Meetings next week — Scope of Environmental Review

It’s that time — the PUC and Dept. of Commerce are holding meetings next week to get public input on the scope of the Environmental Review, which means what all will be covered in the “Environmental Report” (which is not as beefy as an Environmental Impact Statement, and no options for Comments except in Public Comments later on), so NOW, get your thoughts on what all should be covered:

Notice_Scoping Meetings_20141-95492-01

Scoping Comments are due by 4:30 p.m. on March 14, 2014.

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Here’s the bottom line — next week Roseau, Baudette and International Falls and the week after, Thief River Falls, Bemidji, and Grand Rapids:

PublicMeetingSchedWhat’s interesting in this case is that the “Regional Utilities” which is Xcel, Otter Tail Power, MRES have filed a Notice of Appearance, showed up at the Prehearing Conference, said they would be intervening, but they have not yet intervened as promised/threatened:

Notice Of Appearance_20141-95546-01

??? EH?  What’s up with that?  So I just gave Christi Brusven a call (I think I’ve not ever called her before, despite all that time in Goodhue, must have been dealing with Todd), and she says that they’re planning to intervene, but haven’t yet, and nope, no info on timeline, so here we are, waiting… waiting…

Here’s what they had to say in their comments about the “Western Option” that they’re planning on inserting:

As noted by Minnesota Power, a western 500 kV alternative to the Fargo area has been explored in the MISO process (the “Western Option”).  The Western Option provides a reasonable alternative to meet Minnesota Power’s current needs, facilitates use of the Commission-authorized, double-circuit-ready 345 kV line from Fargo to Monticello to address the potential need for future transmission capacity expansion, and collectively offers a cost effective solution at higher power transfer levels that may be required in the future.  We believe the Western Option can be developed in time to meet the needs presented and are willing to do so if called upon by the Commission.

At the Prehearing Conference Brusven made quite the statement, reiterating their position that “The Western Option provides a reasonable alternative,” and that they plan to intervene because they are wanting to introduce the “system alternative” of running pretty much straight south and connecting in to the CapX 2020 Fargo-Monticello line at Barnesville.  Regional Utilities_Comments  So we’ve got to make sure that this “system alternative” is in the environmental review — or make sure it’s NOT there so that it can’t be selected.  Hmmmmm… now what… what does this mean?  What do we do in the meantime?  I guess figure out the impact of this in case they really do try to push for it (and given Xcel’s little powerplay on the Badger Coulee transmission line with ATC, I expect that they will go forward and throw their weight around!).

Dorsey_CapX_System_AlternativeI believe they’re already planning on running a transmission line essentially parallel with Interstate 29, but what’s that in relation to this?

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