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SF 1706

as introduced - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 03/03/2017 09:20am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to energy; modifying certain permitting provisions for renewable energy
systems; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, sections 216B.243, subdivision 8;
216E.03, subdivisions 3, 9; 216E.04, subdivision 7; 216F.01, subdivision 2;
216F.011; 216F.04; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216F.081.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216B.243, subdivision 8, is amended to read:


Subd. 8.

Exemptions.

(a) This section does not apply to:

(1) cogeneration or small power production facilities as defined in the Federal Power
Act, United States Code, title 16, section 796, paragraph (17), subparagraph (A), and
paragraph (18), subparagraph (A), and having a combined capacity at a single site of less
than 80,000 kilowatts; plants or facilities for the production of ethanol or fuel alcohol; or
any case where the commission has determined after being advised by the attorney general
that its application has been preempted by federal law;

(2) a high-voltage transmission line proposed primarily to distribute electricity to serve
the demand of a single customer at a single location, unless the applicant opts to request
that the commission determine need under this section or section 216B.2425;

(3) the upgrade to a higher voltage of an existing transmission line that serves the demand
of a single customer that primarily uses existing rights-of-way, unless the applicant opts to
request that the commission determine need under this section or section 216B.2425;

(4) a high-voltage transmission line of one mile or less required to connect a new or
upgraded substation to an existing, new, or upgraded high-voltage transmission line;

(5) conversion of the fuel source of an existing electric generating plant to using natural
gas;

(6) the modification of an existing electric generating plant to increase efficiency, as
long as the capacity of the plant is not increased more than ten percent or more than 100
megawatts, whichever is greater;

(7) new text begina large energy facility, as defined in section 216B.2421, subdivision 1, that is new text enda new text beginlarge
new text end wind energy conversion systemnew text begin, as defined in section 216F.01, subdivision 2,new text end or solar deleted text beginelectric
generation
deleted text end new text beginenergy generating new text endfacility deleted text beginif the system or facility is owned and operated by an
independent power producer and the electric output of the system or facility is not sold to
an entity that provides retail service in Minnesota or wholesale electric service to another
entity in Minnesota other than an entity that is a federally recognized regional transmission
organization or independent system operator
deleted text endnew text begin, as defined in section 216E.01, subdivision
9a, unless a public utility is the initial applicant for a site permit under chapter 216E or 216F
for the large energy facility
new text end; deleted text beginor
deleted text end

(8) a large wind energy conversion system, as defined in section 216F.01, subdivision
2, or a solar energy generating deleted text beginlarge energydeleted text end facility, as defined in section deleted text begin216B.2421,
subdivision 2
deleted text endnew text begin 216E.01, subdivision 9anew text end, engaging in a repowering project that:

(i) will not result in the facility exceeding the nameplate capacity under its most recent
interconnection agreement; or

(ii) will result in the facility exceeding the nameplate capacity under its most recent
interconnection agreement, provided that the Midcontinent Independent System Operator
has provided a signed generator interconnection agreement that reflects the expected net
power increase.

(b) For the purpose of this subdivision, "repowering project" means:

(1) modifying a large wind energy conversion system or a solar energy generating large
energy facility to increase its efficiency without increasing its nameplate capacity;

(2) replacing turbines in a large wind energy conversion system without increasing the
nameplate capacity of the system; or

(3) increasing the nameplate capacity of a large wind energy conversion system.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216E.03, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Application.

Any person seeking to construct a large electric power generating
plant or a high-voltage transmission line must apply to the commission for a site or route
permit. The application shall contain such information as the commission may require. The
applicant shall propose at least two sites for a large electric power generating plant deleted text beginand two
routes for a high-voltage transmission line
deleted text end. Neither of the two proposed deleted text beginroutesdeleted text end new text beginsites new text endmay
be designated as a preferred deleted text beginroutedeleted text end new text beginsite new text endand all proposed deleted text beginroutesdeleted text end new text beginsites new text endmust be numbered and
designated as alternatives. new text beginThe applicant of a high-voltage transmission line must submit
an alternative route or route segments if needed to avoid significant human and environmental
impacts.
new text endThe commission shall determine whether an application is complete and advise
the applicant of any deficiencies within ten days of receipt. An application is not incomplete
if information not in the application can be obtained from the applicant during the first phase
of the process and that information is not essential for notice and initial public meetings.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216E.03, subdivision 9, is amended to read:


Subd. 9.

