RAPID/Geothermal/Idaho/Transmission

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Idaho Geothermal Transmission & Interconnection(8-ID)

Developers must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) before beginning construction on any transmission line or system if they qualify as a “public utility.” Developers must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) before beginning construction of a line, plant, or system if they qualify as a “public utility.” The term "public utility" includes every common carrier, pipeline corporation, gas corporation, electrical corporation, telephone corporation and water corporation. IC 61-129. Electrical Corporation includes “every corporation or person, their lessees, trustees, receivers or trustees appointed by any court whatsoever, owning, controlling, operating or managing any electric plant for compensation within this state, except where electricity is generated on or distributed by the producer through private property alone, solely for his own use or the use of his tenants and not for sale to others, and excepting also, where the electricity is to be used exclusively in operations incident to the working of metalliferous mines and mining claims, mills, or reduction and smelting plants, and the transmission lines and distribution systems are owned by the consumer or where several consumers severally own their individual distribution systems and jointly own, in their own names or through a trustee, the transmission lines used in connection therewith and transmit such electricity, whether generated by themselves or procured from some other source, over such transmission lines and distribution systems without profit, and to be used for their private uses for the purposes aforesaid in places outside the limits of incorporated cities, towns and villages, and not for resale or public use, sale or distribution.” IC 61-119.

If the project involves construction of a transmission line with a transmission capacity of 230kV or more, then the developer may qualify for priority designation. If the developer’s project qualifies for priority designation, then any state agencies later involved in the permitting or siting processes for the electric transmission facilities must give the application priority or immediate attention as it relates to reviews, permits, reports, studies or comments. IC 61-516(3). Developers must submit a CPCN application to PUC for review. The PUC will issue public notice and determine if the public interest requires a hearing on the application. IDAPA 31.01.01.113 and IDAPA 31.01.01.201. If the PUC determines that the project is for the public convenience and necessity, then the PUC will issue a CPCN for the project. Any developers seeking to build transmission lines in Idaho must also seek permits from the local authorities as to location of the lines.

Developers seeking to site transmission facilities in excess of 115kV capacity in NIETC corridors must obtain a route certificate from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC may also preempt local government land use decisions regarding the construction of transmission facilities. I.C. 61-1703(3). Although the authority of the PUC is normally limited to public utilities, PUC authority is expanded by statute to apply to any construction or modification of transmission facilities in NIETC’s, whether or not the construction or modification is by a public utility

Local Process
Any developers seeking to build transmission lines in Idaho must also seek permits and/or approval from the local authorities as to location of the lines.

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

Idaho Federal

Transmission Siting Agency: Idaho Public Utilities Commission Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Transmission Siting: Idaho has a decentralized transmission siting system wherein local authorities have siting authority for all transmission lines. Developer must work with local city planning and zoning commissions for location of the lines. Developers seeking to site transmission facilities in excess of 115kV capacity in NIETC corridors must obtain a route certificate from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC). [1][2]
Transmission Siting Threshold: NIETC - 115kV
Public Utility Definition for Transmission Facility: The term "public utility" includes every common carrier, pipeline corporation, gas corporation, electrical corporation, telephone corporation and water corporation. IC 61-129. Electrical Corporation includes “every corporation or person, their lessees, trustees, receivers or trustees appointed by any court whatsoever, owning, controlling, operating or managing any electric plant for compensation within this state, except where electricity is generated on or distributed by the producer through private property alone, solely for his own use or the use of his tenants and not for sale to others, and excepting also, where the electricity is to be used exclusively in operations incident to the working of metalliferous mines and mining claims, mills, or reduction and smelting plants, and the transmission lines and distribution systems are owned by the consumer or where several consumers severally own their individual distribution systems and jointly own, in their own names or through a trustee, the transmission lines used in connection therewith and transmit such electricity, whether generated by themselves or procured from some other source, over such transmission lines and distribution systems without profit, and to be used for their private uses for the purposes aforesaid in places outside the limits of incorporated cities, towns and villages, and not for resale or public use, sale or distribution.” IC 61-119. [3]

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List of Reference Sources

  1. Idaho IC 67-6508, Planning Duties for Local Land Use (2011).
  2. Idaho IC 61-526, Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (1970).
  3. Idaho IC 61-119, Electrical Corporation Definition (1917).
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