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Studies and Reports > 2013 MN Biennial Report > Biennial Report Requirements


Transmission Projects Report 2013
Chapter 2: Biennial Report Requirements
 

2.0   Biennial Report Requirements

2.1   Generally

Minnesota Statutes § 216B.2425 requires any utility that owns or operates electric transmission lines in Minnesota to submit a transmission projects report to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission by November 1 of each odd numbered year. The statute identifies a number of items that are to be included in the report, primarily the identification and analysis of present and reasonably foreseeable future inadequacies in the transmission system.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) has adopted rules that govern the content of the transmission projects report and establish procedures for reviewing the report. Those rules are codified in Minnesota Rules chapter 7848. Over the years, in response to experiences with the rule requirements, the PUC has modified the application of these rules in a number of ways, including methods of soliciting public input and reporting on transmission inadequacies. The utilities have followed the applicable procedures and reporting requirements for each report.

This is the seventh such report that the utilities have filed with the Commission, since this reporting requirement was created by the Minnesota Legislature in 2001. Of necessity and for ease of reference, some of the information and narrative in this 2013 Report is similar or identical to what was in previous reports. For example, the discussion in this chapter is similar to what has been in previous reports. The information about the utilities in chapter 7 has been updated but is similar to what was in the last report. The information in chapter 5 on the transmission planning zones across the state created by the Public Utilities Commission is essentially identical to past reports.

While the general information in this report may be repetitive to what is in past reports, it is accurate and up-to-date. Readers may want to check previous reports for additional or historical information. For example, in response to PUC direction, the 2009 Biennial Report contained a discussion of each reporting utility's transformer capability and the 2007 Biennial Report was the first report to identify the miles of transmission line owned by each utility. The 2007 Report included an entirely separate report called the Renewable Energy Standards Report, a one-time requirement of the 2007 Renewable Energy Act (Minn. Laws 2007, ch. 3, § 2.).

Readers who would like to review information contained in previous reports can find those reports readily available in their entirety in electronic form at the webpage maintained by the utilities regarding transmission planning. That webpage is:

http://www.minnelectrans.com

In addition, complete biennial reports and other documents related to the Public Utilities Commission's review and approval of those reports can be found on the Commission's edockets webpage using the Docket Number from the table below. Visit this webpage and plug in the Docket Number in the search box:

https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling/edockets/searchDocuments.do?method=showeDocketsSearch

Biennial Report

PUC Docket Number

PUC Order

2013

E-999/M-13-402

2011

E-999/M-11-445

May 18, 2012

2009

E-999/M-09-602

May 28, 2010

2007

E-999/M-07-1028

May 30, 2008

2005

E-999/TL-05-1739

May 31, 2006

2003

E-999/TL-03-1752

June 24, 2004

2001

E-999/TL-01-961

August 29, 2002

2.2   Specific Reporting Requirements for 2013

The Minnesota Transmission Owners (MTOs) submitted the 2009 Biennial Report on November 1, 2009.  The Public Utilities Commission afforded interested persons an opportunity to submit comments regarding the completeness of the Biennial Report. After considering all comments that were filed, on May 28, 2010, the Commission issued its Order Accepting Reports, Granting Variance, and Setting Future Filing Requirements.  PUC Docket No. E-999/M-09-602

One provision of the Commission’s May 28, 2010, Order directs the reporting utilities to address efforts the utilities have undertaken to solicit input on transmission planning issues from the public and local government officials.  The PUC directed the utilities to modify the Internet site maintained by the utilities to report on transmission planning efforts at:

The Minnesota Transmission Owners (MTOs) submitted the 2011 Biennial Report on November 1, 2011. The Public Utilities Commission afforded interested persons an opportunity to submit comments regarding the completeness of the Biennial Report. After considering all comments that were filed, the Commission issued its Order Accepting Reports, Granting Variance, and Setting Additional Requirements on May 18, 2012. PUC Docket No. E-999/M-11-445

One additional requirement established by the Commission in its 2012 Order directs the reporting utilities to include in the 2013 Report "A separate section which discusses MTO's outreach to and continued efforts to secure input on transmission planning issues from local governments." This information is included in section 4.2.

The Commission also ordered the utilities to "continue to work to improve its transmission planning webpage." The efforts the utilities have undertaken to make improvements are described in section 4.3.

One final point the Commission directed the utilities to address in this report is an update on the Corridor Update Project. This information is found in section 3.3.

In its May 30, 2008, Order approving the 2007 Report, the Commission directed the utilities to continue to include in future reports a discussion of transmission issues related to meeting state renewable energy standards. In this report, as in the 2009 and 2011 reports, the utilities have provided a Gap Analysis showing their upcoming needs for renewable energy to meet RES milestones. A Gap Analysis is an estimate of how many more megawatts of renewable generating capacity a utility will require beyond what is presently available to meet an upcoming RES milestone of a certain percentage of retail sales from renewables. This Gap Analysis is found in Chapter 8.

Beginning with the 2011 Report, and with the approval of the Commission, the utilities who belong to the Midcontinent Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) revised the manner in which they reported on identified transmission inadequacies. Instead of reporting in detail on each transmission inadequacy, the report includes a reference to where in the annual reports of MISO, detailed information about the project can be found. That approach is continued in this report.

The annual MISO report is called the MISO Transmission Expansion Planning Report (MTEP). Directions for finding the appropriate MTEP report for a particular transmission project are found in section 6.1 and are essentially identical to the directions included in the 2011 Report.

2.3   Reporting Utilities

Minnesota Statutes § 216B.2425 applies to those utilities that own or operate electric transmission lines in Minnesota. The PUC has defined the term "high voltage transmission line" in its rules governing the Biennial Report to be any line with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more and any line with a capacity of 100 kilovolts or more and that is either longer than ten miles or that crosses a state line. Minn. Rules part 7848.0100, subp. 5. Each of the entities that is filing this report owns and operates a transmission line that meets the PUC definition. Information about the utility and transmission lines owned by each utility is provided in Chapter 7 of this Report. In addition, a contact person for each utility is included in Chapter 7.

The statute allows the entities owning and operating transmission lines to file this report jointly. The Minnesota Transmission Owners (MTO) have elected each filing year to submit a joint report and do so again with this report. The utilities jointly filing this report are:

American Transmission Company, LLC
Dairyland Power Cooperative
East River Electric Power Cooperative
Great River Energy
Hutchinson Utilities Commission
ITC Midwest LLC
L&O Power Cooperative
Marshall Municipal Utilities
Minnesota Power
Minnkota Power Cooperative
Missouri River Energy Services
Northern States Power Company d/b/a Xcel Energy
Otter Tail Power Company
Rochester Public Utilities
Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency
Willmar Municipal Utilities

Of the above utilities, East River Electric Power Cooperative, L&O Power Cooperative, Marshall Municipal Utilities, Minnkota Power Cooperative, Rochester Public Utilities and Willmar Municipal Utilities are not members of MISO; all the others are.  

2.4   Certification Requests

Minnesota Statutes § 216B.2425, subd. 2, provides that a utility may elect to seek certification of a particular project identified in the Biennial Report. According to subdivision 3, if the Commission certifies the project, a separate Certificate of Need (CON) under section 216B.243 is not required.

On May 23, 2013, the MTO advised the Commission that there would be no certification requests included with the 2013 Biennial Report.