Connecticut Transmission Siting (8-CT-a)
The Connecticut legislature finds that power generating plants and transmission lines for electricity and fuels…have had a significant impact on the environment and ecology of the State of Connecticut. C.G.S. §16-50g. The Siting Council regulates the siting and development of electric generating facilities and transmission lines in order to protect the “quality of the environment and the ecological, scenic, historic and recreational values of the state.” C.G.S. §16-50g. The Siting Council consist of the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, the chairperson of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, one designee of the speaker of the House, one designee of the president pro tempore of the Senate, and five members of the public. C.G.S. § 16-50j. The Siting Council regulates facility development pursuant to Connecticut – Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 16-50 et seq., Public Utility Environmental Standards Act and Connecticut – Conn. Agencies Regs. §§ 16-50j et seq., Connecticut Siting Council Rules of Practice.
If the proposed project is not for a transmission line 69 kV or more a developer does not need to obtain a CECPN from the Siting Council, but may need to provide notice or may need other approval.
Transmission Siting Process
8-CT-a.1 – Contact Connecticut Siting Council (Siting Council)
The developer should contact the Connecticut Siting Council (Siting Council) about the proposed project to discuss details about the project and approvals required.
8-CT-a.2 to 8-CT-a.3 – Consult with Municipalities
At least 60 days prior to the filing of an Application with the Siting Council, the developer must consult with the municipality in which the facility may be located and with any other municipality required to be served with a copy of the Application concerning the proposed and alternative sites of the facility. Such consultation with the municipality must include, but not be limited to good faith efforts to meet with the chief elected official of the municipality. C.G.S. §16-50l(e).
At the time of the consultation, the developer must provide the chief elected official with any technical reports concerning the public need, the site selection process, and the environmental effects of the proposed facility. C.G.S. §16-50l(e).
8-CT-a.4 to 8-CT-a.5 – Publish Notice of Public Meetings and Public Hearing (Optional)
The municipality may conduct public hearings and meetings, as it deems necessary for it to advise the developer of its recommendations concerning the proposed facility. If the municipality decides to conduct public hearings or meetings, they will provide public notice of the meetings/hearings. C.G.S. §16-50l(e).
8-CT-a.6 – Provide Recommendations
Within 60 days of the initial consultation, the municipality must issue its recommendations to the developer. C.G.S. §16-50l(e).
8-CT-a.7 to 8-CT-a.8 – Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need Application
A developer must file a complete Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need Application (Application) and prescribed fee to the Siting Council. An Application must include, at minimum, the following:
- A description, including estimated costs, of the proposed transmission line, substation or switchyard, covering, where applicable underground cable sizes and specifications, overhead tower design and appearance and heights, if any, conductor sizes, and initial and ultimate voltages and capacities;
- A statement and full explanation of why the proposed transmission line, substation or switchyard is necessary and how the facility conforms to a long-range plan for expansion of the electric power grid serving the state and interconnected utility systems, that will serve the public need for adequate, reliable and economic service;
- A map of suitable scale of the proposed routing or site, showing details of the rights-of-way or site in the vicinity of settled areas, parks, recreational areas and scenic areas, residential areas, private or public schools, child care centers, group child care homes, family child care homes, licensed youth camps, and public playgrounds and showing existing transmission lines within one mile of the proposed route or site;
- A justification for adoption of the route or site selected, including comparison with alternative routes or sites which are environmentally, technically and economically practical;
- A description of the effect of the proposed transmission line, substation or switchyard on the environment, ecology, and scenic, historic and recreational values;
- A justification for overhead portions, if any, including life-cycle cost studies comparing overhead alternatives with underground alternatives, and effects;
- A schedule of dates showing the proposed program of right-of-way or property acquisition, construction, completion and operation;
- An identification of each federal, state, regional, district and municipal agency with which proposed route or site reviews have been undertaken, including a copy of each written agency position on such route or site; and
- An assessment of the impact of any electromagnetic fields to be produced by the proposed transmission line.
The developer must provide all relevant information that the Siting Council or any department or agency of the state exercising environmental controls require. C.G.S. §16-50l(a).
