Siting & Routing
The Public Utilities Commission has decisional responsibility for the siting and routing of large energy facilities. This includes issuing permits for large electric power plants, electric transmission lines, and oil or gas pipelines and storage facilities which may require one or both of the following:
- Site permits for large power plants (greater than 50 megawatts)
- Site permits for wind farms (greater than 5 megawatts)
- Route permits for high-voltage transmission lines (greater than 100 kilovolts)
- Route permits for large pipelines
The Minnesota Legislature has established state policy to locate energy facilities in an orderly manner compatible with environmental preservation and the efficient use of resources. The Commission is directed to designate sites and routes that minimize adverse human and environmental impacts while insuring electric power system reliability and integrity and insuring that electric energy needs are met and fulfilled in an orderly and timely fashion (Minn. Stat. 216E.02).
Legislation enacted in 2005 transferred the jurisdiction for the Siting and Routing Program from the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to the Public Utilities Commission and the staff supporting the Siting and Routing Program from the EQB to the Department of Commerce.The jurisdiction for the Siting and Routing Program was moved to the Commission in order to better comport with the Commission’s existing Certificate of Need process required for large energy facilities.
Under this unique arrangement, the Department of Commerce staff (Energy Facilities Permitting section) administers the review and analysis of siting and routing applications, and provides comments and recommendations to the Commission for decisions. Department responsibilities generally have included all aspects of public participation and information prescribed by statute and rule. The Department of Commerce also participates in contested case hearings on these matters and conducts the environmental review as required by Minnesota Statute.
Department of Commerce to provide technical expertise and other assistance.
The commissioner of the Department of Commerce shall consult with other state agencies and provide technical expertise and other assistance to the commission or to individual members of the commission for activities and proceedings under this chapter and chapters 216F and 216G. This assistance shall include the sharing of power plant siting and routing staff and other resources as necessary.
The Department of Commerce was designated by the Legislature as the Responsible Governmental Unit (RGU) responsible for the environmental review of projects proposed under the siting and routing process (as required by the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act).
The commissioner of the Department of Commerce shall prepare for the Commission an environmental impact statement on each proposed large electric generating plant or high-voltage transmission line for which a complete application has been submitted. The commissioner shall not consider whether or not the project is needed. No other state environmental review documents shall be required. The commissioner shall study and evaluate any site or route proposed by an applicant and any other site or route the commission deems necessary that was proposed in a manner consistent with rules concerning the form, content, and timeliness of proposals for alternate sites or routes. (Minn. Stat. 216E.03 Subd. 5)
Accessing Department of Commerce's (DOC) energy facilities website has changed. ALL Bookmarks need to be re-bookmarked.
Beginning March 26, 2012, the link previously provided on this page to the Department of Commerce's energy facility permitting unit's independent information will no longer work. Persons who had bookmarked a link to that information are advised that they will need to re-bookmark new links to DOC's website.
You will leave the PUC website and transfer to the Department of Commerce Energy Facility Permitting webpages.The content you will view is located and controlled by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Facilities Permitting unit. This link is offered for your convenience and should not be viewed as an endorsement by the Public Utilities Commission of the content provided. Linkage to the Department's website does not imply any endorsement, approval, investigation, or verification of any content or information contained within their site or any information that may be accessible from the linked site. The Commission does not monitor or control the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, availability, or appropriateness of the content or information on the linked site. The official record of a proceeding is located in the Commission’s eDocket system.