Requirements for transmission and interconnection depend largely on the chosen location of the transmission lines. The developer may be required to acquire a federal right-of-way, obtain approval from state or local governments, or go through a state encroachment process.
If the developer will need to connect transmission lines to the grid, then they must obtain an interconnection agreement. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires all public utilities that own, control, or operate facilities used for transmitting electric energy in interstate commerce to have on file standard procedures and a standard agreement for interconnecting generators. If the project will interconnect with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), then the transmission process is particularly unique and specific rules and procedures will apply.
The Federal Power Act (FPA) directs the Department of Energy to deal with transmission congestion problems through designating geographic areas of special significance where consumers have been negatively affected called National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors. The designation could provide FERC with limited siting authority pursuant to the FPA under certain circumstances.
The developer will be required to obtain a federal right-of-way if transmission lines will go through federal lands. If the project will be located on state lands, then the developer will need to get the approval of any relevant state or local authority. This generally requires the developer to obtain an encroachment permit. Any access needed through private lands will require negotiation for right-of-way access or eminent domain proceedings.
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
The Transmission Line Siting Committee (TLSC) may find that compliance with local ordinances, master plan or regulation is unreasonably restrictive and compliance is not feasible in view of technology available, in which case the TLSC may grant a certificate.
Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) and the TLSC
Transmission lines with a voltage of 115kV or greater
Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC)
In general, the TLSC has 180 days from the date the application is filed to either issue or deny a CEC application. Once the TLSC has made a decision, the application is forwarded to the ACC for review. The ACC then has between 30-60 days to confirm, deny or modify the proposed CEC.
Local jurisdictions acting pursuant to local authority are preempted from regulating electric power line projects constructed by public utilities subject to the California Public Utility Commission’s (CPUC) jurisdiction, the public utilities shall consult with local governments concerning land use matters.
The CPCN for larger transmission projects requires the applicant to demonstrate need for the project and load forecasts. The CEQA environmental analysis requires the applicant to analyze impacts to various environmental and socioeconomic resources.
According to CPUC General Order NO. 131-D
200kV and higher voltage require process of both CPCN and CEQA environmental analysis, facilities between 50kV and 200kV require a Permit to Construct which includes CEQA level environmental analysis.
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) environmental analysis depending on voltage and whether the utility is investor-owned.
Typically 18 months but the process can take longer for contentious projects.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has backstop authority only. According to Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) 29-20-108
if a permit is denied by the local government, the applicant may appeal to the CPUC if certain conditions are met.
Local Governments (Counties and Municipalities), CPUC in case of appeal
Varies by local government, but the Colorado Department of Local Affairs provides sample 1041 regulations
Varies by local government
1041, Conditional Use, Special Use Permits, or other zoning and land use permits
Local governments must make final decisions within 120 days of the utility’s submission of a preliminary application, if a preliminary application is required, or within 90 days after submission of a final application. The 120- or 90-day time periods commence when the submission is deemed complete. Within 28 days of a utility’s application, the local government must notify the utility of any additional information that must be supplied by the utility or authority to complete the application. If the local government does not take final action within the applicable decision time frames, the application shall be deemed approved.
Hawaii Public Utilities Commission
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) has authority to preempt local governments land use decisions pertaining to facilities within a National Interstate Electric Transmission Corridor (NIETC).
If NIETC not present then a local land use permit would be required from the local government(s) affected, If NIETC is present, then a Route Permit or Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) would be required from the IPUC.
CPCN: Development of a major facility for a public utility outside NIETC. Local permits: vary by local government entity and are triggered by zoning variance, building or special/conditional uses. Route Permit: Location within a NIETC and voltage of 115kV or greater.
For a proposed transmission line located outside a NIETC: CPCN from the IPUC, and local land use permits. For a proposed transmission line located inside a NIETC: A Route Permit is required instead of a CPCN.
Route Permit can take 18 months
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has the authority to approve or deny the required Certificate of Compliance and can refuse to apply any local law or regulation if MDEQ determines that, when applied to the proposed facility, the law or regulation is unreasonably restrictive in view of the existing technology, of factors of cost and economics, or of the needs of consumers.
The CC application must contain a statement of need, economic considerations, sources and flows of energy, the feasibility of the line, description of reasonable alternatives, and environmental impact study. If the transmission line is to be part of a Regional Rransmission Organization (RTO) (formed under FERC order 2000
), congestion must be addressed by the regional planning organization, however, no regional planning organizations currently operate in Montana.
Transmission lines with a voltage of 69kV and greater and associated facilities
Montana Major Facility Siting Act (MFSA)
Certificate of Compliance(CC)
Within 9 months of accepting the CC application the MDEQ must issue a report containing any MDEQ studies, evaluations, recommendations, etc. resulting for the MDEQ's study and evaluation of the application. An expedited 90-day review process is available for proposals unlikely to have environmental impacts. If a project is subject to joint review by the MDEQ and a federal land management agency, the MDEQ’s certification decision may be timed to correspond to the record of decision issued by the participating federal agency.
The Nevada Public Utilities Commission has exclusive jurisdiction with regard to the determination of whether a need exists for a utility facility.
Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUCN)
Nevada Administrative Code (N.A.C.) 703.421
: Application for permit when federal agency required to conduct environmental analysis. N.A.C. 703.423
: Application for permit when no federal agency required to conduct environmental analysis, amended application after final environmental assessment or environmental impact statement issued by federal agency
Electric transmission facilities over 200kV
Utility Environmental Protection Act (UEPA)
The PUCN will grant or deny an application within 150 days after an application is filed (for applications not requiring federal review).
