Vermont Hydropower Facility Licensing, Certification, Safety, & Regulation(7-VT)
In Vermont, a hydropower developer may need to obtain a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Utility Commission for transmission line extension projects, interconnected group net-metered hydroelectric power systems, and projects that sell retail electricity within Vermont. A small hydropower developer may qualify for an expedited permitting process under Vermont’s Small Hydropower Assistance Program.
Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply
Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.
Permitting at a Glance
|Certificate of Public Good/Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (Certificate):||Any energy company must obtain a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) from the Vermont Public Utility Commission (VPSB) before beginning construction of a proposed project. A hydropower developer must obtain a CPG from the VPSB for transmission line extension project, or an interconnected group net-metered hydroelectric power system. The Board will review the proposed project on a site-specific basis analyzing the environmental, economic and social impacts of the proposed project before issuing a CPG.|
|Certificate Regulatory Agency:||Vermont Public Utility Commission;|
|Certificate Threshold:||A developer before beginning construction of transmission line extension projects, outside of FERC's jurisdiction, interconnected group net-metered hydroelectric power systems, and project's that sell retail electricity within Vermont may need to obtain a CPG.|
|Public Utility/Electric Plant definition for Certificate:||A "energy company" includes individuals, partnerships, associations, electric cooperatives, corporations, and municipalities owning or conducting any public service business or property used in energy production (e.g., heat, light, or motion from natural gas, solar, geothermal resources, nuclear, wind...or flowing water. 30 V.S.A. § 201|
|Small Hydropower Program:||Vermont’s Small Hydropower Assistance Program is an optional program that provides enhanced assistance from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the Vermont Public Service Department and the Vermont State Historic Preservation Office of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, for small, low-impact projects. The Program is designed to provide an expedited review process for small-low-impact hydroelectric projects in accordance with the Small Hydropower Assistance Program. Vermont Small Hydropower Assistance Program Overview; Small Hydropower Assistance Program Vermont Small Hydropower Assistance Program Site-Specific Determinations Summary.|
|Small Hydropower Program Regulatory Agency:||Vermont Public Service Department|
|Small Hydropower Definition:||Proposals for new hydroelectric projects, in Vermont, that meet the Small Hydropower Screening Criteria for limited resource impacts may be eligible for the Vermont Small Hydropower Assistance Program.
A developer must demonstrate that the project meets all of the following criteria to qualify for a multi-agency site visit:
|Renewable Portfolio Standard Process (RPS):||Vermont requires all utilities procure 75% of their retail sales from eligible renewable energy resources by 2032.|
|RPS Eligible:||Hydroelectric facilities with a generating capacity of 200 MW or less.|
|RPS Regulatory Agency:||New England Power Pool Generation Information System (NEPOOL)|
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