1 Summary of the OMS Transmission Planning & Siting Work Group by vmarcelo


									     Summary of the OMS Transmission Planning & Siting Work Group
                     Northwest Subgroup Meeting
                        September 20-22, 2006
                             St. Paul, MN

The OMS Northwest Subgroup had its second in-person meeting in St. Paul on
September 20-22, 2006. The following staff participated: Iowa: Amy
Christensen. Minnesota: Bob Cupit, Marya White, Steve Rakow, and David
Birkholz. North Dakota: Jerry Lein and Patrick Fahn. South Dakota: Martin
Bettmann. Wisconsin: Don Neumeyer.
Steve Rakow is an economist and principal analyst on need review for electric
transmission projects. David Birkholz is a siting project manager. Marya, Steve,
and David are with the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Bill Malcolm from MISO sat in for part of the meeting.

The goals for the meeting were to:
   1) Compare Minnesota's and South Dakota's transmission siting processes
      and explore ways to coordinate them for interstate transmission lines;
   2) Do the same with Minnesota's and North Dakota's processes;
   3) Develop ideas for two-state comparisons;
   4) Discuss Tasks 4 and 8; and
   5) Plan for next steps.

The meeting was a great success and all agreed that committing the time and
effort to meet in person was very productive.

On Wednesday, September 20, some Northwest Subgroup members attended
the MISO meetings at the Saint Paul Hotel. In the evening, Bob Cupit, Jerry
Lein, and Amy Christensen went to dinner with Bill Smith and MISO and FERC

On Thursday, September 21, Bob Cupit again did a fine job hosting our meeting
at the Minnesota Public Utility Commission offices. (even providing home-grown
honey crisp apples)

Bob told us there is FERC and utility interest in the work of the Northwest
Subgroup. He also mentioned he had talked with Manitoba Hydro in September
about our Northwest Subgroup work. There is apparently no one in the Manitoba
government with similar responsibilities to us who could discuss things as we are
doing. However, Bob will touch base with them periodically.

Bob gave us background information regarding the CapX Notice Plans for the
Minnesota PUC meeting to be held in the afternoon. In Minnesota, an applicant
must file a Notice Plan three months prior to filing an application, and the PUC
must approve the Notice Plan. The purpose of the Notice Plan is to give the
public notice that a company will be filing an application and preliminary

information about the proposed project. There are three proposed CapX projects
to be considered: one crossing the Minnesota-South Dakota border, one crossing
the Minnesota-North Dakota border, and one crossing the Minnesota-Wisconsin
border. Minnesota's Steve Rakow said he would ask the Minnesota PUC to
order the utilities to include the other affected neighboring states in the utilities'
CapX Notice Plans at the afternoon meeting. Marya and Bob said that
Minnesota could start requiring utilities to include affected neighboring states in
their Notice Plans. They would like similar notification from the neighboring
states when they learn of projects that would go into Minnesota. The NW
Subgroup agreed this would be a good idea. Each state should designate a
contact person and let Minnesota and the other neighboring states know who in
their state should be notified. Also, should notification go to both someone at the
PUC and someone in the Governor's office?

Minnesota and South Dakota compared their states' permitting and siting
processes in detail, looking for opportunities to coordinate and ways to share
information. As part of this, they also talked about the proposed Big Stone
transmission project that would cross the Minnesota-South Dakota border.

In the early afternoon, Jerry attended the MISO/MAPP meeting and the rest of us
attended the Minnesota PUC meeting. At the Minnesota PUC meeting, staff
requested, and the Commission ordered Xcel and the other utilities to include
neighboring affected states in their CapX Notice Plans. Jim Alders from Xcel
spoke with Martin Bettmann and asked him when they were going to start talking
about coordination with South Dakota, Minnesota, and Xcel.

After the PUC meeting, Minnesota and South Dakota continued their 2-State pair

On Friday, we began with Minnesota and North Dakota comparing their states'
permitting and siting processes. As part of this they discussed the proposed
Fargo-Benton County CapX transmission project that would cross the Minnesota-
North Dakota border.

We discussed the work that has been done on Task 4. NW Subgroup members
have a variety of concerns about the current version of Task 4. Is Task 4 useful?
What parts of it are useful? Should it be revised, and if so, in what way? Do we
want to include ranges of times or average times for each step? Do we want to
limit Task 4 to the regulatory part? Should each state be listed separately so we
can more accurately reflect each state's regulatory process? For example, we
could use the summary of elements for each state in Task 3 and then plug in the
times for each element for each state. Do we want to keep working on Task 4?
Iowa also has the concern that the numbers shown for Iowa are not accurate.
Don N. has the Iowa corrected numbers we sent him and could correct Task 4 for
Iowa. We decided that we would think about this and decide what to do about
Task 4 at the next telephone meeting.

We discussed each state's progress on Task 8 and moved the deadline to
provide responses to Amy to October 15, 2006. Amy will correct the Northwest
Subgroup Task Chart, email it to the group, and ask Julie to post the corrected
list on the OMS website.

Amy agreed to draft a summary of the meeting and email it to the group.

Minnesota and South Dakota have already created flow charts of their
permitting/siting processes. It would be helpful if North Dakota, Iowa, and
Wisconsin create similar flow charts and share them with the NW Subgroup. Bob
Cupit agreed to try to write down North Dakota's flow chart as identified at this
meeting and email it to the rest of us.

Don Neumeyer told Amy of a possible transmission line that would cross the
Iowa-Wisconsin border and will email further details.

