Under the Power Plant Siting Act (Minnesota Statute 216E), a site permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) is required to build a large electric power generating plant (LEPGP). An LEPGP is a power plant and associated facilities capable of operating at a capacity of 50 megawatts or more. The rules for the administration of power plant site permits are found at Minnesota Rules Chapter 7850.
Open projects are projects currently in the permitting process. They are listed here chronologically, most recent projects first. To see all projects or to search for a project by location or type, see the project database
Xcel Energy's proposed Black Dog Repowering Project to install natural gas-fired combined cycle electric generating technology to replace two existing units currently fueled by low-sulfur western coal
Minor Alterations to Transmission Lines or Large Electric Power Generating Plants
Annual Hearing for the Energy Facility Permitting program
For the full review permitting process, an applicant must identify in its application a preferred site for the power plant and one alternative site. As part of the full review process, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Facility Permitting unit prepares an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the project, and a contested case hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge. The Commission has up to one year from the time the application is accepted to complete the process and make a decision on the permit. Minn. Rules 7850 | Full Review Flowchart.
An alternative review permitting process is available for certain smaller-sized power plants identified in Minnesota Statute 216E.04. For the alternative review process, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Facility Permitting unit prepares an environmental assessment (EA) for the project, and a public hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge. The Commission has up to six months from the time the application is accepted to complete the process and make a decision on the permit. Minn. Rules 7850 | Alternative Review Flowchart.
For certain projects, the applicant can elect to seek authorization from local units of government rather than from the Commission. Qualifying projects are identified in Minnesota Statute 216E.05. Minn. Rules 7850.5300 | Local Review Fact Sheet.
New power plants under 50 megawatts but over 25 megawatts do not require a Commission site permit, but do require an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) under the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (Minnesota Statute 116D) and Minnesota Rule 4410.4300. The Environmental Quality Board oversees these EAWs. New power plants under five megawatts are exempt from any state environmental review, and plants between five and 25 megawatts are subject to discretionary review.
A certificate of need from the Commission is required for a proposed LEPGP that is a large energy facility per Minnesota Statute 216B.2421. If a certificate of need is required, it must be issued prior to the site permit for the project (Minnesota Statute 216B.243).