RAPID/Solar/Compare

< RAPID‎ | Solar
Jump to: navigation, search

RAPID

Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Compare Solar Permitting and Regulations Across States

Compare aspects of the permitting process among states.

Choose a Topic

Please select a topic

Choose up to 4 Jurisdictions

Please select at least two jurisdictions
Compare

Solar Land Use Comparison

Land Use Plans (LUPs) are used by local, state and federal agencies to manage public lands and they form the basis for every action and approved use of those lands. Different agencies will refer to LUPs by different names, but all LUPs serve the same purpose; to dictate what actions can and cannot be taken on the managed unit of land. Non-conforming uses require a LUP be amended or revised before a right-of-way or special use permit can be authorized. In addition, some state and local land may be governed by state LUPs. A developer should check to see if a LUP is applicable to the project site, and if so, whether the LUP allows for utility-scale solar development. If the LUP does not allow for utility-scale solar development, the developer should initiate the state or local land use plan amendment process.
More Information

Topic to Compare

Federal Land Use %
State Land Use %
Tribal Land Use %
Private Land Use %
AlabamaX
AlaskaX
ArizonaX
ArkansasX
CaliforniaX
ColoradoX
ConnecticutX
DelawareX
FederalX
FloridaX
GeorgiaX
HawaiiX
IdahoX
IllinoisX
IndianaX
IowaX
KansasX
KentuckyX
LouisianaX
MaineX
MarylandX
MassachusettsX
MichiganX
MinnesotaX
MississippiX
MissouriX
MontanaX
NebraskaX
NevadaX
New HampshireX
New JerseyX
New MexicoX
New YorkX
North CarolinaX
North DakotaX
OhioX
OklahomaX
OregonX
PennsylvaniaX
Rhode IslandX
South CarolinaX
South DakotaX
TennesseeX
TexasX
UtahX
VermontX
VirginiaX
WashingtonX
West VirginiaX
WisconsinX
WyomingX

Solar Land Access Comparison

In order to construct a utility-scale solar project, the developer must obtain access to land with sufficient solar resources. A right of way, lease, or other legal right to use the land must be obtained before development can begin. It is therefore critically important to determine who owns the land to be developed and what type of authorization is required. Authorization may be required from federal, state or local government agencies, tribes, or private landowners. Land access is a key consideration not only for the solar generation facilities - but also for rights of ways necessary to connect the solar project to the grid (access roads, gen-tie lines, encroachment, etc.)
More Information

Topic to Compare

Leasing Agency
Competitive Land Leasing
Noncompetitve Land Leasing
Royalty Rate Competitive Land Lease
Royalty Rate Noncompetitive Land Lease
Royalty Rate Calculation Basis
Royalty Distribution
AlabamaX
AlaskaX
ArizonaX
ArkansasX
CaliforniaX
California State Lands Commission
ColoradoX
ConnecticutX
DelawareX
FederalX
FloridaX
GeorgiaX
HawaiiX
IdahoX
IllinoisX
IndianaX
IowaX
KansasX
KentuckyX
LouisianaX
MaineX
MarylandX
MassachusettsX
MichiganX
MinnesotaX
MississippiX
MissouriX
MontanaX
NebraskaX
NevadaX
Nevada Division of State Lands
Yes, public auction for leasing state lands.
Yes, for Right of Ways over state land.
New HampshireX
New JerseyX
New MexicoX
New YorkX
North CarolinaX
North DakotaX
OhioX
OklahomaX
OregonX
PennsylvaniaX
Rhode IslandX
South CarolinaX
South DakotaX
TennesseeX
TexasX
UtahX
VermontX
VirginiaX
WashingtonX
West VirginiaX
WisconsinX
WyomingX

Solar Power Plant Siting & Construction Comparison

The procedures necessary for power plant siting differ greatly depending on the proposed location of a project, the type of customers the plant will sell power to, and whether the power plant will sell power in “interstate commerce.” Siting procedures can be complex and contentious, especially when a proposed facility conflicts with other land uses, or is proposed in environmentally or culturally sensitive areas. Building a utility-scale solar facility usually requires permission from federal, state, tribal or local government entities. If the plant will be located on state land, the developer may be required to follow a state energy facility siting procedure. The process for obtaining a permit on state land differs from state-to-state, but each generally includes an application process, a time for public comment, and a process for appeals.

