Category Archives: Need

Initial Briefs filed

FooL_Briefs

Initial Briefs filed thus far (they’re due by 4:30).

Minnesota Power – Initial Brief_201412-105592-02

       Minnesota Power – ProposedFindings_201412-105592-03

RRANT – Initial Brief

Commerce – Initial  Brief_201412-105596-02

I’ve not seen one yet from “Large Power Intervenors” — where arrrrrrrre you?!?!

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Filed under Certificate of Need, Need, PUC Filings

Useful information? Please donate!

Cash-Register

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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Filed under Certificate of Need, Environmental Review, Hearings, Information Requests, Need, Open Houses, Presidential Permit

Minnesota Power’s Direct Testimony Filed

pilesOfiles

Oh, it’s been a busy week, and it’s only Wednesday.  Buried alive in paper, as I frantically try to sort out the old files from my other office, get rid of the dusty, moldy things from over a decade ago, and what does Minnesota Power do but dump 20 pounds of Direct Testimony.  On the other hand, it does look like good stuff, a stimulating read, lots of fun to be had over the weekend!

MP_Testimony_Atkinson_Direct_20148-102147-02

MP_Testimony_Donahue_Direct_20148-102147-04

MP_Testimony_Hobert_Direct_20148-102147-06 MP_Testimony_Hobert_Direct_Sched2_20148-102147-06-2 MP_Testimony_Hobert_Direct_Sched3_20148-102147-06 MP_Testimony_Hobert_Direct_Sched4_20148-102147-06-2

MP_Testimony_McMillan_Direct_20148-102147-03

MP_Testimony_Rudeck_Direct_20148-102147-07

MP_Testimony_Winter_Direct_20148-102147-09

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Filed under Certificate of Need, Hearings, Need, PUC Filings

Demand down, “It’s a new world for us” utilities!

I love it when this happens — when the truth is so obvious that they can no longer deny it:

Energy Lag

This decreased demand is the reason they want us to pay for transmission lines across the U.S. so they can market all this surplus power in locations where prices are higher.  DOH!

Electricity Sales Anemic for Seventh Year in a Row – WSJ July 28 2014

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Filed under Certificate of Need, MISO, Need, Uncategorized

Will Braun’s OpEd in the Winnipeg Free Press

ConawapaBefore ConawapaAfter ConawapaBefore

Conawapa Dam — who needs it?  Who wants it?  Again, it’s that difference between need, and public purpose, and what it is that the utilities want.  WANT.  DESIRE.  It’s anything but need.

A deal was struck so this damn dam would be built, but things have changed, and the Wuskwatim dam is losing money.  Now Conawapa, to throw good money after bad?  Why?  So Manitoba Hydro can make even more electricity to export for profit?  Minnesota Power too?  Will this business plan be any better?

Dam deal loses shine

First Nations gambled on bold talk of prosperity

Premier Greg Selinger once said Manitoba Hydro’s partnerships with First Nations “yield phenomenal social licence.”

Indeed, the fact five hydro-affected First Nations have joined Hydro in development of new dams has lent moral clout to the utility’s ambitious plans.

That moral high ground is eroding. Hydro’s “new era” of northern dealings is in trouble as it sits on the brink of committing to the $6.5-billion Keeyask project.

Phase one of the new era was the Wuskwatim Dam, which went into operation in 2012. Hydro offered Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation the option to purchase a 33 per cent share in the dam.

Hydro, government and NCN said the partnership held great promise for the future. In 2011, a band councillor said Wuskwatim would earn up to $40 million a year, a third of it going to NCN.

It hasn’t worked out that way. According to Hydro, NCN’s share of Wuskwatim’s losses will total $24 million for the past fiscal year and a combined $134 million over the first decade of the dam’s operation.

That’s worth another take. The community of 4,800 people, 80 kilometres west of Thompson, has invested $108.4 million — most of it borrowed from Hydro — in a venture that is predicted to lose the community $134 million over 10 years.

Welcome to the new era.

Hydro has said NCN will not actually have to pay the utility for its share of annual losses, as the original agreement would have required. Hydro will cover those losses for now, incorporating them into its long-term financial agreement with NCN, essentially borrowing from NCN’s future profits to pay for present losses.

One way or another, NCN is stuck with the losses.

Hydro is also stuck with its share of losses, but that’s different. It simply passes them on to ratepayers. But NCN doesn’t have the option of raising anyone’s rates because its revenue stream is based on export prices, not domestic rates.

