Bill Text: VA HB587 | 2012 | Regular Session | Prefiled
Bill Title: Electric transmission lines; approval process. [Track Bill]
Status: 2012-03-01 - Governor: Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0054) [HB587 Detail]
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That §§56-46.1 and 56-265.2 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:
§56-46.1. Commission to consider environmental, economic and improvements in service reliability factors in approving construction of electrical utility facilities; approval required for construction of certain electrical transmission lines; notice and hearings.
A. Whenever the Commission is required to approve the
construction of any electrical utility facility, it shall give consideration to
the effect of that facility on the environment and establish such conditions as
may be desirable or necessary to minimize adverse environmental impact. In
order to avoid duplication of governmental activities, any valid permit or
approval required for an electric generating plant and associated facilities
issued or granted by a federal, state or local governmental entity charged by
law with responsibility for issuing permits or approvals regulating
environmental impact and mitigation of adverse environmental impact or for
other specific public interest issues such as building codes, transportation
plans, and public safety, whether such permit or approval is granted prior to
or after the Commission's decision, shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements
of this section with respect to all matters that (i) are governed by the permit
or approval or (ii) are within the authority of, and were considered by, the
governmental entity in issuing such permit or approval, and the Commission
shall impose no additional conditions with respect to such matters. Nothing in
this section shall affect the ability of the Commission to keep the record of a
case open. Nothing in this section shall affect any right to appeal such
permits or approvals in accordance with applicable law. In the case of a
proposed facility located in a region that was designated as of July 1, 2001,
as serious nonattainment for the one-hour ozone standard as set forth in the
federal Clean Air Act, the Commission shall not issue a decision approving such
proposed facility that is conditioned upon issuance of any environmental permit
or approval. In every proceeding under this subsection, the Commission shall
receive and give consideration to all reports that relate to the proposed
facility by state agencies concerned with environmental protection; and if
requested by any county or municipality in which the facility is proposed to be
built, to local comprehensive plans that have been adopted pursuant to Article
3 (§15.2-2223 et seq.) of Chapter 22 of Title 15.2. Additionally, the
C. If, prior to such approval, any interested party shall request a public hearing, the Commission shall, as soon as reasonably practicable after such request, hold such hearing or hearings at such place as may be designated by the Commission. In any hearing the public service company shall provide adequate evidence that existing rights-of-way cannot adequately serve the needs of the company.
If, prior to such approval, written requests therefor are
"Environment" or "environmental" shall be deemed to include in meaning "historic," as well as a consideration of the probable effects of the line on the health and safety of the persons in the area concerned.
parties" shall include the governing bodies of any counties or
municipalities through which the line is proposed to be built, and persons
residing or owning property in each such county or municipality
"Public utility" means a public utility as defined in §56-265.1.
facilities" means a cogeneration or small power production facility which
meets the criteria of 18 C.F.R. Part 292
"Reasonably accommodate requests to wheel or transmit power" means:
1. That the applicant will make available to new electric generation
facilities constructed after January 9, 1991, qualifying facilities and other
nonutilities, a minimum of one-fourth of the total megawatts of the additional
transmission capacity created by the proposed line, for the purpose of wheeling
to public utility purchasers the power generated by such qualifying facilities
and other nonutility facilities which are awarded a power purchase contract by
a public utility purchaser in compliance with applicable state law or
regulations governing bidding or capacity acquisition programs for the purchase
of electric capacity from nonutility sources, provided that the obligation of
the applicant will extend only to those requests for wheeling service made
2. That the wheeling service offered by the applicant,
pursuant to subdivision D 1
E. In the event that, at any time after the giving of the
notice required in subsection B
F. Approval of a transmission line pursuant to this section shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of §15.2-2232 and local zoning ordinances with respect to such transmission line.
G. The Commission shall enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environmental Quality regarding the coordination of their reviews of the environmental impact of electric generating plants and associated facilities.
H. An applicant that is required to obtain (i) a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Commission for any electric generating facility, electric transmission line, natural or manufactured gas transmission line as defined in 49 Code of Federal Regulations §192.3, or natural or manufactured gas storage facility (hereafter, an energy facility) and (ii) an environmental permit for the energy facility that is subject to issuance by any agency or board within the Secretariat of Natural Resources, may request a pre-application planning and review process. In any such request to the Commission or the Secretariat of Natural Resources, the applicant shall identify the proposed energy facility for which it requests the pre-application planning and review process. The Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Marine Resources Commission, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Department of Historic Resources, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and other appropriate agencies of the Commonwealth shall participate in the pre-application planning and review process. Participation in such process shall not limit the authority otherwise provided by law to the Commission or other agencies or boards of the Commonwealth. The Commission and other participating agencies of the Commonwealth may invite federal and local governmental entities charged by law with responsibility for issuing permits or approvals to participate in the pre-application planning and review process. Through the pre-application planning and review process, the applicant, the Commission, and other agencies and boards shall identify the potential impacts and approvals that may be required and shall develop a plan that will provide for an efficient and coordinated review of the proposed energy facility. The plan shall include (a) a list of the permits or other approvals likely to be required based on the information available, (b) a specific plan and preliminary schedule for the different reviews, (c) a plan for coordinating those reviews and the related public comment process, and (d) designation of points of contact, either within each agency or for the Commonwealth as a whole, to facilitate this coordination. The plan shall be made readily available to the public and shall be maintained on a dedicated website to provide current information on the status of each component of the plan and each approval process including opportunities for public comment.
I. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the construction and operation of a small renewable energy project, as defined in § 10.1-1197.5, by a utility regulated pursuant to this title for which the Department of Environmental Quality has issued a permit by rule pursuant to Article 5 (§10.1-1197.5 et seq.) of Chapter 11.1 of Title 10.1.
J. Approval under this section shall not be required for any transmission line for which a certificate of public convenience and necessity is not required pursuant to subdivision A of §56-265.2.
§56-265.2. Certificate of convenience and necessity required for acquisition, etc., of new facilities.
2. For construction of any transmission line of 138 kilovolts, a public utility shall either (i) obtain a certificate pursuant to subdivision 1 or (ii) obtain approval pursuant to the requirements of (a) § 15.2-2232 and (b) any applicable local zoning ordinances by the locality or localities in which the transmission line will be located.
B. In exercising its authority under this section, the
Commission, notwithstanding the provisions of §56-265.4, may permit the
construction and operation of electrical generating facilities, which shall not
be included in the rate base of any regulated utility whose rates are
established pursuant to Chapter 10 (§56-232 et seq.)
C. A map showing the location of any proposed ordinary
extension or improvement outside of the territory in which the public utility
is lawfully authorized to operate shall be filed with the Commission, and prior
notice of such ordinary extension shall be given to the public utility or other
entity authorized to provide the same utility service within said territory.
Ordinary extensions outside the service territory of a public utility shall be
undertaken only for use in providing its public utility service and shall be
constructed and operated so as not to interfere with the service or facilities
of any public utility or other entity authorized to provide utility service
within any other territory. If, upon objection of the affected utility or
entity filed within
D. Whenever a certificate is required under this section for a pipeline for the transmission or distribution of natural or manufactured gas, the Commission may issue such a certificate only after compliance with the provisions of §56-265.2:1. As used in this section and §56-265.2:1, "pipeline for the transmission or distribution of manufactured or natural gas" shall include the pipeline and any related facilities incidental or necessary to the operation of the pipeline.
E. This section shall be subject to the requirements of § 56-265.3, if any, and nothing herein shall be construed to supersede § 56-265.3.