RAPID/Geothermal/Montana/Transmission

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Montana Geothermal Transmission & Interconnection(8-MT)

Developers of transmission lines and facilities must obtain a Certificate of Compliance form the MDEQ, pursuant to MCA 75-20. A “facility” includes each electric transmission line and associated facilities of a design capacity of more than 69 kV, unless exempt. MCA 75-20-104(8). Applications for Certificates of Compliance generally trigger extensive MEPA review and include a notice and comment period.

The following types of project activities are not included of the definition of “facility” and thus exempt from the Certificate of Compliance requirement:

  • Transmission lines with a design capacity of 230 kV or less and 10 miles or less in length;
  • Transmission lines with a design capacity of more than 69 kV but less than 230 kV for which the developer has obtained right-of-way agreements or options for a right-of-way from more than 75% of the owners who collectively own more than 75% of the property along the centerline;
  • Transmission lines that are less than 150 miles in length and extends from an electrical generation facility or a wind generation facility or a biomass generation facility, to the point at which the transmission line connects to a regional transmission grid at an existing transmission sub-station or other facility for which the developer has obtained right-of-way agreements or options for a right-of-way from more than 75% of the owners who collectively own more than 75% of the property along the centerline;
  • An upgrade to an existing transmission line to increase that line’s capacity to less than or equal to 230 kV, including construction outside the existing easement or right-of-way; or
  • A transmission substation, switchyard, voltage support, or other control equipment.

MCA 75-20-104(8).

Subsequent to issuing a Certificate of Compliance, the MDEQ will continually monitor the facility over time.

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

Montana Federal

Transmission Siting Agency: Montana Department of Environmental Quality Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Transmission Siting: Certificate of compliance is generally obtained through the Montana Department of Environmental Quality under Montana Code Annotated Title 75, Chapter 20 for regulated transmission facilities which will produce more than 69 kV and are not exempt. If the facility is exempt or has a capacity of less than 69 kV and private parties own more than 75% of the property along the centerline of the transmission path, then the developer must obtain a right-of-way. [1]
Transmission Siting Threshold: Transmission lines of a design capacity of more than 69 kV, not exempt, and where private parties own less than 75 percent of the property along the center line of the transmission path must complete the siting process. See Montana MCA 75-20-104(8) for additional information. [2]
Public Utility Definition for Transmission Facility: In Montana, transmission facilities are covered by the definition of 'public utility.' A “public utility” includes every corporation, both public and private, company, individual, association of individuals, and their lessees, trustees, or receivers appointed by any court that own, operate, or control any plant or equipment, any part of a plant or equipment, or any water right within the state for the production, delivery, or furnishing for or to other persons, firms, associations, or corporations, private or municipal: heat; street-railway service; light; power in any form or by any agency; water for business, manufacturing, household use, or sewerage service, whether within the limits of municipalities or towns or elsewhere; regulated telecommunications service. [3]
Public Utility Regulatory Authority Certification Transmission Threshold: No threshold provided.

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List of Reference Sources

  1. Montana ARM 17.20.1606, Electric Transmission Lines, Need Standard (2005).
  2. Montana MCA 75-20-104, Policy and General Provisions Definitions for Major Facility Siting (2013).
  3. Montana MCA 69-3-101, Definition for Public Utility (2013).
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