To be fair, NCN’s benefits from Wuskwatim also included a $5.7-million adverse-effects settlement as well as training and employment opportunities. Hydro and governments spent $60 million on a training program centred at NCN. About one-third of person-hours of employment during the construction of the dam went to NCN members. Less impressive were the turnover rate of 41 per cent and the average duration of employment: eight months.

That was the construction boom. At last report, only four NCN members work at long-term jobs at the dam.

Now four other First Nations — Tataskweyak, York Factory, Fox Lake and War Lake — are lined up for similar “new era” agreements on the proposed $6.5-billion Keeyask dam. They can purchase a combined stake of up to 25 per cent in the dam if they come up with about $375 million.

The “Keeyask Cree Nations” negotiated another option that would amount to a roughly two per cent stake in the dam, with a guaranteed minimum annual payment whether or not the dam makes money. Of course, the payments to the communities would be far less than the windfall once touted under the 25 per cent share.

The current assumption is the KCNs will choose this “preferred” option, providing the First Nations a combined $5 million annually in the early years of the dam.

These communities agreed to the dams based in part on the bold talk of hefty profits and a prosperous future. But the deals were negotiated before the recession and the spike in shale-gas production sank the export market, which is key to the profitability of the dams.

How would they vote today?

What happens if they toss their partnership agreements in the murky old-era waters of the Nelson River, either now or in a decade? Legally they can’t, but morally who could fault future generations for defying this form of partnership?

Hydro’s First Nations partners used to defend the new dams vehemently.

No one talks that way anymore. KCN leaders are contractually required to speak in favour of the dams, but the vigour is largely gone. And the behind-the-scenes grumbling is leaking out.

That’s not what Hydro and Selinger want to hear after paying northern First Nations $241 million for negotiation costs since 1999.

Selinger said last year Hydro’s “legacy of bitterness” in the north has been replaced by a spirit of partnership. Sadly, the new era of dams may exacerbate the bitterness rather than heal it.

Add that social risk to the massive financial risk of Keeyask, and Manitobans should ask whether Hydro has general societal approval to proceed with the dam.

By July, when Hydro wants to start building Keeyask, our utility is likely to have an Environment Act licence and a Water Power Act licence for the megaproject. But will it have a legitimate social licence?

 Will Braun works for the Interchurch Council on Hydropower.

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Filed under Canada permitting, Media, Need

Odd MISO filings at FERC

Miso-Soup-2

Today I received notice of some sort of odd filings at FERC by MISO… oh, not that type, THIS type, the Midcontinent Independent Service Operator, f/k/a Midwest Independent Transmission Service Operator, type:

MISO-HQ

Here is what they’ve filed:

2014-04-21 Docket No. ER14-1748-000_1 of 2

2014-04-21 Docket No. ER14-1749-000_2 of 2

First, these were both “initial” filings, with docket number blank, and it’s Part 1 of 2 and Part 2 of 2, so I think that the docket numbers may be combined, one or the other eliminated, soon.

What they’re doing is eliminating a trust provision in a Coordinated Agreement between MISO and Manitoba Hydro which contained a trust, and that part of the agreement is being eliminated because JP Morgan has pulled out of being the trustee and they can’t find another trustee.  ???

What’s that about?  I’m presuming there’s a backstory here.  Ideas, anyone?

 

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Filed under MISO, Need

Responses to initial Information Requests

mailbox

Fresh from the Inbox, Minnesota Power has responded to RRANT’s initial Information Requests:

RRANT_IR_001 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_002 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_003 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_004 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_005 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_006 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_007 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_008 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_009 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_010 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_011 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_012 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_013 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_014 – FINAL

RRANT_IR_015 – FINAL

Some will seem repetitive, but I’m just going around the same thing several ways…

The most interesting to me are the links in the response to IR 4 for MISO and other studies to justify or support building the GNTL project, THANK YOU Minnesota Power FOR SENDING WORKING LINKS:

System Impact Study (SIS) reports and meeting presentations

Draft SIS Report Prior Outage & Injection Analysis              7/9/2010

Draft SIS Report – TO Option                                                     4/26/2010

Additional Impact Analysis Draft Report                                 4/20/2010

Executive Summary (Final Report)                                           7/20/2009

Final SIS Report Summer Peak analysis                                   7/20/2009

Final SIS Report Winter Peak analysis                                      7/20/2009

Final SIS Report Stability analysis                                              7/20/2009

