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Texas Geothermal Transmission & Interconnection(8-TX)

Developers of new transmission lines will be required to obtain transmission siting approval from the PUCT, and a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) before providing service to the public. Developers within the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power region will also be required to comply with specific interconnection requirements in Texas based on the generating capacity of the facility. If the facility will generate less than 10MW, then the developer must comply with Distributed Generation procedures. If the facility will generate over 10MW, then the developer must seek approval for interconnection from the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Certificate of Convenience and Necessity

Developers of new transmission facilities must obtain a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity from the PUCT before providing service to the public. PURA 37.051(a). A certificate, or certificate amendment, is required for a new generating unit – a new electric generating unit constructed, owned, or operated by a bundled electric utility. A CCN is only required if the power producer is a public utility and a “retail electric utility.” A “retail electric utility” is defined as a person, political subdivision, electric cooperative, or agency that operates, maintains, or controls a facility to provide retail electric utility service. PUCT Sub. Rule 25.101 outlines specific situations in which a CCN is not required. For example, “routine activities” do not require a CCN. PUCT Sub. Rule 25.101(c)(5). Developers are required to submit an application for a CCN to PUCT for review. PUCT will then provide public notice, and the developer may be required to participate in a public hearing.

ERCOT Regulation

Developers must obtain approval for interconnection with ERCOT if they will use transmission facilities within ERCOT (whether its own facilities or those of another transmission service provider) to serve load or to make sales of energy to a third party. PUCT Sub. Rule 25.198(a). ERCOT interconnection requirements apply to facilities with a generating capacity over 10 MW. Developers must submit an application for interconnection to ERCOT and pay the required fees. The transmission service provider must conduct a full interconnection study, and the developer will negotiate an interconnection agreement with the transmission service provider. The finalized interconnection agreement must be filed with the PUCT, and ERCOT will review the interconnection agreement and assess whether the resource would violate any operational standards.

Developers with facilities that will generate less than 10 MW must comply with the regulations for distributed generation interconnection. The distributed generation rules set forth the rights and responsibilities of both the developer and the transmission distribution utility (TDU). Any distributed generation facility must comply with the general requirements outlined in PUCT Sub. Rule 25.212(b). The TDU will review the request, and provide developers with justifications if the application is deemed insufficient. Developers and the TDU must use best reasonable efforts to complete the interconnection process in instances where developers request interconnection to a secondary network system. Certain aspects of secondary network systems create technical problems that may make interconnection more costly to implement. The TDU is required to comply with specific requirements when overseeing a secondary network interconnection. The TDU is obligated to connect distributed generation facilities that comply with the procedures described in the PUCT Interconnection Manual and the technical requirements of PUCT Sub. Rule 25.212. The TDU is required to document the technical or business reasons for not granting a distributed generation application, and is obligated to work with the developer to resolve any problems to the satisfaction of both parties.

Local Process
Developers must obtain the necessary approval from the local government if their transmission lines will be sited through the jurisdiction of a local government. Developers must also obtain any necessary permits or consent from the local government before beginning the CCN process of their transmission line. Developers are required to compile alternate route options and analyze efficiency options in lieu of new transmission lines. If the transmission lines will be in the ERCOT power region, then developers will also be required to submit an economic cost-benefit study unless the line will be within a competitive renewable energy zone.

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Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

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Permitting at a Glance

Texas Federal

Transmission Siting Agency: Public Utility Commission of Texas Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Transmission Siting: Notice must be provided to affected land owners, utilities, and localities. If transmission lines will be sited through the jurisdiction of a local government, the developer will need to obtain any necessary permits or consent in order to complete an application for CCN. Once siting is approved, the developer will have to negotiate with the land owner/managing agency for any lease or right of way needed. [1]
Transmission Siting Threshold: All transmission siting is governed by the PUCT.
Public Utility Definition for Transmission Facility: Public Utility includes (1) "Electric utility" which is as a person or river authority that owns or operates for compensation in this state equipment or facilities to produce, generate, transmit, distribute, sell, or furnish electricity in this state. The term includes a lessee, trustee, or receiver of an electric utility. [2]
Public Utility Regulatory Authority Certification Transmission Threshold: No threshold provided. Siting requirements do not apply to "routine activities."

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List of Reference Sources

  1. Texas PUCT Substantive Rule 25.101, Certification Criteria, Electric Substantive Rules (2012).
  2. Texas TUC 37.051, Certificate of Convenience and Necessity Requirements (2009).