I’ve been looking a the Xcel Renewable Development Account (commonly called the Renewable Development Fund“) and it has a pretty sad history. Very little good has come of it and much money has been wasted that could productively have been invested in conservation/efficiency projects.
Examples: Ten million or so went to the promoters of a new coal burner on the Range–because of the machinations of the politically connected Tom Micheletti. Not only was this money totally wasted, but people had to devote lots of time and energy to fighting permits for the scheme (Excelsior Energy/Mesaba Project. Carol Overland is the expert on this. I seem to recall a hearing in Hoyt Lakes, in an unheated hockey rink in January, and not being allowed to finish my questioning of the technical witnesses…..)
At the moment, Xcel is conniving with the City of Red Wing to divert money from this same fund to increase garbage burning at the Xcel-owned garbage burner in Red Wing, certain, if approved, to increase concentrations of health-damaging air pollutants in the City. Does this sound like the intent of the Fund????
Misuse of “clean energy” slush funds is more the rule than the exception, and the enviro/energy wonk types who promote them NEVER show up to help communities deal with the consequences. Some comments I filed on the current “Renewable” funding cycle in September are here, in the Public Utilities Commission “edocket” system: http://bit.ly/1cVek1o (Also posted here on this site.”)
Note that the PUC has to approve the use of this money and a public comment period is open until December 12th:
PUC Docket Number: E002/M-12-1278
Comment Period: Reply comment period for all parties closes December 12, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.”