If the power plant is a cogeneration facility or a small power production facility the developer may apply for certification as a Qualifying Facility under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) and receive special rate and regulatory treatment.

If the power plant is an independent power producer, the plant may be exempt from certain federal regulations. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 created an exemption from the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) for ‘Exempt Wholesale Generators’ (EWG). EWGs include independent power producers that sell energy only to wholesale customers.

If the facility will be regulated by a state public utility regulatory authority, the facility will likely be required to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). The CPCN generally is necessary to establish a public need for the facility and the developer’s ability to fill that need. Some states do not regulate independent power producers if they do not sell power directly to the public because only developers that fall within the states’ definition of “public utility” will be regulated. Developers who are also public utilities will be regulated by the state utility regulatory authority and will likely be required to obtain a CPCN.
More Information

Topic to Compare

Power Plant Siting
Power Plant Siting Agency
Power Plant Siting MW Threshold
Definition for Public Utility
Coordinating Permit Offices
Coordinating Permit Process
Coordinating Permit Offices MW Threshold
Coordinating Permit Offices Agency
Agencies Coordinating
Public Utility Regulatory Authority
Public Utility Regulatory Authority Certification MW Threshold
Public Utility Definition for Power Generator
AlabamaX
AlaskaX
ArizonaX
ArkansasX
CaliforniaX
Developers must obtain licensing from the California Energy Commission (CEC) for construction of a thermal power plant with a net generating capacity of 50 MW or more and all related facilities dedicated or essential to the operation of the thermal power plant (e.g., transmission lines to first point of interconnection with the transmission grid, gas pipelines, water lines, access roads, etc.). The CEC may delegate siting authority over geothermal power plants and related facilities to county governments which have adopted geothermal elements into their general plants. The county must demonstrate a capability to expeditiously process applications, and their policies must be consistent with CEC’s policies for the development of geothermal resources. Cal. Pub. Res. Code § 25540.5.
California Energy Commission
50 MW net generating capacity
“Public utilities” includes an “electric corporation…where the service is performed for, or commodity is delivered to, the public or any portion thereof.” Cal. Pub. Util. Code § 216. An “electric corporation” includes “every corporation or person owning, controlling, operating, or managing any electric plant for compensation within this state, except where electricity is generated on or distributed by the producer through private property solely for its own use or the use of its tenants and not for sale or transmission to others.” Cal. Pub. Util. Code § 218.
California Public Utilities Commission
ColoradoX
ConnecticutX
DelawareX
FederalX
FloridaX
GeorgiaX
HawaiiX
IdahoX
IllinoisX
IndianaX
IowaX
KansasX
KentuckyX
LouisianaX
MaineX
MarylandX
MassachusettsX
MichiganX
MinnesotaX
MississippiX
MissouriX
MontanaX
NebraskaX
NevadaX
Nevada Public Utilities Commission
The term “public utility” includes “any plant or equipment, or any part of a plant or equipment, within this State for the production, delivery or furnishing for or to other persons, including private or municipal corporations, heat, gas, coal slurry, light, power in any form or by an agency, water for business, manufacturing, agricultural or household use, or sewerage service, whether or not within the limits of municipalities.” See NRS 704.020(2)(a).
Nevada Public Utilities Commission
The term “public utility” includes “any plant or equipment, or any part of a plant or equipment, within this State for the production, delivery or furnishing for or to other persons, including private or municipal corporations, heat, gas, coal slurry, light, power in any form or by an agency, water for business, manufacturing, agricultural or household use, or sewerage service, whether or not within the limits of municipalities.” See NRS 704.020(2)(a).
New HampshireX
New JerseyX
New MexicoX
New YorkX
North CarolinaX
North DakotaX
OhioX
OklahomaX
OregonX
PennsylvaniaX
Rhode IslandX
South CarolinaX
South DakotaX
TennesseeX
TexasX
UtahX
VermontX
VirginiaX
WashingtonX
West VirginiaX
WisconsinX
WyomingX

Solar Transmission Comparison

Requirements for transmission and interconnection depend largely on the chosen location of the transmission lines. The developer may be required to acquire a federal right-of-way, obtain approval from state or local governments, or go through a state encroachment process.

