2019, and which couldn’t demonstrate either “need” or that it would provide reasonably priced electricity — under this bill, a large natural gas plant could go up on that site without any further review!  More info HERE on Mesaba Project!

That’s what communities think of having a natural gas plant using their water, making noise, being lit up 24/7, and all for the profit of some absentee corporate owner:  Thanks, but NO THANKS!

Here’s the agenda for tomorrow:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

12:45 PM

Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Pat Garofalo
Overview of natural gas issues in Minnesota.If you wish to testify on HF341, please contact Committee Legislative Assistant, Jonathan Fortner, at
HF341 – (Swedzinski): Requirement to obtain certificate of need prior to construction of a natural gas plant generating electricity that is exported from the state eliminated.
Here’s the full text of HF 341:

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Write your Comments today and send to PUC!


It’s time to write your Comments about the Great Northern Transmission Line. This is in the Certificate of Need docket, so focus on whether this transmission project is needed or not, whether it’s for a private purpose or a public purpose and what that purpose is, and whether a megahuge 500 kV line is needed for the PPAs Minnesota Power claims to have lined up, i.e., 250 MW + 133 MW.

The deadline for public comments is this coming Wednesday, December 3, 2014.

Notice of Public Hearing & Comment

Here’s the part that relates to Public Comments – please note that comments should be sent to “” or faxed or mailed.  In a recent proceeding the comments that were directly eFiled were not included, only those sent as requested were included. SO LISTEN UP!

Send your comments using this format, with docket numbers on them, by 4:30 p.m. to address as below:

12Once more with feeling — send your comments, clearly, largely, referencing docket numbers PUC-E-015/CN-12-1163 and OAH 65-2500-31196, by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 3, to:


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Public Hearings for GNTL Certificate of Need

Apologies, I’ve been out of town and didn’t get last week’s hearings posted.  Here is the schedule for this next week, hearings next Tuesday and Wednesday on the Great Northern Transmission Line:

HearingSched_Oct14-15Now is the time to weigh in on need.  It’s now or never…


Below is the PUC’s abbreviated version of Certificate of Need process — we’re now at the “Public Hearing” stage, before the Evidentiary Hearing to be held next month.

PUC Process-Edited

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