Bob, Marya, and Don talked after the meeting about the CapX proposed line that
would cross the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

At our last in-person meeting in April, we committed to sharing filled-out
applications with each other. Iowa provided completed applications to the other
states at that meeting. Minnesota's applications are on line. Bob will email us a
docket number so we can find an application on the Minnesota website. He
showed us an example of a completed application that was a multi-volume
notebook. Don N. said he gave a partial Wisconsin application to Cindy and
would send appendices later. Martin gave Amy a CD with South Dakota's siting
information, including statutes, rules, and a completed application.

Jerry, will you get us a completed application or tell us how to find one on your

We will need to have future in-person meetings to do the Minnesota-Wisconsin
and Minnesota-Iowa 2-State comparisons and discuss State Border Crossings.
The Minnesota-Iowa meeting might be held in Des Moines so that more Iowa
staff who are involved in transmission permitting and siting could attend.

CST. Jerry will set this up and send notice to the group. Topics for the next
meeting include Task 4, Task 8, and State Border Crossings (see below).

During the meeting, we identified the following ways we can coordinate on lines
crossing our states' borders. This can be done under current state laws and we
can start immediately.

   1) When we learn of a proposed line that could go into a neighboring state,
      we will notify the neighboring state and let them know how to request
      more information. Minnesota will require the utility to include the
      neighboring affected state in the utility's Notice Plan. Each state will
      designate a contact person or persons and provide contact information for
      notification to neighboring states.
   2) Each state will put the affected neighboring states on its service and/or
      mailing list for cases with proposed lines crossing state boundaries.
   3) At the beginning of the process, which could be prior to an application
      being filed, staff from both states could hold an informal meeting or
      meetings with or without the applicant to discuss feasible options for state
      border crossings, opportunities for coordination of processes and
      information sharing. The timing of the two states' processes could be
      discussed. The meeting(s) would need to be informal and non-binding.
      Each state will need to decide who must be invited and what notice must
      be given according to its own state laws.
   4) Two states and the utility applicant could coordinate on the timing of public
      information meetings so that the applicant is not required to hold public
      meetings in both states at once. They could also coordinate the
      information presented in the public meetings. State staff may want to
      attend each other's public meetings.
   5) Each state can follow the process in the other state and use information
      as needed. States can share information as they see fit on a voluntary
      basis. Although there is no obligation to do this, it could be helpful and
      would allow the other state to use the information if useful.
   6) If hearings are required, we will identify the staff in each state who need to
      talk with each other about scheduling hearings.
   7) It is possible that an affected neighboring state would want to intervene in
      a neighboring state's process.

During the meeting, we identified the following topics we will need to discuss in
the future:
   1) What federal agencies could be involved in our state application siting
       processes and what are their respective roles? (For example, RUS,
       WAPA, EPA, Fish & Wildlife, Army Corps, etc.) How might their
       involvement affect our states' coordination? What approvals might an
       applicant have to obtain from these other agencies and when, relative to
       the state process, might any approvals have to be obtained?
   2) What other state agencies might become involved, such as state DOTs?
       What are their respective roles and how could their involvement affect our
       coordination? What approvals, etc. might applicants need from other state

   agencies for transmission lines? What other state agencies must get
   notice of applications or hearings? Do other state agencies appear at
   hearings? If yes, what is their status and what do they do? What
   approvals from local agencies might an applicant have to obtain?
3) Which states require consideration of alternate routes, what do they
   require, and how does each state look at alternate routes? How might
   that affect states' coordination?
4) What planning documents should we use for the five states' coordination?
   MTEP? What about non-MISO utilities? What state plans exist and would
   they be useful?
5) A KEY ISSUE: STATE BORDER CROSSINGS. What are options for
   handling state border crossings? How can we coordinate? What are the
   issues involved? Should we establish a special process to choose the
   border crossing? If a state requires presentation of alternate routes, how
   could this be accommodated? Should any process be optional? Should it
   be optional at the utility's request? What application content would be
   needed? Should we consider establishing exclusion and avoidance areas
   along state boundaries? What would the considerations be for those
   areas, such as environmentally sensitive areas, parks, historic areas, etc.?
   (North Dakota may have a statute about this we could review.) Should an
   applicant be required to propose one crossing point in the application? Is
   this allowed by states that require alternative routes? Should an applicant
   be required to study an area a certain number of miles wide along the
   border? If there are designated NIETCs, how should the FERC backstop
   siting authority be considered? What is each state's current law regarding
   establishing an agreed-on border crossing? What is each state's current
   law on the use of existing right-of-way? Are we only concerned about
   crossing points on new right-of-way? Should utilities be required to hold
   public information meetings, and if so, what? Considering current
   requirements for public informational meetings, how could these be used
   for state coordination regarding border crossings? Could there be
   informal multi-state staff meetings to discuss feasible options for border
   crossings? Would establishing a state compact be useful? Could we
   have a process to establish a prima facie case that a crossing point is ok?
   Could each state assign one decision-maker (i.e. a commissioner or an
   ALJ) for the purpose of a border crossing proceeding? Could the
   proceeding work by consensus to decide the border crossing point? What
   are the due process, environmental, and NEPA issues involved if we
   established a border crossing process? Minnesota will check to see if its
   certificate of need process would allow it to choose an end point for the
   line as part of the need process. What are the rights of landowners, etc.,
   and how can they be provided for? When does an applicant obtain
   easements and how might this affect the process? How can differences in
   state processes be accommodated for border crossings? We recognize
   that it is in no one's interest to approve or build lines that don't connect.
   We also think if a border crossing point is chosen, this could partially

       alleviate the need to coordinate state processes, at least from the states'
       perspective. At the meeting, we agreed that the NW Subgroup would
       work on a White Paper to identify the issues, questions, and challenges
       associated with state border crossings and discuss possible solutions.
       Each state is to begin by identifying issues it sees and we will discuss
       them at the next meeting.



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