If the developer will need to connect transmission lines to the grid, then they must obtain an interconnection agreement. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires all public utilities that own, control, or operate facilities used for transmitting electric energy in interstate commerce to have on file standard procedures and a standard agreement for interconnecting generators. If the project will interconnect with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), then the transmission process is particularly unique and specific rules and procedures will apply.

The Federal Power Act (FPA) directs the Department of Energy to deal with transmission congestion problems through designating geographic areas of special significance where consumers have been negatively affected called National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors. The designation could provide FERC with limited siting authority pursuant to the FPA under certain circumstances.

The developer will be required to obtain a federal right-of-way if transmission lines will go through federal lands. If the project will be located on state lands, then the developer will need to get the approval of any relevant state or local authority. This generally requires the developer to obtain an encroachment permit. Any access needed through private lands will require negotiation for right-of-way access or eminent domain proceedings.
More Information

Topic to Compare

Transmission Siting Agency
Transmission Siting
Transmission Siting Threshold
Public Utility Definition for Transmission Facility
Public Utility Regulatory Authority Certification Transmission Threshold
AlabamaX
AlaskaX
ArizonaX
ArkansasX
CaliforniaX
California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission
In California, transmission lines set to operate with a voltage between 50 kV and 200 kV must obtain a permit to construct from the CPUC unless it qualifies for an exemption. Transmission lines set to operate with a voltage higher than 200 kV must obtain a CPCN from the CPUC. Transmission lines with a voltage under 50 kV require the developer to comply with local requirements. In addition, generation interconnection lines for power plants under the jurisdiction of the California Energy Commission (CEC) are sited as part of the CEC's power plant siting process.
Transmission lines over 50 kV.
In California, transmission facilities are covered by the definition of 'public utility.' A "public utility" includes every common carrier, toll bridge corporation, pipeline corporation, gas corporation, electrical corporation, telephone corporation, telegraph corporation, water corporation, sewer system corporation, and heat corporation, where the service is performed for, or the commodity is delivered to, the public or any portion thereof. A 'transmission line' has a voltage over 200 kV. A 'power line' has a voltage between 50 and 200 kV. A 'distribution line' has a voltage under 50 kV.
Transmission lines must be 50 kV or greater.
ColoradoX
ConnecticutX
DelawareX
FederalX
FloridaX
GeorgiaX
HawaiiX
IdahoX
IllinoisX
IndianaX
IowaX
KansasX
KentuckyX
LouisianaX
MaineX
MarylandX
MassachusettsX
MichiganX
MinnesotaX
MississippiX
MissouriX
MontanaX
NebraskaX
NevadaX
Public Utilities Commission of Nevada
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
The term “public utility” includes “any plant or equipment, or any part of a plant or equipment, within this State for the production, delivery or furnishing for or to other persons, including private or municipal corporations, heat, gas, coal slurry, light, power in any form or by any agency, water for business, manufacturing, agricultural or household use, or sewerage service, whether or not within the limits of municipalities.” NRS 704.020(2)(a).
New HampshireX
New JerseyX
New MexicoX
New YorkX
North CarolinaX
North DakotaX
OhioX
OklahomaX
OregonX
PennsylvaniaX
Rhode IslandX
South CarolinaX
South DakotaX
TennesseeX
TexasX
UtahX
VermontX
VirginiaX
WashingtonX
West VirginiaX
WisconsinX
WyomingX

Solar Environmental Review Comparison

A typical utility-scale solar project will raise numerous environmental issues that require permitting and/or regulatory approval from federal and state agencies. The environmental law in the United States is governed by federal law that is administered by both federal and state agencies, as well as state environmental laws that either complement federal law or go above and beyond it. The federal government and individual states may require reviews, permits or approvals for cultural resources, biological resources, sensitive land use, water resources, and hazardous waste and materials management and disposal.

