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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

California Transmission Siting Process (8-CA-a)

In most cases, an electric public utility must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) or a Permit to Construct from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) before constructing new transmission lines. Section XIV(b) of General Order 131-D clarifies that regulation of transmission line siting by local authorities is preempted by CPUC. As a result, there are only a few instances where siting approval must be obtained before constructing new transmission lines. Note: municipally owned utilities (MOUs) site their own transmission lines and do not need to obtain a CPCN from CPUC.

Transmission Siting Process Process

8-CA-a.1 to 8-CA-a.2 - Is the Planned Generating Facility a Thermal Power Plant With a Capacity Greater than 50 MW?

Under the Warren-Alquist Energy Resources Conservation and Development Act, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has the statutory responsibility for licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts and larger. As part of the licensing process, the CEC issues siting permits for related facilities such as transmission lines, up to the point of grid interconnection. Therefore, interconnection transmission lines that connect large thermal power plants to the grid must obtain siting approval from the CEC.

State Plant Commissioning Process, Application for Certification:

8-CA-a.3 to 8-CA-a.4 – Are Any Non-Discretionary Local Permits Required for Construction?

The construction of electric distribution lines (lines under 50 kV) do not require a CPCN, a Permit to Construct, or discretionary permits or approvals from local governments. Although no siting permits are required, the developer must still consult with local authorities regarding land use matters and obtain any non-discretionary local permits required. See General Order 131-D, section III(c).

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