From The Power Line  a blog hosted by Bill Howley

Scott Sklar is one of the most expert of US experts on decentralized power.  Here is a very informative article he posted recently on Renewable Energy World.  Mr. Sklar takes apart power company claims that by using modern decentralized power technologies, small scale electricity producers are getting a free ride from consumers stuck in the clutches of obsolete generation and distribution.

This is a must read for anyone wanting to know “the rest of the story.”  To read The Power Line blog, take a look here.

Just a note: Bill Howley is an avid blogger on energy issues.


By Bev Vaillancourt, CETF Board Member

As you may know, XCEL Energy and American Transmission Company (ATC)’s application for the Badger-Coulee line has been received by the Wisconsin PSC. Following that, SOUL and CETF separately applied to the Wisconsin PSC for intervenor funds to cover the cost of expert testimony as part of the application review process. Though together the request was for over $200,000, the Wisconsin PSC determined that the intervenor applications were duplicative enough to award a joint amount of $75,000.

With that decision, SOUL and CETF were faced with the problem of having to dramatically reduce what the two groups could offer in compensation to expert witnesses while still presenting a solid and compelling stance that the Badger Coulee line is 1) not needed, 2) environmentally harmful, and 3) economically obscene. In effect, SOUL and CETF were expected to divide the funds in any way the two groups could agree to do so.

After a great deal of introspection and discussion, the SOUL and CETF boards independently voted to join forces and dollars, with a focus on compensating key expert witnesses. A newly developed joint workplan, as required by the WPSC, will be submitted soon. A steering committee made up of 2 SOUL board members and 2 CETF board members has been formed to monitor progress of all documents required of expert witnesses, to ensure that filings with the WPSC are done in a timely manner, and to maximize our opportunities for collaboration and effective dissent.

Fund raising efforts are ongoing to try to maximize the dollars awarded by the WPSC. Look for more information on this website posted as this process unfolds.

We will keep you updated as more happens. The CETF Board is excited about working in joint effort with SOUL. In unity there is strength! The CETF board very much wants to hear from you. Feel free to post your thoughts to this blog.


Bill Howley writes….

If you want to see really high density HVtransmission, drive to Montreal.  There are huge lines all over the place on the south bank of the St. Lawrence.  And they are all because of Hydro Quebec’s huge, and I mean huge, hydropower system in northern Quebec.  If you are ever in Quebec City, go to the Quebec Museum there.  Hydro Quebec give them gazillions of dollars and got a big wing of its own to tout its hydro power developments on land and waters they stole from the Cree back in the 1960s and 1970s.  Strangers Devour the Land is an excellent account of this theft.

I’m a big fan of hydro power, but this is exactly what is happening now with Big Wind.  Big development of renewable resources must always happen in areas where the basic resource is maximized, because big, centralized development is so expensive.  That means exploiting high resource areas and, because these areas have relatively low population density, building massive transmission to reach high load areas.

Read more about North America’s love affair with transmission lines at The Power Line.


You’ve probably heard of the harmful health effects of the electromagnetic radiation (aka EMR or EMF) emitted by high voltage powerlines. You may also have heard that there’s no certain proof that the adverse health effects were caused by the EMF. It reminds one of how we heard for decades that there may or may not be a link between cigarettes and lung cancer. An extensive BioInitiative Report released last year makes a strong case that responsible public policy should limit public exposure to EMF. The report is long, but at least take a look at the Preface and the Summary and Conclusions section. The briefest summary starts on page 34.


The Citizens Energy Task Force has submitted expert testimony to the administrative law judge on the CapX2020 case. Arne C. Kildegaard, PhD, is associate professor of economics and management at the University of Minneota at Morris. His research and teaching focus on the economics of renewable energy. For a taste, see this article in the CURA Reporter. To read the CETF testimony, see the documents page.


Today’s Midmorning program on Minnesota Public Radio was a lively call-in on the topic of so-called “Clean Coal”. The Big Stone II coal power plant has of course been in the news lately, so this is a timely conversation. Check it out.


The Citizens Energy Task Force (CETF) is a coalition of neighbors and citizens concerned about the proposed CapX2020 high voltage transmission lines in Minnesota and Wisconsin. As a legally registered “intervening party” in the CapX2020 permitting process, we represent the concerns of citizens who question the need for these particular high voltage power lines, and who support clean, sustainable, locally-generated power sources.