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Energy Environmental Review & Analysis

The Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (EERA) unit conducts environmental review of large energy projects for which the Department of Commerce is the responsible governmental unit.

These projects include:

  • Large electric power generating plants equal to or greater than 50 megawatts (including solar generation facilities)
  • Wind farms greater equal to or greater than 5 megawatts
  • High-voltage transmission lines greater than 100 kilovolts
  • Large oil and natural gas pipelines

The type of environmental review document prepared by EERA varies with facility type and size, but all environmental review documents analyze the potential human and environmental impacts of a proposed project and possible mitigation measures. This is the only environmental review required for siting or routing large energy projects. You can find, track, and comment on large energy projects on the EERA website.

  • EERA provides technical expertise and assistance to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) including analysis of the relative merits of siting and routing options, identification of permit conditions to mitigate potential impacts, and review of permit compliance filings. The Commission is responsible for approving or denying permit applications for the projects listed above. 
  • EERA identifies and undertakes research on the environmental impacts of energy facilities; creates guidance materials and protocols to ensure adequate and consistent analysis; and produces and distributes public information materials.
  • EERA staff also serves as Commerce’s representative to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, which provides leadership and coordination across agencies on priority, multi-jurisdictional environmental issues.
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