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New Facilities


Generation


Federal 
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent federal agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects.

State
The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Facility Permitting (EFP) unit conducts the environmental review required for proposed energy facilities in Minnesota. This unit serves as technical staff to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in its permitting of energy facilities. These facilities include power plants, transmission lines, wind farms, and pipelines. 

Any large energy facility (e.g., electric generation plant, pipeline, transmission line) proposed to be built in Minnesota must obtain a Certificate of Need from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission before construction begins. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Regulation and Planning (ERP) unit analyzes whether certificate-of-need proposals show a need for the facility, show that the proposal is least-cost and meet other criteria for need set out in statutes and rules. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Facility Permitting (EFP) unit conducts the environmental review required for proposed energy facilities in Minnesota. This unit serves as technical staff to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in its permitting of energy facilities. These facilities include power plants, transmission lines, wind farms, and pipelines. 

The PUC determines the basic types of facility (if any) to be constructed, the size of the facility, and the time of the facility (e.g. when projected to be in service).

All large energy facilities must obtain a Certificate of Need from the PUC before construction. A large electric facility is classified as:

  • Any electric power generating plant or combination of plants at a single site with a combined capacity of 50,000 kilowatts or more and transmission lines directly associated with the plant that are necessary to interconnect the plant to the transmission system; and
  • Any high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more and greater than 1,500 feet in length; (Minn. Stat. § 216B.2421, subd. 2

In the eDocket system: under “Docket Type” select “Certificate of Need” for all documents filed in all Certificate of Need proceedings. For tips on how to find these documents in the system, view the help files.

More information is available in the PUC's Certificate of Need fact sheet.  

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulates electricity, natural gas and telephone utilities in the state. PUC overview Regulating Utility Service in Minnesota 
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's mission is to create and maintain a regulatory environment that ensures safe, reliable and efficient utility services at fair and reasonable rates (Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 216A, 216B, 216E, 216F, 216G and 237).

Transmission & Distribution

Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator
MISO is a Regional Transmission Organization providing reliability coordination and planning services for the Midwest region’s electric transmission system.  Related services provided include generation interconnection, maintenance coordination, market monitoring and dispute resolution.  Through MISO’s Energy Markets, generating units are centrally dispatched based on bids and offers cleared in the market.  

There are important differences to be aware of between electric transmission and distribution lines:

  • Electric transmission lines carry power at high voltage (typically 110 kilovolts or above) from generating plants to distribution substations.  
  • Distribution substations lower the voltage so that the electricity can be sent through the distribution system’s network to individual customers. 
  • MISO and FERC regulate the electric transmission system (membership in MISO is voluntary), and the MN PUC regulates electric and natural gas utility retail rates.

For more information on transmission and distribution regulation, visit these websites:

Pipelines

Federal
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil.

State
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) does not regulate transportation rates or commodity prices and has very limited jurisdiction over safety. The Office of Pipeline Safety, a Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, inspects natural gas, propane and hazardous liquid pipelines, and investigates leaks and accidents. 

All large energy facilities require a Certificate of Need from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). For the purposes of pipelines, a large energy facility is:

  • any pipeline greater than six inches in diameter and having more than 50 miles of its length in Minnesota used for the transportation of coal, crude petroleum or petroleum fuels or oil, or their derivatives; and
  • any pipeline for transporting natural or synthetic gas at pressures in excess of 200 pounds per square inch with more than 50 miles of its length in Minnesota.