Category Archives: Maps

Is it all connected?

You may be familiar with Enbridge’s Sandpiper pipeline, soon to be applied for and on a route similar to that of the Not-So-Great Northern transmission line.  As if that isn’t bad enough, last week, Minnesota Power announced another intersection between transmission lines and pipelines…

Looking at the footprints of the Not-So-Great Northern transmission line and Sandpiper pipeline, at what’s been proposed thus far, it seems that it fits together, that combining them is the rest of the story.

But does it?  What does Minnesota Power have in mind with its “Energy Corridor?”  There’s the Not-So-Great Northern Transmission Line (Minnesota Power’s Great Northern Transmission Line), and there’s the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline, look at the maps and similar routes.  But is it all connected?  Or is there even more in store?  How much do these companies want?

The Not-So-Great Northern Transmission Line:

overviewmap

And there’s the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline:

Map_NoticePlan

And then there’s this, the Allete Energy Corridor and it looks quite different:

ALLETE_EnergyCorridor

There are significant differences… the Allete Energy Corridor is further south, headed straight east to Duluth.  But look at the map that is in the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline Notice Plan, the “Preferred Route.”  It’s also south:

Sandpiper pdf Overview_Notice Maps_MN_090913

Do they need both? the diagonal route to Duluth and the one straight across Minnesota?  Is this all one and the same project(s)?  Or worse, are they planning multiple corridors?  As we say in transmission, it’s all connected.

So do tell, what’s the connection with or difference between the corridors of these announced projects, one transmission and one pipeline, and this “energy corridor.”  Enbridge must submit more detailed maps for the Notice Plan, so we should see soon their “preference.”

Meanwhile, what’s Allete up to?  Seems it started over two years ago:

ALLETE Clean Energy Press Release   7.28.11

And then last Wednesday:

ALLETE Energy Corridor Would Offer Efficient Movement of Multiple Products, from Flared Gas to Water

by Business Wire via The Motley Fool Sep 25th 2013 12:30PM
Updated Sep 25th 2013 12:32PM

ALLETE Energy Corridor Would Offer Efficient Movement of Multiple Products, from Flared Gas to Water to Carbon

N.D. governor supports comprehensive solution

BISMARCK, N.D.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– ALLETE (NYS: ALE) today laid out its vision for a comprehensive energy transportation corridor that could help provide solutions for the movement of natural gas, petroleum products, water and wastewater, wind energy and future sequestered carbon across a coordinated, shared right-of-way.

The energy corridor’s backbone would follow an existing 465-mile path that contains a direct current transmission line running between Center, N.D. and Duluth, Minn. This 250-kilovolt line, purchased in 2009, is used to transmit electric energy from the lignite-fired Young Generating Station in Center and the nearby Bison Wind Energy Center to Duluth, Minn., home of the nation’s busiest inland seaport. The energy corridor would expand a pathway along strategic portions of the existing right of way to minimize land use and optimize energy delivery infrastructure development within North Dakota.

A top priority of the ALLETE Energy Corridor is to develop an extension of the existing energy delivery path some 60 miles westward to the burgeoning Bakken shale oil fields of west-central North Dakota. ALLETE subsidiary ALLETE Clean Energy has been working diligently with potential partners to study the co-location of facilities and assess the capital needs for the Bakken link. It is envisioned that various lengths of the corridor would be used for different purposes.

“We see the ALLETE Energy Corridor as a comprehensive infrastructure solution in North Dakota that could serve many products and producers across the region,” said ALLETE President, Chairman and CEO Alan R. Hodnik. “We value Gov. Dalrymple’s support of our vision and appreciate him bringing it forward to other members of the state’s energy sector.”

“ALLETE has been invested in North Dakota for decades,” Hodnik added. “We are confident that our rich history of partnering with others can help forge creative solutions to today’s new challenges facing energy markets in the Upper Midwest.”

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple voiced support of the ALLETE Energy Corridor today in remarks to EmPower North Dakota, a commission established to develop a comprehensive energy policy for the state. He said the energy corridor concept is a prime example of the way business can creatively tackle pressing problems like the proliferation of flare gas at oil wells dotting the Bakken field, and the traffic tie-ups caused by too many trucks and trains hauling petroleum products to market.

“The ALLETE Energy Corridor is a breakthrough opportunity to reduce flaring by locating a major natural gas pipeline from the Bakken to eastern markets,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “While the corridor would support the transfer of many energy resources, it could also carry carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants to western North Dakota for use in advanced oil recovery.”

The ALLETE Energy Corridor could accommodate several pipelines capable of transporting natural gas that would otherwise be flared, as well as wastewater and carbon sequestered from fossil fuel generation. Future wind expansions could also benefit.

“We look forward to working with project developers and government officials to implement this vision,” said Eric Norberg, president of ALLETE Clean Energy. “We have an opportunity to pursue investments that will help solve some current issues and lay the groundwork for more efficient movement of energy products, water and wastewater in the future.”

More information about the ALLETE Energy Corridor can be found www.ALLETECleanEnergy.com.

ALLETE, Inc., an energy company based in Duluth, Minn., has a well-established presence in North Dakota that includes BNI Coal, now undergoing a major expansion to extend coal delivery to its partner Minnkota Power, and the Bison Wind Energy Center, where work on a $350 million fourth phase is scheduled to begin this year. ALLETE’s energy businesses also include Minnesota Power, Superior Water, Light & Power Co. and ALLETE Clean Energy. More information about the company is available at www.allete.com.

