Power Plants

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

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

Docket Number Project Name Description
14-515
Aurora Distributed Solar, LLC (Aurora) proposes to construct distributed photovoltaic (PV) solar generation systems and associted facilities totaling 100 MW (alternating current nameplate capacity), to be located at up to 24 locations in Minnesota.
12-1240
The Commission has initiated a Competitive Resource Acquisition Process (RAP) through which it will select resources to meet the need identified in Xcel Energy's 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). In its review the Commission will consider alternative proposals from Xcel Energy, Calpine Corporation, Invenergy, Geronimo Energy, and Great River Energy
Minor Alterations to Transmission Lines or Large Electric Power Generating Plants
Annual Hearing for the Energy Facility Permitting program

Full Review

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.   

Alternative Review

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.   

Local Review

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.05Minn. Rules 7850.5300 | Local Review Fact Sheet.

Environmental Assessment Worksheet

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.

Certificate of Need

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).