Permitting timeline: Within 180 days after acceptance of a complete application. The commission may extend this deadline for cause.
Under Minnesota Law, a Large Wind Energy Conversion System (LWECS) is defined as a combination of wind energy conversion systems with a combined nameplate capacity of 5,000 kilowatts (5 megawatts) or more. To build a LWECS, a potential developer must obtain a site permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission). A county may also issue a LWECS permit for projects that are up to 25,000 kilowatts (25 megawatts) if they have notified the Commission that it wants to assume this responsibility. A county may also adopt more stringent LWECS siting standards and the Commission will apply the more stringent standards when permitting a project in that county, unless the Commission finds good cause not to apply the standards. The Commission is required to permit LWECS facilities in an orderly manner compatible with environmental preservation, sustainable development, and the efficient use of resources.
There are three processes that may impact a LWECS project: site permit, permit amendment process, and the permit transfer process.
The PUC Role: The Commission reviews and helps build the record, and the Commissioners will make the final decision about what appropriate action to take.