Timing.

The commission shall make a final decision on an application within
60 days after receipt of the report of the administrative law judge. A final decision on the
request for a site permit or route permit shall be made within one year after the commission's
determination that an application is complete. The commission may extend this time limit
for up to deleted text beginthree monthsdeleted text end new text begin30 days new text endfor just cause or upon agreement of the applicant.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216E.04, subdivision 7, is amended to read:


Subd. 7.

Timing.

The commission shall make a final decision on an application within
60 days after completion of the public hearing. A final decision on the request for a site
permit or route permit under this section shall be made within six months after the
commission's determination that an application is complete. The commission may extend
this time limit for up to deleted text beginthree monthsdeleted text end new text begin30 days new text endfor just cause or upon agreement of the
applicant.

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216F.01, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Large wind energy conversion system or LWECS.

"Large wind energy
conversion system" or "LWECS" means any combination of WECS with a combined
nameplate capacity of 5,000 kilowatts or morenew text begin and transmission lines directly associated
with the plant that are necessary to interconnect the plant to the transmission system
new text end.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216F.011, is amended to read:


216F.011 SIZE DETERMINATION.

(a) The total size of a combination of wind energy conversion systems for the purpose
of determining what jurisdiction has siting authority under this chapter must be determined
according to this section. The nameplate capacity of one wind energy conversion system
must be combined with the nameplate capacity of any other wind energy conversion system
that:

(1) is located within five miles of the wind energy conversion system;

(2) is constructed within the same 12-month period as the wind energy conversion
system; and

(3) exhibits characteristics of being a single development, including, but not limited to,
ownership structure, an umbrella sales arrangement, shared interconnection, revenue sharing
arrangements, and common debt or equity financing.

(b) The commissioner shall provide forms and assistance for project developers to make
a request for a size determination. Upon written request of a project developer, the
commissioner of commerce shall provide a written size determination within 30 days of
receipt of the request and of any information new text beginneeded to complete the size determination that
has been
new text endrequested by the commissioner. In the case of a dispute, the chair of the Public
Utilities Commission shall make the final size determination.

(c) An application to a county for a permit under this chapter for a wind energy conversion
system is not complete without a size determination made under this section.

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216F.04, is amended to read:


216F.04 SITE PERMIT.

(a) No person may construct an LWECS without a site permit issued by the Public
Utilities Commission.

(b) Any person seeking to construct an LWECS shall submit an application to the
commission for a site permit in accordance with this chapter and any rules adopted by the
commission. The permitted site need not be contiguous land.

(c) The commission shall make a final decision on an application for a site permit for
an LWECS within 180 days after acceptance of a complete application by the commission.
The commission may extend this deadline deleted text beginfor causedeleted text endnew text begin upon agreement with the proposernew text end.

(d) The commission may place conditions in a permit and may deny, modify, suspend,
or revoke a permit.

Sec. 8. new text beginPERMITTING PROCESS REVIEW.
new text end

new text begin (a) The Public Utilities Commission must evaluate its large wind energy conversion
system permitting processes under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 216F, and Minnesota Rules,
part 7854, to determine whether existing processes could be improved or streamlined for
more efficient and timely permitting. To the extent the Public Utilities Commission identifies
any processes to improve or streamline, the commission must alter the processes accordingly.
new text end

new text begin (b) By January 15, 2018, the Public Utilities Commission must report its findings under
paragraph (a) to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees with
jurisdiction over energy policy and finance. The report must describe in detail the processes
reviewed, actions taken by the commission to streamline any processes identified, and
document any corresponding reductions in the length of time required for permitting large
wind energy conversion system projects.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 9. new text begin REPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 216F.081, new text end new text begin is repealed.
new text end

Sec. 10. new text beginEFFECTIVE DATE.
new text end

new text begin Sections 1 to 9 are effective the day following enactment.
new text end

APPENDIX

Repealed Minnesota Statutes: 17-3788

216F.081 APPLICATION OF COUNTY STANDARDS.

A county may adopt by ordinance standards for LWECS that are more stringent than standards in commission rules or in the commission's permit standards. The commission, in considering a permit application for LWECS in a county that has adopted more stringent standards, shall consider and apply those more stringent standards, unless the commission finds good cause not to apply the standards.