Updated Draft Stability SIS Report analysis                            6/29/2009

Updated Draft SIS Report- Winter Peak analysis                   6/29/2009

Updated Draft SIS Report- Summer Peak analysis               6/29/2009

Draft Stability analysis                                                                 4/30/2009

Draft SIS Report- Winter Peak analysis                                   3/20/2009

Draft SIS Report- Summer Peak analysis                                 3/11/2009

Draft SIS Report                                                                             1/13/2009

Preliminary Draft SIS Report                                                    12/16/2008

LT MH Study Screening results                                                  1/21/2009

MH_TSR_Group Study_Transmission Options                    1/21/2009

Facilities Study Reports and meeting presentations

MH-MP_AC_Thermal_Sensitivity_Analysis-Eastern_Plan-Draft_Report-01-07-13.pdf

MH-MP_AC_Thermal_Sensitivity_Analysis-Western_Plan-Draft_Report-01-07-13.pdf

MH-MP TSR meeting Feb 2013                                  3/6/2013

MH-MP TSR meeting Jan 2013_EPL                          1/8/2013

MH-MP AC Thermal Sensitivity Analysis – Draft Report – 01-03-2013      1/8/2013

Dorsey – Iron Range 500 kV Project Preliminary Stability Analysis – Draft Report – 12-5-2012    1/8/2013

MH Group Study Option 1 FS                                                      6/1/2010

MH Group Study CapX – TO presentation                              11/4/2009

CapX FS proposal presentation                                                  11/4/2009

Additional Analysis Scope document                                       11/4/2009

Final FS Report (GRE)                                                                1/19/2010

 

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Filed under Information Requests, Need, PUC Filings, Uncategorized

Scheduling Order for GNTL need docket

Remember, this upcoming week is the start of the Environmental Scoping meetings (not hearings):

PublicMeetingSched

Scoping Comments are due by 4:30 p.m. on March 14, 2014.  Send to bill.storm@state.mn.us

See you in Roseau at the Civic Center on Tuesday, but don’t expect green grass or baskets of flowers, but there will be a heat wave, with a high expected of +19 degrees:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As for the overall schedule, here it is, the 1st Prehearing Order was issued last week, and it’s pretty much the same as previously noted:

Scheduling Order_1 PHO_20141-95906-01

And here are the cut and paste charts:

And the OAH Hearing parts:

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Filed under Hearings, Meetings, Need

Notice of Public Info & ER Meetings

It’s official — the PUC and Dept. of Commerce have issued Notice of the meetings in February:

Notice_ScopingMeetings_20141-95492-01

Scoping Comments are due by 4:30 p.m. on March 14, 2014.  Send to bill.storm@state.mn.us

And here’s the schedule of the meetings — I think I’m going to opt out of Thief River Falls and Bemidji given the corridor options now:

PublicMeetingSched

EnvRev

But something on the maps bears a second look — the western route headed south from the border crossing down around Red Lake seems to have disappeared.  Is that correct?  I’m waiting to hear… and the verdict is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

This is the map we recently sent out to LGUs 90 days in advance of filing the route permit as required by Minn. Stat. 216E.03, subd. 3a as well as landowners.  Those are the routes we are going to put in the route permit application.  On the CoN scoping meetings we started with a larger study area and Notice Plan area so our thought was we still need to have coverage in that area and MPUC Staff agreed, though I’m not sure how many folks will attend in Bemidji or Thief River Falls. 

RouteCorridors

 

 

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Filed under Meetings, Need

Scheduling for GNTL Certificate of Need proceeding

We’re inching forward in the scheduling for the Not-so-Great Northern Transmission line proceeding at OAH.  Commerce and Minnesota Power have sent in proposals, Commerce for the public hearings across the state, and MP for the whole shebang!

The Prehearing Conference is on Friday, THIS Friday, the 17th at 10 a.m. in the PUC’s Small Hearing Room.

Here are the proposals, starting with the TENTATIVE public hearing schedule:

PublicHearingSched

Here’s MP’s proposed environmental review schedule (and it’s way too ambitious, Commerce can’t get anything done that fast, we’re always waiting for environmental review, and the public hearings shouldn’t be held before that’s done!):

MPsEnvRevSched

And MP’s Hearing schedule (HA!):

MPsHearingSched

Less than a year for a 200+ mile part of a US/Canadian 500 kV line?  You be dreamin’.

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Filed under Hearings, Meetings, Need, PUC Filings