RAPID/Geothermal/Colorado/Power Plant

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Colorado Geothermal Power Plant Siting, Construction, & Regulation(7-CO)

Developers seeking to construct and to operate an energy facility or an extension of a facility in Colorado must file an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) if the facility qualifies as a “public utility” under Colorado law. The term 'public utility'...includes "every...electrical corporation...operating for the purpose of supplying the public for domestic, mechanical, or public uses and every corporation, or person declared by law to be affected with a public interest, and each of the preceding is hereby declared to be a public utility and to be subject to the jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission..." In addition "[e]very cooperative electric association, or nonprofit electric corporation or association, and every other supplier of electric energy, whether supplying electric energy for the use of the public or for the use of its own members, is hereby declared to be affected with a public interest and to be a public utility and to be subject to the jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission and to the provisions of articles 1 to 7 of this title." CRS 40-1-103. Geothermal energy generation facilities will most likely qualify as a “public utility” under CRS 40-1-103. However, a CPCN is only required if the project facility’s generating capacity is over 10MW. 4 CCR 723-3-3205.

Rural electric cooperatives do not need a certificate of public convenience and necessity for new construction or an expansion of generation facilities provided that such construction or expansion is contained entirely within the cooperative’s certificated area.

After the developer submits a complete application to the CPUC pursuant to 4 CCR 723-3 the CPUC will approve or deny the application within 60 days. Colorado - C.R.S. 24-65.1 - 108.

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Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Colorado Federal

Power Plant Siting: None Utilization Application Process
Definition for Public Utility: The term 'public utility'...includes "every...electrical corporation...operating for the purpose of supplying the public for domestic, mechanical, or public uses and every corporation, or person declared by law to be affected with a public interest, and each of the preceding is hereby declared to be a public utility and to be subject to the jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission..." In addition "[e]very cooperative electric association, or nonprofit electric corporation or association, and every other supplier of electric energy, whether supplying electric energy for the use of the public or for the use of its own members, is hereby declared to be affected with a public interest and to be a public utility and to be subject to the jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission and to the provisions of articles 1 to 7 of this title." CRS 40-1-103.
Public Utility Regulatory Authority: Colorado Public Utilities Commission Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Public Utility Regulatory Authority Certification MW Threshold: 10 MW [1]
Public Utility Definition for Power Generator: The term 'public utility'...includes "every...electrical corporation...operating for the purpose of supplying the public for domestic, mechanical, or public uses and every corporation, or person declared by law to be affected with a public interest, and each of the preceding is hereby declared to be a public utility and to be subject to the jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission..." In addition "[e]very cooperative electric association, or nonprofit electric corporation or association, and every other supplier of electric energy, whether supplying electric energy for the use of the public or for the use of its own members, is hereby declared to be affected with a public interest and to be a public utility and to be subject to the jurisdiction, control, and regulation of the commission and to the provisions of articles 1 to 7 of this title." CRS 40-1-103.

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List of Reference Sources

  1. 4 CCR 723-3-3205

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