The PUCN will grant or deny an application within 120 days after an amended application is filed, unless otherwise required under federal law (for applications requiring federal review).
No Location Permit may be approved by the New Mexico Public Regulations Commission (NMPRC) that violates an existing state, county, or municipal land use statutory or administrative regulation unless NMPRC finds that the regulation is "unreasonably restrictive and not in the interest of the public convenience and necessity.
NMPRC, local municipalities
The application for a Location Permit includes any environmental studies required by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) or equivalent studies.
CPCN approval required for public utilities, Location Permit approval required for 230kV or greater, and Determination of Right-of-Way (ROW) approval required for lines with a ROW greater than 100 feet wide.
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) and Location Permit required through NMPRC. Local governments typically require planning and zoning variance and special use permits.
9 months (Location Permit), 6 months (ROW Determination) (the ROW determination and the Location Permit can be addressed in one application)
A Site Certificate from the Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) preempts all other Oregon law and “shall bind the state and all counties and cities and political subdivisions in this state as to the approval of the site and the construction and operation of the facility. However, the EFSC does not have jurisdiction over matters delegated by the federal government to other state agencies.
EFSC. Local Governments (Counties and Municipalities) if chosen by the applicant to make a decision as to compliance with local land use policies or if the facility is under local jurisdiction.
Application requirements for transmission lines that fall under the jurisdiction of EFSC are outlined in O.R.S. 469.501-505
, and Oregon Administrative Rules (O.A.R.) 345-021-0000
Local review and permitting of a transmission line project will vary depending on the city or county that is affected, however, if the proposed transmission line is located in either a farm or forest zone, then the review processes will be similar and subject to the Land Conservation and Development Commission’s administrative rules OAR Chapter 660, Division 33 (agricultural lands)and Division 6 (forest lands).
The following transmission facilities must have a Site Certificate from the EFSC before construction:
Transmission lines of 230kV or more that are more than 10 miles in length and that are to be constructed in more than one city or county in the state.
The following are excluded:
Transmission lines that would be located entirely within 500 feet of an existing corridor occupied by a 230kV or greater,
Transmission lines of 57kV or more that are rebuilt and updated to 230kV along the same right-of-way.
Facilities that do not meet the EFSC threshold are subject to local government jurisdiction
Site Certificate or Discretionary Land Use Approval (part of the Site Certificate process)
Although variable, the standard permitting timeframe is typically 18 months, 12 months for an expedited process, although varies by project complexity/controversy. Schedule estimates presented exclude the appeals process. Detailed information regarding schedule is provided on the Oregon Department of Energy website
Public Utility Commission of Texas
Certificate of Convenience and Necessity
The Utah Public Service Commission (UPSC) does not have direct siting authority over high-voltage transmission lines. In cases of dispute, the Board has authority to hear and resolve issues regarding the construction and installation of public utility facilities.
The Board cannot preempt a local siting decision, however, it may require the local government to alter its conditions or requirements.
Local Governments (Counties and Municipalities), Utility Facility Review Board to resolve issues /disputes
Varies by local government for transmission lines with a capacity of less than 230kV, Transmission lines with a capacity of 230kV or higher (including new construction or upgrades to an existing line) are subject to the conditions set forth by the Siting of High Voltage Power Line Act
A land use permit is required in accordance with a municipalities land use ordinance as issued by the land use authority. Additional conditions apply to the land use permit for transmission lines subject to the Siting of High Voltage Power Line Act (i.e., lines >230kV).
Local governments shall make final decision on the public utility’s application for a permit, authorization, approval, exception, or waiver, for a facility within 60 days of the date the public utility applied to the local government.
The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) has preemptive authority over all other state and local agencies.
Local governments or the EFSEC
The Transmission Site Certification process includes a pre-application process, application submittal and review, public hearings, environmental impact statement, adjudicative proceedings and permits review, EFSEC recommendation to the Governor, and Governor’s issuance of a Site Certification Agreement. Local permit application requirements vary by county and municipality
Projects may be permitted under the EFSEC process for transmission projects that are 115kV and higher voltage in which the developer opts-in to the state process, or a transmission line is located within a National Interstate Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETC)
Energy Facility Site Location Act
Transmission developers may choose to opt-in to the state process or carry out siting and permitting at the local level. Developers typically choose to carry out siting and permitting at the local level.
The Site Certification process with the EFSEC is expected to take between 12 and 14 months, and local permits vary by county and municipality
The WDEQ/Industrial Siting Council (ISC) has jurisdiction over transmission projects within the state, and has the authority to preempt local decisions regarding transmission siting and construction.
Transmission lines with a maximum operating voltage of 160kV or greater and an estimated construction cost of $190.8 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation/deflation).
Activities exempt from an WISA permit (Wyoming Statute (W.S.) 35-12-119(c))
2) A commercial facility generating electricity from wind that is exempt from W.S. 35-12-102(a)(vii)(E)or (F) shall not become subject to this chapter because its collector system is greater than one hundred sixty thousand (160,000) volts.
Electric transmission lines with a maximum operating voltage of less than one hundred sixty thousand (160,000) volts, except:
1) Any collector system, regardless of voltage, associated with a commercial facility generating electricity from wind and which meets the definition of an industrial facility pursuant to W.S. 35-12-102(a)(vii)(E) and (F) shall not be exempt
WISA Permit (Section 107 and Section 109)
The decision will typically be issued in 135 days of the filing of an application under section 109 and within 60 days of the filing of an application under section 107.