DEFINING MOMENTS Cardinal Hickory Creek PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION PUBLIC HEARINGS
Tues. 25thLANCASTER FAIRGROUNDS AG BLDG Wed. 26thMADISONPSC BLDG 4822 Madison Yards Way Thurs. 27thDODGEVILLEDODGER BOWL 218 King St.
Start Times: 2 pm and 6 pm.
On or about September 29, 2019,Wisconsin PSC Commissioners will meet and one of the items on their lengthy agenda will be labeled, "Discussion of the Cardinal Hickory Creek Transmission Proposal. Taking only a minute or two, each commissioner will make a very short statement ending with a vote. In a flash, the whole five year process will be over except for the legal documentation 30 days later.
At that Moment,whether a victory or a loss for all of the communities, and electric customers of Wisconsin, the press and every citizen in Southwest Wisconsin will look back on what happened on three fateful days June 25, 26 and 27.
Reasons to Reject Cardinal Hickory Creekare plentiful, but Wisconsinites also know that facts, alone, do get the job done. To date, mountains of contrary evidence have not prevented our Commissioners from rationalizing a stream of seven expansion lines trusting, somehow, that utilities who assume no financial risk and receive guaranteed 10-13% profit also clairvoyant. Our electric bills prove the opposite. Such debt-creating, customer dismissal is the very definition ofnot acting in the best interest of the public. And it must stop.
Citizens in Nine Other Stateshave developed prescriptions success. No matter how many years of opposition effort exerted, it must all culminate with car and bus loads of families, church congregations, workplaces, chambers of commerce, civic organizations, workplaces and elected officials-- all exercising their constitutional rights, in person, at the final public hearings. Now only 25 days away.
Public Hearing Resources:
Saturday, June 1 Platteville Public Library 1:30 - 4:30 pm 225 West Main Street Saturday, June 1 Grant Com Fair Grounds 6:00 - 8:00 pm Youth and Ag Bldg.916 E. Elm St Saturday, June 8 Grant Com Fair Grounds 1:00 - 8:00 pm Youth and Ag Bldg.916 E. Elm St Spaghetti Dinner starts at 5:30 pm
LEARN ABOUT CHC UPDATES PREPARE FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS
Cardinal Hickory Creek Intervenors from the Public Intervenors Resource, the Inter-Municipal Energy Planning Committee and SOUL of Wisconsin invite property owners, elected officials and media to learn about new information and changes taking place during the review of the CHC proposal. Update subjects include changes in routing, the introduction of new Alternatives and improved estimates of property value impacts. Discussion and questions will also focus on encouraging a large turnout at the PSC's Public Hearings to be held onJune 25, 26 and 27 in Lancaster, Madison and Dodgeville, respectively. See lead article for more info.
As electricity use levels off, an increasing number of states are choosing Non-Transmission Alternatives over High Voltage Transmission lines in especially especially when decision makers encounter substantial public resistance. Contact Gloria Belken at 608-553-2544 for more information.
CRITIQUE OF CHC
COST- BENEFIT ANALYSIS
By John Simonson
Conventional economic policy analysis is relatively straight-forward: compare benefits and costs of policy alternatives under consideration to determine the best likely policy choice. After some five decades of policy analysis at local, regional, and national levels and involving myriad economic issues, I have concluded that effectiveness of a selected alternative can be no better than the reliability of underlying assumptions about the future.
While fully cognizant of how dicey they can be, all we can do as analysts is to base important policy decisions on sound assumptions. Those assumptions, in turn, must reflect reasonable and defensible information—whether empirical, theoretical, statistical—regarding the future economic, social, demographic, and climatic milieus likely to impact alternative policy options.
After carefully reviewing the prepared testimony of Mike Russell and supporting documents, I find them fully congruent with conventional economic policy analysis. Indeed, were I asked to prepare an economic analysis of the proposed Cardinal Hickory- Creek power line project, it would essentially replicate that prepared by Mr. Russell.
Therefore, based on what I consider sound public policy analysis, it is my best judgment that the preponderance of evidence weighs most heavily against implementing the proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek power line project, at least for the foreseeable future.