The statements contained in this release and statements that ALLETE may make orally in connection with this release that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and investors are directed to the risks discussed in documents filed by ALLETE with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

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Need for the Great Northern Transmission Line?

It’s all about need.  They’re starting out with a Certificate of Need proceeding, where the applicant has to demonstrate to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that the project is needed.

To see what’s happened so far on this docket, and to subscribe so you receive notice of filings and can keep up to date, go to the PUC’s Search Docket page, and search for this docket, 12-1163.

What reasons does Minnesota Power give as the need for this line, what type of need, how much?  Here’s what their Notice of Intent to File for a Presidential Permit says:

So of the ~1200 MW capacity, 250 MW is for a Power Purchase Agreement and 750 MW is for export.  1/4 is for an identified claimed need, and 3/4 is for marketing bulk power… to where?  Minnesota Power doesn’t say…

Here’s their Letter of Intent:

Notice of Intent – Presidential Permit

So what’s the plan here?  This is the map of options studied at MISO:

As you can see, the idea is to bring the power down from Manitoba Hydro, across northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, over the up and down toward Detroit.  That map is taken from the MISO Northern Area Study, as reported to the Committee on February 12, 2013:

20130212 Northern Area Study TRG Presentation

And starting from that map of ideas, the result is that it just doesn’t make economic sense:

So what are they going to do?  Will they really go forward with only a part of it?  Well, the Northern Area Study Report is pretty definite:

And another choice snippet:

Throughout the Northern Area Study, a total of thirty-eight different mitigation plans were proposed and evaluated. The Northern Area Study used an iterative process to refine projects. Generally, production cost saving potential for the Northern Area Study footprint was low as a result of the inclusion of the Multi-Value Project (MVP) portfolio approved in MTEP11, decreased forecasted demand growth rates, and low natural gas prices.

Here’s the entire report:

MISO Northern Area Study Final Report

So why is Minnesota Power going forward?  For the 75% market opportunity? That’s the driver for this part of the larger project to Michigan:

And here’s what Manitoba Hydro wants:

And as above, it doesn’t make economic sense.  So then what?  Can they build a line that they can’t justify economically???  Nope.  They’ve got to demonstrate they NEED it!

Stay tuned… I’ve got to run to the Ambulance Garage in Baudette!

 

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This evening’s Open House

This evening was an open house in Thief River Falls, and tomorrow is Lancaster, Thursday is Greenbush and Roseau, Friday is Baudette:

Next time, I hope they put feet on the floor so people will know where to go — it was kind of a hike and more than a few were confused by in the door, across the lobby, into the hockey rink, around the corner, down the stairs, down some more stairs, and then down the hall a bit and to the right:

DSC01661

DSC01655

DSC01656

DSC01657

DSC01658

 

DSC01660

Whew… made it down to the meeting!

DSC01659

As the unofficial greeter, letting everyone know how to get to the meeting, and of course handing out a Flyer for Open Houses, I talked to everyone who came in, and it was well attended!  And of course, good treats!

The main thing that I learned is that they’ve “refined” the routes, meaning they’re now highly processed and there’s much less real estate at issue.  Here is their MAP PAGE.  The map is kinda weird, so you have to click on it to get the new big map, from which to select the smaller maps.

Check it out, more later… it’s been a long day.  Tomorrow will be better.

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Transmission on the Range!

Posted previously on www.legalectric.org on November 4, 2012:

 GNTL_XmsnCorridors

It never ends.  Last week, open house meetings began for Minnesota Power’s recently announced Great Northern Transmission Line.

Great Northern Transmission Line meetings this week

Great Northern?  I guess we’re either being railroaded or being sold beans…

 locomotive_great_northern_railway_us i-beans-grnorth

Wednesday, November 7th

11:00 am – 1pm

Hermantown Government Services Building, Training Center Room
5105 Maple Grove Road
Hermantown, MN 55811

 

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Sawmill Inn
2301 South Highway 169
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Thursday, November 8th

11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Hibbing Memorial Building Arena, Downstairs Dining Room
400 East 23rd Street
Hibbing, MN 55746

5:00 – 7:00 pm

Meadowlands Community Center
7758 Western Avenue
Meadowlands, MN 55765

I have a few questions, of course, that’s my job, but first, in Minnesota, transmission corridors are to be used, routes that don’t utilize existing corridors.  From an old EQB transmission map, here’s what I’ve got in that general area:

existingxmsngntlcorridors

And from an old MAPP map, between Blackberry and Hermantown, two named substations that this line will connect:

 corridors2blackberry

Again, this is an old map, and some things have changed…

  • one thing that’s clear from the MP map, if you zoom in, or go to google earth, the line going from Cohasset to Blackberry on the north, there are TWO lines in that corridor.  Need more info.
  • What are the conductor specs?  The line ratings are here in the MTEP 12 Appendix A, but why a 500kV line for so little MVA (click chart below for larger version)?

mtep12

 

To look at the Certificate of Need docket, go HERE – PUC’S SEARCH DOCKET PAGE and search for docket 121163.  After you look it up, you can subscribe for notice of future filings by clicking “SUBSCRIBE” and following the directions!

The Notice Plan is up for review:

Minnesota Power’s Notice Plan for Great Northern Transmission Line

This is the plan by which they’ll give people notice about the pending Certificate of Need application, and Comments are due by 4:30 p.m. November 19, 2012, and Reply Comments are due by 4:30 p.m. December 10, 2012. Email comments with “Notice Plan Comments  Docket 12-1163” in the subject and body of email to: burl.haar@state.mn.us.

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Filed under Maps, Open Houses