Monthly Archives: October 2014

Rebuttal Testimony filed in GNTL Certificate of Need docket

overviewmapMISO map showing the point behind this project

Rebuttal testimony has been filed by the Applicant Minnesota Power and Dept. of Commerce Division of Energy Resorces (DoC-DER):

MP Testiony_Donohue_Rebuttal_201410-104117-02



The evidentiary hearing for this project begins on November 12, just over two weeks away!

Here’s the rest of the Minnesota Testimony filed previously:



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







Large Utility Intervenors:



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Pimicikamak take over Jenpeg Dam

Photo used from CBC at this link


Chief Cathy Merrick addressing the nation of Pimicikamak at Jenpeg

From their Pimicikamak Take Over Statement, issued today, Pimicikamak’s road map to positive change includes:

  • A public apology from Premier Greg Selinger for past and present harms suffered​ by all hydro-affected peoples and their lands.
  • A commitment from Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro to engage in a good-faith process to fulfill promises in the NFA, including measures related to community development, environmental mitigation and maximum employment opportunities.
  • A revenue sharing agreement and/or water rental arrangement with Pimicikamak.
  • A commitment from Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro to undertake a comprehensive review of how the northern hydropower system is operated with a view to minimizing environmental impacts.

Lots of press coverage yesterday and today.  Yesterday:

First Nation want to evict Hydro workers over flood damage concerns

Reserve, Hydro remain at odds

Cross Lake First Nation issues eviction notice to Manitoba Hydro, occupation …

Today – Manitoba Hydro has been evicted:

Manitoba Hydro evicted from northern dam station

Hydro employees evicted from Jenpeg by Pimicikamak First Nation members

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Filed under Canada permitting, Media

TODAY – Hearings at 11 & 6 in Grand Rapids


October 15

Yesterday’s hearing in Bigfork was not well attended, but despite the poor turnout, those who did show up had a lot to say and asked many good questions.

What was odd about this is that Intervenors were not required to be there (I’d missed the hearings last week), and no witnesses.  Dept. of Commerce DER had no one there either.  Mike Kaluzniak stated that there was ONE intervenor, the Large Power Intervenors.  EH?  HELLO!  Residents and Ratepayers Against Not-so-Great-Northern Transmission (RRANT) is an Intervenor with full party status.

There was also a question and some information presented about alternate routes — note the next/final workgroup meeting is October 29.  These meetings are open to the public, so if you are interested in the where and when, contact Bill Storm of Commerce EERA:

The comments were insightful, though many pertained to routing, not need.

Meloy Mattfield lives on the orange route, and he has a trail and spends a lot of time on that trail.  He wanted to know what a safe distance from the power line would be, given that he’s in the area regularly, and has grandchildren who are often there too.  He got the usual “causation has not been established” and was referred to the application section on EMF.  Later I was able to interject info about the epidemiological association of EMF with childhood leukemia.

Here are some articles with links from (website accessible via Wayback).

Here are some specifics from the routing application, and note there is no disclosure of the amps:

EMF1_RPA_Book1,Part2EMF2_RPA Book1There is more in Appendix I, so here it is — but note that it only relates to electric fields — is there more info somewhere?

20144-98342-04_Initial Filing – RPA_Appendix I

How to determine what’s safe?  Buy a gauss meter (some are cheap, some are not) and measure powerlines starting at the centerline, and moving out (when they’re running, ramped up!).  Keeping away from it until levels are under 2 mG would be a good bet.

Sally Sedgwick was concerned about the scenic wilderness southeast of Effie, and noted that even if the line creates a benefit for one area, is it acceptable to burden another with this line?  She requested that the line be co-located with pre-existing transmission )PUC pay attention, because that’s the requirement of PEER too).

PEER – use existing corridor!

She also asked what percentage of the MP budget is devoted to getting this permit.  It wasn’t clear to me whether this meant what % of MP’s budget is focused on getting this permit or what % of the line’s budget is permitting costs.  The latter was answered, as 1% of project costs are permitting costs.

She was also concerned about reduction of jobs at Boswell.  That seems inevitable, as it looks like they’ve retrofitted Boswell 4, are retrofitting 3, and are evaluating what to do about 1 & 2 (which are likely smaller and older units).  Moeller noted that Hoyt Lakes will be converted from coal to gas.

Moeller also stated that increased transfer capability attributable to this project is 883 MW (if so, why build such a large project).  I asked whether they’d be willing to limit it to that, as with the Arrowhead-Weston line with its 800 MW phase shifting transformer condition as part of the permit, and I got questioning looks and deferral to the evidentiary hearing.

Dean Sedgwick had a few interesting questions too!

How many lines would be reduced or eliminated with this?  None.

NOx, look at it and do comparison of generation?  None.

Line losses?  Answered with information about comparative voltages for transmitting electricity, and that this was best (includes all of eastern interconnect!).

What is impact of becoming dependent on a single point source (Manitoba Hydro) for such a large component of generation?  A: Not restrictive.  Working to be less reliant on coal.

Back of envelope calculation, 625/kW, higher cost for this project.  Is this the least cost option?  Coal is a low cost energy generator, is this lower cost than coal?  A: Wind and hydro are lowest cost, no fuel cost.  Have had issues with coal transport, and looking at rule changes.  They’re “not saying that adding this will offset coal, it might change dispatch” (which means to me that this project opens door to marketing their coal elsewhere, at the eastern end of the line).

He also had concerns about the change of rates through using a time of day supply, and the variability of those rates.

Is biomass part of the mix MP looks at?  Yes, but supply is issue (Moeller mentioned “railroad ties,” oh great, let’s breathe some of that!!).

Richard Reinhart lives between the orange and the blue options, 4.5 miles west of Hwy. 65.  Why no use the existing route?  If they make a new corridor, they don’t have the way to repair line.  Could build a larger line and remove the smaller one on that corridor.  If you did that, you’d be saving ecology, saving forest, and saving yourself a lot of trouble.  It’s claimed to be needed for more power, but Hibbing Taconite is likely  to close, and Essar, most of us will be dead by the time that gets going, if ever.

Mattfield agreed, that these places will be closing down, the supply is limited, 30 years or so, and that’s about up.

Gail Blackmer also urged them to use the existing corridor close th Hwy. 65.  She’s a resident on Deer Lake, and it would go between county and state camping areas.  Utilize the existing line, realize this is not a route hearing, but this is important.

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Filed under Certificate of Need

MP Updates to Info Request Responses


Minnesota Power has submitted some updated responses to Intervenor Information Requests.  The New Tie Line Loop Flow Impact Study Report-Rev1-FINAL is the most important update to the IRs :

RRANT – Overland – Cover Letter 9.24.14

RRANT IR 002 Supplemental – FINAL

New Tie Line Loop Flow Impact Study Report-Rev1-FINAL

Updates to Dept. of Commerce IRs (also re: new study!):

DOC – Hofschulte – Cover Letter 9.24.14

DOC IR 008 Supplemental – FINAL

New Tie Line Loop Flow Impact Study Report-Rev1-FINAL

Updates to Large Power Intervenors’ IRs:

LPI – Moratzka – Cover Letter 10.2.14

LPI IR 020 – Supplemental – FINAL


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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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