Please provide a summary statement concerning Mr. Ellis’ testimony. As an engineer in MISO’s System Planning division since 2006, a strategic planner of MVP expansion, former Manager of Policy Studies and current Manager of Economic Studies at MISO, Mr. Ellis is extremely well-positioned to augment the Applicants analyses with updated, records of substantive fact narrowed in on the proposed Project. And, as a professional engaged with public outreach for MISO, Mr. Ellis is in excellent position to explain the larger service roles of MISO to the hundreds of highly engaged electric customers in this proceeding. Instead, Mr. Ellis’s testimony mostly provides a general overview of MISO operations and practices. His documentation is based on vintage MISO pdfs with mostly narrative description and no specific address of the Project before the Public Service Commission and the people of Wisconsin.
I am not trained as an engineer, economist or energy advocate, but after reading Mr. Ellis’ contribution, I feel that my perspective as a citizen researcher may be more advantage than hindrance. I am a scientist by trade. As such, I appreciate the difference between prediction, hypothesis and demonstrable evidence. When analyses of potential future conditions involve a high degree of uncertainty, existing contemporary quantifiable evidence is extremely valuable. Considering Mr. Ellis’ great familiarity and access to volumes of data, it is very concerning to me that he has submitted 2008-2011 generalized documentation when it is in the interests of MISO and the Applicants to document contemporary relevance for the Project in every possible way. I find it equally concerning that the Manager of Economic Studies at MISO has not capitalized on the opportunity to evaluate the Applicant’s use of MISO economic modeling and affirm it with additional evidence in the proceeding.
Has Mr. Ellis demonstrated that the CHC Project would be in the best interests of Wisconsin electric customers and distinguished this from, for-profit, utility interests? No. He states that MISO modeling is driven, primarily, by existing, requested or assumed (future requirements)6 and makes no attempt to account for differences of opinion that exist across MISO stakeholders, especially those reflecting end-user spending and priorities. A bias is very evident in Mr. Ellis acceptance of very costly, new utility-scale generation in MISO planning even as Wisconsin and regional energy demand has been essentially flat for the past ten years. As citizen input in this proceeding establishes7, Wisconsin electric customers stress Non-Transmission and Local Power Alternatives (NTA’s) with incentives to further businesses and residential Behind the Meter (BTM) and community scale generation to further reduce use and deliver benefits to customers. By excluding this discussion of non-utility scale generation, Mr. Ellis fails to demonstrate that MISO planning is not a self-fulfilling prophecy. He does not establish that utility expansion is economically, reliably or environmentally superior to utility contraction. MISO’s planning emphases on large additions of utility scale generation are not tested against an equally aggressive emphasis on energy use being reduced and the high probability that CO2 would also be reduced for less end user cost and faster. Thus, the core benefactors of MISO planning are transmission line companies and utility companies on and below the surface. Lip service acknowledgement of “reversal of trends” as on page 44, without quantifiable evidence is highly insufficient given the very sizable impacts and costs of the Project and expansion modeling.
Commission staff’s analysis indicates that when using the applicants’ formula, the proposed Cardinal- Hickory Creek project provides net economic benefits to Wisconsin transmission customers in three to seven of the eleven scenarios evaluated by Commission staff, depending on whether the CBM or APC method of calculating the energy cost savings associated with the proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek project is used. Commission staff calculated the present-value net benefits of the proposed Cardinal- Hickory Creek project to Wisconsin transmission customers to be between negative $26.66 million to positive $346.81 million, depending on the set of assumptions used in the modeling and the methodology used to calculate the energy cost savings associated with the proposed project.
Finally, based on the applicants’ PROMOD modeling, the proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek project appears to only provide net benefits to the whole MISO market in the AAT future. Various sensitivities of the PR future, the future deemed to be the most likely scenario by MISO stakeholders and the applicants, show negative net 40-year economic benefits as compared to the costs of the proposed project of from $266.7 million to $318.5 million.
More details about Commission staff’s analysis and results can be found in Commission staff’s direct testimony and associated exhibits, Direct-PSC-Grant, Direct-PSC-Rohankar, and Direct-PSC-Vedvik.