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HF 1745

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 03/08/2016 03:46pm

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

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 03/11/2015

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to siting solar generating systems; setting setback standards; requiring
local project approval for site permit; amending Minnesota Statutes 2014,
sections 216E.03, subdivisions 5, 7; 216E.04, subdivision 5; proposing coding
for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 216E.

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

Section 1.

new text begin [216E.022] SETBACK FOR SOLAR ENERGY GENERATING
SYSTEMS.
new text end

new text begin Solar panels that are part of a solar energy generating system that has been issued a
site permit under this chapter must be set back at least 400 feet from any dwelling unless:
new text end

new text begin (1) a local ordinance or regulation requires a greater setback; or
new text end

new text begin (2) the property owner of the adjacent property and the owner of the solar energy
generating system have reached a mutual agreement in writing allowing for a smaller
setback.
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. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 216E.03, subdivision 5, is amended to read:


Subd. 5.

Environmental review.

new text begin(a) new text endThe 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.

new text begin (b) If the proposed large electric generating plant or high-voltage transmission
line is to be constructed on agricultural land, the environmental impact statement must
include an analysis of the impact of construction on any agricultural drainage system
under the surface of the construction site, including the impact on other agricultural land
that is part of the same drainage system.
new text end

new text begin (c) For the purpose of this subdivision, "agricultural drainage system" means a
publicly or privately owned drainage system that is installed or modified to improve the
productivity of agricultural land. Agricultural drainage system includes all tile, pipe, or
tubing of any material beneath the surface, and any associated inlets and outlets.
new text end

new text begin (d) If the proposed large electric generating plant is a solar energy generating
system, the environmental impact statement must include the results of an analysis of
reflected solar irradiance from the solar panels and its impact at specific observation
points, including but not limited to nearby airports, air traffic, highways, and residences.
The analysis must measure the incidence and duration of solar glare at these observation
points during various seasons of the year and times of day, and discuss how such impacts
can be mitigated by relocating solar panels or changing the angles at which they are set.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 216E.03, subdivision 7, is amended to read:


Subd. 7.

Considerations in designating sites and routes.

(a) The commission's
site and route permit determinations must be guided by the state's goals to conserve
resources, minimize environmental impacts, minimize human settlement and other land
use conflicts, and ensure the state's electric energy security through efficient, cost-effective
power supply and electric transmission infrastructure.


(b) To facilitate the study, research, evaluation, and designation of sites and routes,
the commission shall be guided by, but not limited to, the following considerations:

(1) evaluation of research and investigations relating to the effects on land, water
and air resources of large electric power generating plants and high-voltage transmission
lines and the effects of water and air discharges and electric and magnetic fields resulting
from such facilities on public health and welfare, vegetation, animals, materials and
aesthetic values, including baseline studies, predictive modeling, and evaluation of new or
improved methods for minimizing adverse impacts of water and air discharges and other
matters pertaining to the effects of power plants on the water and air environment;

(2) environmental evaluation of sites and routes proposed for future development and
expansion and their relationship to the land, water, air and human resources of the state;

(3) evaluation of the effects of new electric power generation and transmission
technologies and systems related to power plants designed to minimize adverse
environmental effects;

(4) evaluation of the potential for beneficial uses of waste energy from proposed
large electric power generating plants;

(5) analysis of the direct and indirect economic impact of proposed sites and routes
including, but not limited to, productive agricultural land lost or impaired;

(6) evaluation of adverse direct and indirect environmental effects that cannot be
avoided should the proposed site and route be accepted;

(7) evaluation of alternatives to the applicant's proposed site or route proposed
pursuant to subdivisions 1 and 2;

(8) evaluation of potential routes that would use or parallel existing railroad and
highway rights-of-way;

(9) evaluation of governmental survey lines and other natural division lines of
agricultural land so as to minimize interference with agricultural operations;

(10) evaluation of the future needs for additional high-voltage transmission lines
in the same general area as any proposed route, and the advisability of ordering the
construction of structures capable of expansion in transmission capacity through multiple
circuiting or design modifications;

(11) evaluation of irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources should the
proposed site or route be approved; deleted text beginand
deleted text end

(12) deleted text beginwhen appropriate, considerationdeleted text endnew text begin evaluationnew text end of problems raised by other state
and federal agencies and local entitiesdeleted text begin.deleted text endnew text begin; and
new text end

new text begin (13) evaluation of the impact on local land use, including the extent to which the
proposed site or route conflicts with county or local comprehensive plans, or official
controls governing future development.
new text end

(c) If the commission's rules are substantially similar to existing regulations of a
federal agency to which the utility in the state is subject, the federal regulations must
be applied by the commission.

(d) No site or route shall be designated which violates state agency rules.

(e) The commission must make specific findings that it has considered locating a
route for a high-voltage transmission line on an existing high-voltage transmission route
and the use of parallel existing highway right-of-way and, to the extent those are not used
for the route, the commission must state the reasons.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 216E.04, subdivision 5, is amended to read:


Subd. 5.

Environmental review.

new text begin(a) new text endFor the projects identified in subdivision
2 and following these procedures, the commissioner of the Department of Commerce
shall prepare for the commission an environmental assessment. The environmental
assessment shall contain information on the human and environmental impacts of the
proposed project and other sites or routes identified by the commission and shall address
mitigating measures for all of the sites or routes considered. new text beginIf the proposed project is to be
constructed on agricultural land, the environmental assessment must include an analysis
of the construction's impact on any agricultural drainage system under the surface of the
construction site, including the impact on other agricultural land that is part of the same
drainage system.
new text endThe environmental assessment shall be the only state environmental
review document required to be prepared on the project.

new text begin (b) For the purpose of this subdivision, "agricultural drainage system" means a
publicly or privately owned drainage system that is installed or modified to improve the
productivity of agricultural land. Agricultural drainage system includes all tile, pipe, or
tubing of any material beneath the surface, and any associated inlets and outlets.
new text end

new text begin (c) If the proposed large electric generating plant is a solar energy generating system,
the environmental assessment must include the results of an analysis of reflected solar
irradiance from the solar panels and its impact at specific observation points, including
but not limited to nearby airports, air traffic, highways, and residences. The analysis
must measure the incidence and duration of solar glare at these observation points during
various seasons of the year and times of day, and discuss how such impacts can be
mitigated by relocating solar panels or changing the angles at which they are set.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [216E.19] REQUIREMENT FOR LOCAL APPROVAL.
new text end

new text begin Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, the commission may not issue a
site permit for a solar energy generating system until all required local permits have
been granted and a resolution approving construction of the project is adopted by the
local governing body in which the proposed project site is located, provided that the
local governing body:
new text end

new text begin (1) has intervened as a formal party to the public hearing conducted under section
216E.03, subdivision 6, or 216E.04, subdivision 6; and
new text end

new text begin (2) has participated fully in the public hearing and has made its concerns regarding
the project part of the record established at the public hearing.
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