The developer must also submit a copy of the Application to the following, in the following manner:
- Each municipality in which any portion of such facility is to be located, both as primarily proposed and in the alternative locations listed, and any adjoining municipality having a boundary not more than two thousand five hundred feet from such facility; which copy shall be served on the chief executive officer of each such municipality and shall include notice of the date on or about which the application is to be filed, and the zoning commissions, planning commissions, planning and zoning commissions, conservation commissions and inland wetlands agencies of each such municipality, and the regional councils of government which encompass each such municipality;
- The Attorney General;
- Each member of the legislature in whose assembly or senate district the facility or any alternative location listed in the Application is to be located;
- Any agency, department or instrumentality of the federal government that has jurisdiction, whether concurrent with the state or otherwise, over any matter that would be affected by such facility;
- Each state department, agency, and commission named in C.G.S. §16-50j(h); and
- Such other state and municipal bodies as the Siting Council may by regulation designate.
The Application must also provide proof of service that a copy of the Application was sent to the above mentioned interested parties. C.G.S. §16-50l(b).
8-CT-a.9 – Provide Municipality Consultation Materials
No later than 15 days after submitting an Application to the Siting Council, the developer must provide to the Siting Council all materials provided to the municipality and a summary of the consultations with the municipality including all recommendations issued by the municipality. C.G.S. §16-50l(e).
8-CT-a.10 to 8-CT-a.11 – Review Application Materials for Completeness
The Siting Council must review the Application materials for administrative and technical completeness. The Siting Council may request any additional information that the Siting Council or any department or agency of the state exercising environmental controls require. C.G.S. §16-50l(a).
8-CT-a.12 – Publish Notice of the Application
The developer must provide notice of the Application to the general public in each municipality in which any portion of such facility is to be located, both as primarily proposed and in the alternative locations listed, and any adjoining municipality having a boundary not more than two thousand five hundred feet from such facility. C.G.S. §16-50l(b).
The developer must also provide notice of the Application by certified or registered mail, to:
- Each person appearing of record as an owner of property which abuts the proposed primary or alternative sites on which the facility would be located;
- To each electric distribution company customer in the municipality where the facility is proposed to be placed. Notice to the electric distribution company customer must be:
- provided on a separate enclosure with each customer's monthly bill for one or more months;
- be provided by the electric distribution company not earlier than 60 days prior to filing the Application with the Siting Council, but not later than the date that the Application is filed with the Siting Council; and
- include a brief description of the project, including its location relative to the affected municipality and adjacent streets; a brief technical description of the project including its proposed length, voltage, and type and range of heights of support structures or underground configuration; the reason for the project; the address and a toll-free telephone number of the applicant by which additional information about the project can be obtained; and a statement in print no smaller than twenty-four-point type size stating “NOTICE OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF A HIGH VOLTAGE ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION LINE”
8-CT-a.13 to 8-CT-a.15 – Publish Notice of Public Hearing
The Siting Council must hold a public hearing regarding the Application. The Siting Council must fix a commencement date and location of the public hearing on the Application for a CECPN within 30 days after receipt of the Application or more than 150 days after such receipt. C.G.S. §16-50m(a).
The Siting Council must hold at least one session of such hearing at a location selected by the Siting Council in the county in which the facility or any part thereof is to be located after 6:30 p.m. for the convenience of the general public. After holding at least one hearing session in the county in which the facility or any part thereof is to be located, the council may, in its discretion, hold additional hearing sessions at other locations. If the proposed facility is to be located in more than one county, the council must fix the location for at least one public hearing session in whichever county it determines is most appropriate, provided the council may hold hearing sessions in more than one county. C.G.S. §16-50m(a).
The Siting Council must ensure that notices include the date and location of each hearing to be mailed, within one week of the fixing of the date and location, to the applicant (developer) and each interested person to receive a copy of the Application. The general notice to the public must be published in not less than ten point, boldface type. C.G.S. §16-50m(c).
Interested parties and the public may provide comments regarding the Application at these public hearings. C.G.S. §16-50m.
8-CT-a.16 to 8-CT-a.17 – Review Application for Approval
After reviewing the Application materials and record, the Siting Council must make a determination to approval or deny the Application within 12 months after the filing of the Application. C.G.S. §16-50p(a).
