RAPID/Geothermal/New Mexico/Transmission

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

New Mexico Geothermal Transmission & Interconnection(8-NM)

In order to develop certain large scale transmission lines in New Mexico, a developer must obtain siting approval. Developers who need interconnection for generating facilities must obtain approval from a public utility. A Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity may also be required if the developer qualifies as a “public utility.”

Siting Approval

Developers must obtain siting approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) for the construction of all electric transmission lines with a capacity of 230kV or more by submitting an Application for a Location Permit and additional documents outlined in NMAC 17.9.592.10. NMS 62-9-3(B). For example, developers must submit environmental documents required by the National Environmental Policy Act with the application NMAC 17.9.592.10. The NMPRC conducts a public hearing to review the application and allow for public comments. NMAC 1.2.2.32(A)(1) &(2).

In addition to the Location Permit, developers must also submit an Application for Determination of Right of Way Width to the NMPRC if the proposed transmission lines require a right of way width greater than 100 feet NMS 62-9-3.2(A). A public hearing is conducted to review the application. NMS 62-10-5 and NMAC 1.2.2.32(A)(1). If the application is approved, then the NMPRC issues a Determination of Right of Way.

Developers seeking to site transmission lines with a capacity of less than 230 kV, while exempt from the Location Permit requirement and the Determination of Right of Way Width, must still comply with local government planning and zoning regulations.

Interconnection

Developers must obtain authorization to interconnect a generating facility with a rated capacity over 10 MW from a public utility within the jurisdiction of NMPRC. Developers are required to submit an Application for Interconnection to the public utility, which is a request by the developer (an interconnection customer) to interconnect a new generating facility, or to increase the capacity or make a material modification to the operating characteristics of an existing generating facility that is interconnected with the utility’s system. Interconnection Manual 12. Developers are required to comply with the interconnection standards outlined in NMAC 17.9.569.8(j) and conduct operational testing.

The interconnection procedures required for a facility over 10MW differ from the procedures for a facility with a rated capacity up to and including 10MW. Developers must obtain approval to interconnect a generating facility with a rated capacity up to and including 10 MW from a utility within the jurisdiction of the NMPRC. Developers and the public utility will conduct interconnection studies to ensure that the facility may be interconnected safely and reliably. When it is determined that the facility may be interconnected safely and reliably, the developer and the public utility execute an Interconnection Agreement and conduct operational testing. Interconnection Manual 10.10. Some developers may qualify for a simplified or fast track interconnection process. This process is available for generating facilities seeking interconnection to a non-Network System using a certified inverter that is 10kW or smaller. Generally, these facilities are no larger than 2MW and must comply with the code standards and certification requirements in Interconnection Manual 9.

"Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity'

Developers who qualify as a “public utility” pursuant to New Mexico law must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from NMPRC if they seek to construct high voltage transmission lines. NMAC 17.1.2. Under the New Mexico Public Utility Act, a “public utility” is every person not engaged solely in interstate business and that may own, operate, lease or control any plant, property or facility for the generation, transmission or distribution, sale or furnishing to or for the public of electricity for light, heat or power or other uses. NMS 62-3. Developers must apply to NMPRC for a CPCN, which requires an extensive description of the proposed project and compliance with public notice and hearing requirements. NMAC 17.1.2.9(C) and (D). Developers who are not “public utilities,” although exempt from the CPCN requirement, must comply with local government planning and zoning processes. NMS 62-9-3(B) and (G).

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

New Mexico Federal

Transmission Siting Agency: New Mexico Public Regulation Commission Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Transmission Siting: Location Permit Process
Transmission Siting Threshold: 230 kV
Public Utility Definition for Transmission Facility: Every person not engaged solely in interstate business and that may own, operate, lease or control any plant, property or facility for the generation, transmission or distribution, sale or furnishing to or for the public of electricity for light, heat or power or other uses. NMS 62-3.
Public Utility Regulatory Authority Certification Transmission Threshold: None

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