RAPID/Geothermal/Colorado/Transmission

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Colorado Geothermal Transmission & Interconnection(8-CO)

Qualifying developers of transmission lines and facilities in Colorado may need to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for new construction and the extension of transmission facilities. A CPCN is required for both “public utilities” and “cooperative electrical associations” (CEAs). “Public utility” is defined, in part, as “…every…electrical corporation…person or municipality 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…” C.R.S. 40-1-103(1)(a)(I). “Person” is defined as “any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company, association, joint stock association, and other legal entity.” C.R.S. 40-1-102(10). CEAs are utilities that are owned by the member-consumers they serve and regulated by those member-consumers, acting through an elected governing body. C.R.S. 40-9.5-101.

CEAs that choose not to be regulated as public utilities will be exempt from the CPCN requirement if they meet certain criteria. The developer must comply with local government regulation regardless of whether a CPCN is required. CRS 40-5-101(1)(b)(3).

For both public utilities and CEAs, a CPCN is only required for new construction or extension of transmission facilities deemed not to be “in the ordinary course of business.” For new construction, a CPCN must be filed for projects meeting the following criteria:

  • Transmission facilities designed at 230Kv or above, even if initially operated at a lower voltage. However, a radial transmission line designed at 230Kv or above that serves a single retail customer and terminates at that customer’s premises.
  • Transmission facilities designed at 115Kv or 138Kv if the facilities do not meet the noise and magnetic field thresholds listed in 4 CCR 723-3-3206(e) and (f).

For the extension of an existing facility, a CPCN must be filed for projects meeting the following criteria:

  • Modification to any existing transmission facility that results in the increase in the noise or magnetic field levels and such levels are above the thresholds listed in 4 CCR 723-3-3206(e) and (f).
  • Modification to any existing transmission facility so that it will be operated at a higher voltage, with or without conducter replacement, unless a CPCN has already been approved for the operation of the transmission facility at a higher voltage or unless the upgrade is to a voltage less than 230Kv and the noise and magnetic field thresholds listed in 4 CCR 723-3-3206(e) and (f) are met.

    Local Process
    The public utility must first notify local governments of transmission line plans, then obtain any necessary permits from each affected local government.

More Information

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

Transmission Siting Agency: Colorado Public Utilities Commission Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Transmission Siting: Local Process [1]
Transmission Siting Threshold: No threshold provided
Public Utility Definition for Transmission Facility: “Public utility” is defined, in part, as “…every…electrical corporation…person or municipality 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…” C.R.S. 40-1-103(1)(a)(I). “Person” is defined as “any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company, association, joint stock association, and other legal entity.” C.R.S. 40-1-102(10). CEAs are utilities that are owned by the member-consumers they serve and regulated by those member-consumers, acting through an elected governing body. C.R.S. 40-9.5-101. [2]
Public Utility Regulatory Authority Certification Transmission Threshold: Varies, with a minimum of 115 kV. [1]

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List of Reference Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 Colorado CRS 29-20-108, Location, Construction, or Improvement of Major Electrical or Natural Gas Facilities (2001).
  2. Colorado 4 CCR 723-3001, Definitions for Rules Regulating Electric Utilities (2007).
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