Tag Archives | Xcel Energy

Minnesota: A wholly owned subsidiary of Xcel Energy? #1 in a series.

Utilities do it everywhere….

It’s in the nature of electric utilities to accumulate too much economic and political power.  They provide essential services, they have almost unlimited resources compared to potential opponents, and they send hundreds of thousands of mailings to all the households in their service areas.  Most are corporations whose management works for stockholders, not customers, but they often get people to forget that.  They almost always have undue influence on the commissions that are supposed to regulate them.

But “NSP” is something special

The chokehold that Xcel Energy (Northern States Power Company) has on the state of Minnesota feels unusual even by utility standards.  The obedience that Xcel seems able to extract from most of our public and private institutions in Minnesota–including the media–is extraordinary, and ramping up very aggressively from this already excessive level. Continue Reading →

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Action Alert: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission: Withdraw funding for increased garbage incineration!

If you want, skip the gory details and go directly to the action items lower down!

As someone with a longstanding interest in energy and environmental issues, Minnesota can be a little strange.  The state, or at least the central part of it, often seems like a wholly owned subsidiary of Xcel Energy (Northern States Power Company).  I’m appalled by the ease with which Xcel seems able to impose its will, and the lack of dignity and self-respect with which officials and self-proclaimed energy/environmental advocates kowtow, grin and shuffle, for Xcel.  Worse, I’m living in Red Wing, blessed with two Xcel nuclear reactors, Prairie Island 1 and 2, two Xcel garbage incinerators ( an old convertedcoal plant) and an Xcel nuclear waste parking lot, all within the city limits.  As far as what Xcel has to offer, Red Wing has it all!

There are so many interlocking scams going on, involving so many entities and so many moral and intellectual failures, that it can look and feel overwhelming.  I’m going to focus on one here and ask for your help: Continue Reading →

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From the Mankato Free Press: “Role of Wilmarth waste burning plant still contentious”

http://www.mankatofreepress.com/news/role-of-wilmarth-waste-burning-plant-still-contentious/article_97663e2c-9cf0-11e5-a3b1-7f64fe0aefad.html

Veteran reporter Tim Krohn did an extensive story on this.

MANKATO — Since the late 1980s the Wilmarth plant in Mankato has been burning processed waste from counties in the Twin Cities and the region.

Before the plant was approved, local environmentalists fought bitterly against it, arguing the toxins from emissions would endanger people’s health. But over the decades the plant has operated at near capacity, largely without notice and hasn’t had any serious violations of its permit.

Now, as Rasmsey and Washington counties prepare to increase the amount of garbage that is processed and burned, Xcel Energy says the Wilmarth plant and another they operate in Red Wing play a key role in reducing the amount of waste going into landfills and producing electricity, with the Mankato plant’s two turbines making 20 megawatts of power.

But a Red Wing activist who’s long opposed the amount of waste being burned says Xcel shouldn’t be in the business of incineration and that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is misguided in pushing for waste incineration and doesn’t put strict enough limits on stack pollution.

Continue Reading →

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City of Red Wing, MN, screws up.

Xcel Energy 1940s coal plant burning garbage from Ramsey and Washington counties in Red Wing (Goodhue County).  Permit expired since June, 2009

Xcel Energy 1940s coal plant burning garbage from Ramsey and Washington counties in Red Wing (Goodhue County). Permit expired since June, 2009

As a long-time opponent of nuclear power and garbage incineration, and advocate for environmental concerns, it’s ironic to find myself living in a city of 16,000 people containing two nuclear reactors, two garbage incinerator smokestacks, a nuclear waste parking lot, and various garbage and ash dumps both open and closed.  Still, there are many nice things about Red Wing including it’s picturesque location on the Mississippi River and a generally friendly, low-crime atmosphere.

Still, it is hard to understand how the city government can be screwing up so many things related to the environment and public health. Continue Reading →

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[Wash Post] “Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/utilities-sensing-threat-put-squeeze-on-booming-solar-roof-industry/2015/03/07/2d916f88-c1c9-11e4-ad5c-3b8ce89f1b89_story.html

This, folks, is what is REALLY going on.  The good news is that the cost of solar has dropped and it’s really happening.  The bad news is that it will happen slowly and expensively if the utilities keep a chokehold on it.  Utilities have long since mastered the art of pretending to promote what they are actually blocking.  Perhaps no utility in the world is cleverer at this than Xcel Energy (Northern States Power Company).  The breadth and depth of NPS’s current efforts to gut the utility regulatory process and impose its will on Minnesota energy policy is breathtaking.  Stand by for more details on this.  And: expect some really horrible legislation to sneaked through the Minnesota Legislature.

Alan Muller Continue Reading →

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