The Siting Council must provide an opinion stating the full reasons for its decision. C.G.S. §16-50p(a)(3). The Siting Council may not grant a CECPN, either as proposed or modified by the Siting Council, unless they find and determine, at minimum, the following:
- A public need for the facility and the basis of need;
- The nature of the probable environmental impact of the facility alone and cumulatively with other existing facilities, including a specification of every significant adverse effect, including, but not limited to, electromagnetic fields that, whether alone or cumulatively with other effects, impact on, and conflict with the policies of the state concerning the natural environment, ecological balance, public health and safety, scenic, historic and recreational values, forests and parks, air and water purity and fish, aquaculture and wildlife;
- Why the adverse effects or conflicts referred to above are not sufficient reason to deny the Application;
- In the case of an electric transmission line, (i) what part, if any, of the facility must be located overhead, (ii) that the facility conforms to a long-range plan for expansion of the electric power grid of the electric systems serving the state and interconnected utility systems and will serve the interests of electric system economy and reliability, and (iii) that the overhead portions, if any, of the facility are cost effective and the most appropriate alternative based on a life-cycle cost analysis of the facility and underground alternatives to such facility, are consistent with the purposes of this chapter, with such regulations or standards as the council may adopt pursuant to section 16-50t, including, but not limited to, the council’s best management practices for electric and magnetic fields for electric transmission lines and with the Federal Power Commission “Guidelines for the Protection of Natural Historic Scenic and Recreational Values in the Design and Location of Rights-of-Way and Transmission Facilities” or any successor guidelines and any other applicable federal guidelines and are to be contained within an area that provides a buffer zone that protects the public health and safety, as determined by the council. In establishing such buffer zone, the council shall consider, among other things, residential areas, private or public schools, licensed child day care facilities, licensed youth camps or public playgrounds adjacent to the proposed route of the overhead portions and the level of the voltage of the overhead portions and any existing overhead transmission lines on the proposed route. At a minimum, the existing right-of-way shall serve as the buffer zone; and
- In the case of an electric transmission line, that the location of the line will not pose an undue hazard to persons or property along the area traversed by the line.
In addition, the Siting Council may not grant a CECPN, either as proposed or modified by the Siting Council, unless they find and determine, at minimum, the following:
- A public benefit for the facility and considers neighborhood concerns with respect to the factors set forth in C.G.S. §16-50p(a)(3), including public safety.
The Siting Council may not grant a CECPN if the proposed facility is:
- Substantially underground or underwater except where such facility interconnects with existing overhead facilities, either as proposed or as modified by the council, unless it finds and determines a public benefit for a facility substantially underground or a public need for a facility substantially underwater. C.G.S. §16-50p(c)(2).
A public benefit exists when a facility is necessary for the reliability of the electric power supply of the state or for the development of a competitive market for electricity and a public need exists when a facility is necessary for the reliability of the electric power supply of the state. C.G.S. §16-50p(c)(3). A public need also exists for an energy facility if such facility is necessary for the reliability of the electric power supply of the state. C.G.S. §16-50p(h).
Any Application for an electric transmission line with a capacity of 355 kilovolts or more that is filed on or after May 1, 2003, and proposes the underground burial of such line in all residential areas and overhead installation of such line in industrial and open space areas must have a rebuttable presumption of meeting a public benefit for such facility if the facility is substantially underground and meeting a public need for such facility if the facility is substantially above ground. Such presumption may be overcome by evidence submitted by a party or intervenor to the satisfaction of the council. C.G.S. §16-50p(c)(4).
8-CT-a.18 – Provide Notice of Decision
The Siting Council must serve a copy of the order and opinion issued upon each party and publish a notice of the issuance of the order and opinion in such newspapers as will serve substantially to inform the public of the issuance of such order and opinion. The name and address of each party shall be set forth in the order. C.G.S. §16-50p(f).
8-CT-a.19 – Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need
The developer must comply with all conditions and modifications to the CECPN that the Siting Council imposes. C.G.S. §16-50p.
8-CT-a.20 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)
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