The CapX2020 utilities have already made their application for a 345 kV power line from Brookings County, South Dakota to Hampton, Minnesota.

PUBLIC MEETINGS have been scheduled starting March 30, in various communities near the route of the Brookings power line. The dates and places of meetings are provided below. Continue reading BROOKINGS 345 kV POWER LINE MEETINGS START MARCH 30

urgent: Will Land Owners be Fairly Compensated?

URGENT……..Senator Kevin Dahle and Representative David Bly have authored bills to fix the PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATION EMINENT DOMAIN EXEMPTION, and Rep. Bly’s bill will be heard tomorrow, Friday at 1:00 PM, ROOM 10 of the State Office Building.  Please show up to support passage of this bill out of committee.  It is vital to getting the bill eventually to the floor of the legislature for a vote. Continue reading urgent: Will Land Owners be Fairly Compensated?

“Smart Grid” is becoming a mainstream concept

The “Smart Grid” concept is getting increasing mainstream press, but the discussion has so far been mostly about a national system, designed without sufficient regard to the needs of the localities that would host the powerlines. The goal of the “National Smart Grid” you read about is to increase markets for the established power companies, and it depends on long-distance high-voltage power lines delivering power across the country for the benefit of far-away customers and far-away power company owners. The kind of smart grid we envision would be owned locally, and designed for small- and medium-scale locally owned energy production for the benefit of local economies. For this to happen, energy regulations must be updated to free the energy market and unleash entrepreneurial ingenuity to bring a variety of energy sources to market. This is one reason why CETF has intervened in the CapX2020 process. Although we are disappointed that the judge has recommended PUC approval of CapX2020, we are gratified that articles such as “A SMART GRID, YES. A NEW NATIONAL GRID, NO.” by David Morris are getting more attention, and the New York Times has run an excellent opinion piece called “HOME-GROWN POWER” by Massachusetts secretary of energy and environmental affairs Ian Bowles.

Local coverage: State judge approves power line project

From the Winona Daily News (and there is a similar blurb in the LaCrosse Tribune):

By RYAN STOTTS | Lee Newspapers

The power line project known as CapX2020 has a judge’s blessing.

Minnesota Administrative Law Judge Beverly J. Heydinger recommended Friday the $2 billion project be approved.
“We put together a very strong case for the need for the project, and that’s reflected in her decision,” said CapX2020 spokesman Tim Carlsgaard.

The 345-kilovolt power lines would cross the Mississippi River at one of three cities — Winona, Alma, Wis., or La Crescent, Minn. — and then to substations in La Crosse or Holmen.

The route will not be determined until late 2010, Carlsgaard said.

Two additional 345-kilovolt lines into the Twin Cities, one from Fargo, N.D. and one from Brookings, S.D., and a third 230-kilovolt line from Bemidji, Minn., to Grand Rapids, Minn., are included in the project.

Attorney Paula Maccabee, who represented the Citizens Energy Task Force opposed to the project, said the decision indicates the regulatory system is “broken.”

“CapX2020 didn’t have to prove that these power lines are the best alternative, or that they would carry wind energy rather than dirty coal,” Maccabee said.

“The burden of the proof to show alternatives was placed on basically unfunded, grassroots citizens,” she said.

Note that Minnesota statute requires the applicant to carry that burden.