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Idaho State NIETC Route Approval (8-ID-e)

Information current as of 2020
In Idaho, a transmitting utility (developer) may need a Route Certificate from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to site a transmission facility in excess of 115kV capacity in a designated National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor (NIETC). A “transmitting utility” is defined as “…an entity that owns, operates or controls facilities for the transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce.” Idaho Code § 61-1702(7). An NIETC is defined as “any geographic area designated by the Secretary of Energy as experiencing electric energy transmission capacity constraints or congestion…” Idaho Code § 61-1702(5). Although the authority of the PUC is normally limited to public utilities, PUC authority is expanded by statute to apply to any construction or modification of transmission facilities in NIETC’s, whether or not the construction or modification is by a public utility. Idaho Code § 61-17. The PUC may also preempt local government land use decisions regarding the construction of transmission facilities. Idaho Code § 61-1703(3).

The PUC regulates transmission facility siting in NIETCs pursuant to Idaho Code §§ 61-1701–61-1709.

State NIETC Route Approval Process

8-ID-e.1 – Notice of Intent to File Application for Route Certificate

There are a number of pre-application steps the developer must take prior to submitting an Application for Route Certificate to the PUC. The developer must first file a Notice of Intent to File Application for Route Certificate (Notice of Intent). The developer must file the Notice of Intent at least 120 days before the developer intends to file the application. Idaho Code § 61-1704(1). The Notice of Intent must include, but is not limited to:

  • The name and address of the transmitting utility, including a contact name, address and telephone number of the contact person for the Notice of Intent. If the developer is a corporation, copies of its articles of incorporation and proof of its authorization and/or registration to conduct business in Idaho;
  • A detailed description of the proposed transmission route, including location maps and plot plans to scale showing all major components including a description of zoning and site availability for any permanent transmission facility;
  • A description of the proposed right-of-way width for the transmission line, including to what extent a new right-of-way will be required or an existing right-of-way will be widened;
  • A description of the proposed transmission line structures and their dimensions;
  • A description of the schedule desired for the project including the expected application filing date, the desired date for commission approval, the beginning date for construction, and the proposed project operation date;
  • A list of the federal, state, tribal and local government permitting entities including mailing address, contact names, telephone numbers and email addresses. The Notice of Intent must disclose how the developer intends to account for each of the permitting entities and when it proposes to file with them.
  • A statement that the developer has, or will provide a copy of the Notice of Intent to affected landowners, local governments, and tribal, federal and state permitting entities within three days of filing the Notice of Intent;
  • A list and description of the website and physical locations where copies of the Notice of Intent are located in each county traversed by the proposed transmission route; and
  • An explanation of what rights the affected landowner has at the commission and in proceedings under Idaho eminent domain laws.

Idaho Code § 61-1704(2).

8-ID-e.2 - Publish Notice of the Filing

Within three days of filing the Notice of Intent, the developer must publish notice of the filing in the following manner:

  • Make copies of the Notice of Intent in publicly accessible locations in each county or city throughout the project area;
  • Create a project website devoted solely to dispense information about the proposed project;
  • Designate a single point of contact and explain how the developer will respond to requests for information from the public and government permitting agencies;
  • Publish in a newspaper of general circulation, at least once a week for two weeks, in each county where the proposed transmission route will be located, that a Notice of Intent has been filed with the PUC. Idaho Code § 61-1704(2)(a)-(i) and Idaho Code § 61-1704(3)(a)-(d).

8-ID-e.3 to 8-ID-e.4 – Provide Notice of Public Workshops

After the developer files its Notice of Intent and before it files its Application, the developer must conduct a series of informal workshops at locations along the route of the proposed transmission line to provide information about the project. The developer must issue notice for the workshops must be at least 14 days before the workshop to newspapers, and radio and television stations in the affected area. Idaho Code § 61-1707(1).

8-ID-e.5 – Hold Pre-Application Conference

Within 21 days of the filing of the Notice of Intent by the developer, the PUC will hold a pre-application conference. The developer and all relevant government permitting entities will participate in the conference for the purpose of reviewing the developer’s Notice of Intent. Idaho Code § 61-1704(4).

8-ID-e.6 – Application for Route Certificate with Exhibits and Testimony

Within 180 days of filing the Notice of Intent, the developer must file the Application for Route Certificate. If the developer does not file the application within the 180-day time period, it will be considered withdrawn unless the developer submits a written statement that it still intends to file the application. Idaho Code § 61-1704(1). The developer must comply with the application requirements enumerated in Idaho Code § 61-1705.

8-ID-e.7 to 8-ID-e.9 – Does the PUC Order the Developer to Conduct Post-Application Workshops?

After the developer files its application, the PUC will determine whether the developer should conduct “informational public workshops” at locations along the proposed transmission route. The purpose of these workshops is to dispense information about the developer’s application and to advise interested persons on how to participate in the PUC’s review proceedings. Idaho Code § 61-1707(2). The developer must issue notice of the public workshops at least 14 days before a workshop through newspapers of general circulation, and radio and television stations in the affected area. Idaho Code § 61-1707(3).

8-ID-e.10 to 8-ID-e.14 – Provide Notice of Hearing

After notice and an opportunity for hearing, the PUC will review the developer’s application. After review, the PUC will either approve or deny the application, or approve with the application with conditions. If the PUC approves the application, the PUC will grant the Route Certificate. Idaho Code § 61-1703(1).

8-ID-e.15 to 8-ID-e.20 – Does the Developer Seek Reconsideration?

If the PUC denies the application, the developer will have the right to seek reconsideration, from the PUC, of the order denying the application. The developer must submit a Petition for Reconsideration within 21 days of the issuance of the order of denial. Idaho Code § 61-626(1). Within 28 days after the filing of the Petition for Reconsideration, the PUC must determine whether it will grant the reconsideration. The matter must be reheard within 13 weeks after the deadline for the filing of the Petition for Reconsideration. Idaho Code § 61-626(2).

8-ID-e.21 to 8-ID-e.25 – Notice of Appeal

A final order denying reconsideration or denying an application after reconsideration is appealable to the Idaho Supreme Court. The developer must file a Notice of Appeal. The Notice of Appeal must be served by the developer on all parties to the action and all persons who appeared in the prior proceedings, whether or not they were parties to the action. Idaho App. R. 20. The required contents of the Notice of Appeal are enumerated in Idaho App. R. 17. If, upon review by the Idaho Supreme Court, the PUC order denying the application is overturned, the PUC must grant the application. If the Idaho Supreme Court upholds the PUC order denying the application, the project cannot continue.

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