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    Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) For purposes of this section, the terms defined in this
subdivision have the meanings given them.
(b) "Utility" means an entity with the capability of generating 100,000 kilowatts or more
of electric power and serving, either directly or indirectly, the needs of 10,000 retail customers
in Minnesota. Utility does not include federal power agencies.
(c) "Renewable energy" means electricity generated through use of any of the following
(1) wind;
(2) solar;
(3) geothermal;
(4) hydro;
(5) trees or other vegetation; or
(6) landfill gas.
(d) "Resource plan" means a set of resource options that a utility could use to meet the
service needs of its customers over a forecast period, including an explanation of the supply and
demand circumstances under which, and the extent to which, each resource option would be used
to meet those service needs. These resource options include using, refurbishing, and constructing
utility plant and equipment, buying power generated by other entities, controlling customer loads,
and implementing customer energy conservation.
(e) "Refurbish" means to rebuild or substantially modify an existing electricity generating
resource of 30 megawatts or greater.
    Subd. 2. Resource plan filing and approval. A utility shall file a resource plan with the
commission periodically in accordance with rules adopted by the commission. The commission
shall approve, reject, or modify the plan of a public utility, as defined in section 216B.02,
subdivision 4
, consistent with the public interest. In the resource plan proceedings of all other
utilities, the commission's order shall be advisory and the order's findings and conclusions shall
constitute prima facie evidence which may be rebutted by substantial evidence in all other
proceedings. With respect to utilities other than those defined in section 216B.02, subdivision
, the commission shall consider the filing requirements and decisions in any comparable
proceedings in another jurisdiction. As a part of its resource plan filing, a utility shall include the
least cost plan for meeting 50 and 75 percent of all new and refurbished capacity needs through a
combination of conservation and renewable energy resources.
    Subd. 2a. Historical data and advance forecast. Each utility required to file a resource
plan under this section shall include in the filing all applicable annual information required by
section 216C.17, subdivision 2, and the rules adopted under that section. To the extent that a
utility complies with this subdivision, it is not required to file annual advance forecasts with the
department under section 216C.17, subdivision 2.
    Subd. 3. Environmental costs. (a) The commission shall, to the extent practicable, quantify
and establish a range of environmental costs associated with each method of electricity generation.
A utility shall use the values established by the commission in conjunction with other external
factors, including socioeconomic costs, when evaluating and selecting resource options in all
proceedings before the commission, including resource plan and certificate of need proceedings.
(b) The commission shall establish interim environmental cost values associated with
each method of electricity generation by March 1, 1994. These values expire on the date the
commission establishes environmental cost values under paragraph (a).
    Subd. 4. Preference for renewable energy facility. The commission shall not approve a
new or refurbished nonrenewable energy facility in an integrated resource plan or a certificate of
need, pursuant to section 216B.243, nor shall the commission allow rate recovery pursuant to
section 216B.16 for such a nonrenewable energy facility, unless the utility has demonstrated that a
renewable energy facility is not in the public interest.
    Subd. 5. Bidding; exemption from certificate of need proceeding. (a) A utility may
select resources to meet its projected energy demand through a bidding process approved or
established by the commission. A utility shall use the environmental cost estimates determined
under subdivision 3 in evaluating bids submitted in a process established under this subdivision.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if an electric power generating plant,
as described in section 216B.2421, subdivision 2, clause (1), is selected in a bidding process
approved or established by the commission, a certificate of need proceeding under section
216B.243 is not required.
(c) A certificate of need proceeding is also not required for an electric power generating plant
that has been selected in a bidding process approved or established by the commission, or such
other selection process approved by the commission, to satisfy, in whole or in part, the wind
power mandate of section 216B.2423 or the biomass mandate of section 216B.2424.
    Subd. 6. Consolidation of resource planning and certificate of need. A utility shall
indicate in its resource plan whether it intends to site or construct a large energy facility. If the
utility's resource plan includes a proposed large energy facility and construction of that facility is
likely to begin before the utility files its next resource plan, the commission shall conduct the
resource plan proceeding consistent with the requirements of section 216B.243 with respect to the
proposed facility. If the commission approves the proposed facility in the resource plan, a separate
certificate of need proceeding is not required.
History: 1993 c 356 s 3; 1994 c 644 s 4; 1997 c 176 s 2; 1997 c 198 s 1