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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Utah Geothermal Power Plant Siting, Construction, & Regulation(7-UT)

Developers must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) if they qualify as a “public utility” and are seeking to develop an electric generating facility. “Public utilities” include "electrical corporations" which are defined in Utah Code 54-2-1(7) to include every corporation, cooperative association, and person, their lessees, trustees, and receivers, owning, controlling, operating, or managing any electric plant, or in any way furnishing electric power for public service or to its consumers or members for domestic, commercial, or industrial use, within this state, except independent energy producers, and except where electricity is generated on or distributed by the producer solely for the producer's own use, or the use of the producer's tenants, or for the use of members of an association of unit owners formed under Title 57, Chapter 8, Condominium Ownership Act, and not for sale to the public generally, and except where the electricity generated is consumed by an owner, lessor, or interest holder, or by an affiliate of an owner, lessor, or interest holder, who has provided at least $25,000,000 in value, including credit support, relating to the electric plant furnishing the electricity and whose consumption does not exceed its long-term entitlement in the plant under a long-term arrangement other than a power purchase agreement, except a power purchase agreement with an electrical corporation.

Utah defines an "independent energy producer" as every electrical corporation, person, corporation, or government entity, their lessees, trustees, or receivers, that own, operate, control, or manage an independent power production or cogeneration facility. Utah Code 54-2-1(15).

Utah defines an "independent power production facility as a facility that produces electric energy solely by the use, as a primary energy source, of biomass, waste, a renewable resource, a geothermal resource, or any combination of the preceding sources or is a qualifying power production facility. Utah Code 54-2-1(16).

Developers of both generating facilities and transmission lines must complete the CPCN process if a proposed project meets the definition of “electrical corporations” under UC 54-2-1(7)(a) and are not exempt as an "independent energy producer". Even where a developer qualifies as an independent energy producer, the PSC has held the associated transmission line to interconnect the power to the grid still requires a CPCN.

Developers must submit a CPCN Application to the PSC for review. PSC will conduct a public hearing to review the application. The PSC may approve or deny a request for a CPCN. If the CPCN is approved, then PSC will issue a Certificate to the developer for the project. If the CPCN application is denied, then the developer may apply for a rehearing.

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

Utah Federal

Power Plant Siting: None Utilization Application Process
Definition for Public Utility: “Public utilities” include "electrical corporations" which are defined in Utah Code 54-2-1(7) to include every corporation, cooperative association, and person, their lessees, trustees, and receivers, owning, controlling, operating, or managing any electric plant, or in any way furnishing electric power for public service or to its consumers or members for domestic, commercial, or industrial use, within this state, except independent energy producers, and except where electricity is generated on or distributed by the producer solely for the producer's own use, or the use of the producer's tenants, or for the use of members of an association of unit owners formed under Title 57, Chapter 8, Condominium Ownership Act, and not for sale to the public generally, and except where the electricity generated is consumed by an owner, lessor, or interest holder, or by an affiliate of an owner, lessor, or interest holder, who has provided at least $25,000,000 in value, including credit support, relating to the electric plant furnishing the electricity and whose consumption does not exceed its long-term entitlement in the plant under a long-term arrangement other than a power purchase agreement, except a power purchase agreement with an electrical corporation.
Coordinating Permit Offices: None
Public Utility Regulatory Authority: Utah Public Service Commission Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Public Utility Regulatory Authority Certification MW Threshold: None
Public Utility Definition for Power Generator: “Public utilities” include "electrical corporations" which are defined in Utah Code 54-2-1(7) to include every corporation, cooperative association, and person, their lessees, trustees, and receivers, owning, controlling, operating, or managing any electric plant, or in any way furnishing electric power for public service or to its consumers or members for domestic, commercial, or industrial use, within this state, except independent energy producers, and except where electricity is generated on or distributed by the producer solely for the producer's own use, or the use of the producer's tenants, or for the use of members of an association of unit owners formed under Title 57, Chapter 8, Condominium Ownership Act, and not for sale to the public generally, and except where the electricity generated is consumed by an owner, lessor, or interest holder, or by an affiliate of an owner, lessor, or interest holder, who has provided at least $25,000,000 in value, including credit support, relating to the electric plant furnishing the electricity and whose consumption does not exceed its long-term entitlement in the plant under a long-term arrangement other than a power purchase agreement, except a power purchase agreement with an electrical corporation.

Utah defines an "independent energy producer" as every electrical corporation, person, corporation, or government entity, their lessees, trustees, or receivers, that own, operate, control, or manage an independent power production or cogeneration facility. Utah Code 54-2-1(15).

Utah defines an "independent power production facility as a facility that produces electric energy solely by the use, as a primary energy source, of biomass, waste, a renewable resource, a geothermal resource, or any combination of the preceding sources or is a qualifying power production facility. Utah Code 54-2-1(16).

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