Now that the evidentiary hearings and the public comment period are over, we move to the next step, in which our attorney, Paula Maccabee, prepares a written brief, including proposed findings of fact, to make our case for the judge. This brief is needed to make our case from the thousands of pages of testimony and exhibits. The utilities will pick and choose what they think helps them, and without a brief and findings, we have virtually no chance to have our view of the case accepted by the judge.

Here’s the gist of it:

  • Just say NO to the La Crosse line. It isn’t needed for renewable energy or for community reliability and would negatively impact the environment, particularly at the Mississippi River crossing.
  • Allow the Brookings line to be built only if there are conditions requiring it be used for wind, not fossil fuel.
  • Require the utilities to commit to Minnesota community based wind, not just large corporate wind projects.
  • Support conservation and renewable energy, rather than the current plan for the Fargo line which focuses on bulk power exports from North Dakota and could encourage more coal production
  • Minnesota has laws requiring 1.5% energy savings, renewable energy standards and prevention of increases in global warming emissions, and the CapX projects as proposed by the utilities do are not consistent with these requirements.

It costs money to make the case in a properly technical and complete manner such that it has a serious impact on the outcome. This is your chance to make a real difference for a sustainable energy future! Please help pay for this effort; please donate now.

Smart Grids on MPR

MPR’s Stephanie Hemphill had a good story on Smart Grids yesterday, in which Xcel Energy spokesman Tom Henley said

… the new technologies are expected to reduce Xcel’s power needs in the region by 7 percent.

Excel’s saying that?  I wonder if they said it in the CapX2020 application’s demand forecast.

Some experts say all this potential energy saving means we should re-think the electrical system from top to bottom.  Smart grid pilot projects on the West Coast have shaved 20 percent from peak demand — more quickly and more cheaply than building new power lines.

(Emphasis mine.)  So while CapX2020 extrapolates old trends to forecast increasing energy usage, other regions are reducing peak demand by 20% using smart grid technology.

The federal government wants state regulators to require utilities to at least consider smart grid technologies before they propose big projects like power plants or transmission lines — including projects like CapX 2020, where several utilities want to build four big new power lines criss-crossing the state.

Yes, CETF wants this too.  I guess we’ll see.

Read the whole story.