Topic to Compare

Environmental Review Process
Environmental Review Process Agency
Environmental Review (Leasing Stage)
Environmental Review (Non-invasive Exploration)
Environmental Review (Invasive Exploration)
Environmental Review (Drilling)
Environmental Review (Power Plant Siting)
AlabamaX
AlaskaX
ArizonaX
ArkansasX
CaliforniaX
Developers must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when undergoing projects in California. Power plants over 50 MW are subject to the California Energy Commission siting process in lieu of the CEQA process.
California Department of Conservation
The California Energy Commission or a designated local county will conduct an environmental review process that replaces the California Environmental Policy Act process for power plants with a net generating capacity of over 50 MW.
ColoradoX
ConnecticutX
DelawareX
FederalX
United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Energy, United States Department of Defense
Typically an Environmental Assessment (EA) is conducted for individual leases or rights-of-way. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) may be required for programmatic environmental reviews or when reviewing multiple lease parcels or rights-of-way in a single review.
FloridaX
GeorgiaX
HawaiiX
IdahoX
IllinoisX
IndianaX
IowaX
KansasX
KentuckyX
LouisianaX
MaineX
MarylandX
MassachusettsX
MichiganX
MinnesotaX
MississippiX
MissouriX
MontanaX
NebraskaX
NevadaX
Nevada Utility Environmental Protection Act
Nevada Division of Environmental Protection
Nevada Utility Environmental Protection Act review process for renewable energy facilities over 70 MW and transmission lines of at least 200 kV.
New HampshireX
New JerseyX
New MexicoX
New YorkX
North CarolinaX
North DakotaX
OhioX
OklahomaX
OregonX
PennsylvaniaX
Rhode IslandX
South CarolinaX
South DakotaX
TennesseeX
TexasX
UtahX
VermontX
VirginiaX
WashingtonX
West VirginiaX
WisconsinX
WyomingX

Solar Water Access & Rights Comparison

Water access and water rights are predominantly handled at the state level. A solar developer may require water for such uses as plant operations at a CSP facility, dust suppression for roads, and construction activities. Depending on the situation and demands of a project, a developer may seek water through a lease holder, a municipality, or a permanent water right. Water rights are typically divided into surface water and ground water rights. In the western United States, surface water rights are generally governed by a system called prior appropriation (where water rights are acquired through priority and beneficial use). While in the eastern United States, surface water rights are governed by a system known as riparian rights (where water rights are obtained by having land that is adjacent to a stream or river). Ground water rights are governed by a diverse set of rules depending on the state. States may employ the rule of capture (where a land owner is able to use as much water as he/she can pump), limit the rule of capture through conservation laws, include ground water in the prior appropriation system, or include only tributary ground water (ground water that is hydraulically connected to surface water) in the prior appropriation system.
More Information

Topic to Compare

Water Right Agency
Water Right Classification
Geothermal Right Classification
Is a Water Right Required to Pump Geothermal Fluids?
AlabamaX
AlaskaX
ArizonaX
ArkansasX
CaliforniaX
California State Water Resources Control Board
Hybrid of Prior Appropriation and Riparian Right
ColoradoX
ConnecticutX
DelawareX
FederalX
FloridaX
GeorgiaX
HawaiiX
IdahoX
IllinoisX
IndianaX
IowaX
KansasX
KentuckyX
LouisianaX
MaineX
MarylandX
MassachusettsX
MichiganX
MinnesotaX
MississippiX
MissouriX
MontanaX
NebraskaX
NevadaX
Nevada Division of Water Resources
Prior appropriation
New HampshireX
New JerseyX
New MexicoX
New YorkX
North CarolinaX
North DakotaX
OhioX
OklahomaX
OregonX
PennsylvaniaX
Rhode IslandX
South CarolinaX
South DakotaX
TennesseeX
TexasX
UtahX
VermontX
VirginiaX
WashingtonX
West VirginiaX
WisconsinX
WyomingX