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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

California CPUC Process for Transmission Facilities (8-CA-c)

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is the primary transmission siting agency in California. The CPUC also works with other agencies such as the California Energy Commission (CEC) and local city or counties during the siting process. In determining whether to allow the development of a proposed transmission project the CPUC takes into consideration factors such as the size of the proposed project, any environmental impacts the project might cause, and the state’s need for the project. The CPUC requires different permits depending on the type and size of the proposed project. The CPUC defines a transmission line facility as a facility with an operation voltage of 200 kV or more. A developer is required to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) before construction of a transmission line facility. The CPUC defines a transmission project with a operation voltage between 50 kV and 200 kV as a power line facility or a substation. A developer is required to obtain a Permit to Construct before beginning development of a power line facility or a substation.


CPUC Process for Transmission Facilities Process

8-CA-c.1 to 8-CA-c.2 – Is the Transmission Line 200 kV or More?

A developer that proposes to build a transmission line (200 kV or more) must obtain a CPCN from the CPUC. During the CPCN process the CPUC must find that the proposed project is necessary to promote the safety, health, comfort, and convenience of the public. Projects applying for a CPCN must also meet the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or an equivalent state approved environmental review process.

General Order No. 131-D

The CPCN process is listed in:

Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity:
8-CA-d

8-CA-c.3 to 8-CA-c.5 – Is the Electric Power Line Facility or Substation Between 50 and 200 kV?

A developer proposing to construct an electric power line facility or substation that has an operation voltage between 50 kV and 200 kV must apply for a permit to construct from the CPUC. The permit to construct focuses primarily on the environmental impacts that the proposed project may create.

General Order No. 131-D

The permit to construct process is listed in:

Permit to Construct Power Lines:
8-CA-f

If the proposed project is below 50 kV, the CPUC does not require any permits; however, the developer must first communicate with, and obtain the input of, local authorities regarding land use matters and obtain any non-discretionary local permits required for the construction and operation of the project.

General Order No. 131-D




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