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Siting Decisions Involving Renewable Energy Sources May 16, 2013 Paul Roberti, Commissioner Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.

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Presentation on theme: "Siting Decisions Involving Renewable Energy Sources May 16, 2013 Paul Roberti, Commissioner Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission."— Presentation transcript:

1 Siting Decisions Involving Renewable Energy Sources May 16, 2013 Paul Roberti, Commissioner Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

2 Overview of Presentation State Siting Procedures –Jurisdictional thresholds –Criteria for review –Process for review Local Jurisdiction Interconnection Into Regional Grid 2

3 Jurisdiction – it depends State level – most facilities are reviewed at state or local level –State-wide body (siting council or public utility commission) –Local jurisdictions (county or municipal) All facilities or only facilities under a certain capacity Federal level –Most hydroelectric facilities – exclusive jurisdiction –Facilities on federally owned land (concurrent with state process) 3

4 Criteria for Review Varies by jurisdiction General requirements: –No adverse impact on stability and reliability of the grid –No undue adverse impact on environmental resources –Socio-economic impacts – Demonstration of the need for the facility For conventional generation – a regional perspective For renewables, focus is primarily on environmental impacts and consistency with state public policy (i.e., renewable energy mandates and carbon reduction technologies) 4

5 Process for Review Applicant submits sufficient evidence to demonstrate compliance with criteria Ratepayer advocate and environmental agencies typically automatic parties to any case Intervention by individuals or groups Public Hearings Evidentiary hearing Process may vary depending on size/type of facility 5

6 Rhode Island’s Energy Facility Siting Process The Energy Facility Siting Board (“EFSB”) has jurisdiction over alterations to “major energy facilit(ies)” that “will result in a significant impact on the environment, or the public health, safety, and welfare.” Serves as “the licensing and permitting authority for all licenses, permits, assents, or variances which, under any statute of the state or ordinance of any political subdivision of the state, would be required for siting, construction or alteration of a major energy facility in the state.” 6

7 Statutory Framework for Siting of Generation Facilities “Major energy facility(ies)” are defined as: –facilities for the extraction, production, conversion, and processing of coal; –facilities for the generation of electricity designed or capable of operating at a gross capacity of forty (40) megawatts or more; –transmission lines of sixty-nine (69) Kv or over; –facilities for the conversion, gasification, treatment, transfer, or storage of liquefied natural and liquefied petroleum gases; 7

8 “Major energy facility(ies)” –facilities for the processing, enrichment, storage, or disposal of nuclear fuels or nuclear byproducts; –facilities for the refining of oil, gas, or other petroleum products; –facilities of ten (10) megawatts or greater capacity for the generation of electricity by water power; –facilities associated with the transfer of oil, gas, and coal via pipeline; and –any energy facility project of the Rhode Island economic development corporation. Statutory Framework for Siting of Generation Facilities continued... 8

9 EFSB Members and Staffing Rhode Island’s Siting Act creates a three-member Board Chair of the Public Utilities Commission (EFSB Chair) Director of Dept. of Environmental Management Associate Director of Statewide Planning Quorum consists of a majority, however, one Board member may conduct any authorized hearings Board members and staff are not paid separately for their work 9

10 Application Guidelines Project Applicants must address: Site Plans Project Cost Number of facility employees Financing Required support facilities Research on EMF impacts (transmission) Life-cycle management A study of alternatives, including estimated costs 10

11 Process and Deadlines Coordinator has 30 days to accept/reject filing and assign it a docket numbers Board convenes a Preliminary Hearing within 60 days to designate agencies that must file an advisory opinion Advisory agencies generally have 6 months to submit findings Board required to schedule at least one public hearing in every community impacted by proposal 11

12 Designated Agencies Includes political subdivisions which, absent the Act, would have the statutory authority to grant permits, licenses, variances, etc. Town Councils, Building Inspectors, Planning Boards Public Utilities Commission Holds its own separate proceedings to render an advisory opinion on the need for the proposed facility 12

13 Designated Agencies Statewide Planning Addresses socio-economic impact and consistency with state guide plans Other designated agencies often include: State Historical Preservation Dept. of Environmental Management Dept. of Health Dept. of Transportation 13

14 Process and Deadlines Final hearings commence within 45 days after advisory deadline Final Decision and Order due within 120 days Final decisions may be appealed to the State Supreme Court within 10 days of ratification 14

15 Public Participation All hearings – Preliminary and Final – are open to the public. Board Rules specify notice requirements One Public Hearing must be held in every community impacted by the proposal (i.e. transmission line through 3 towns) Board generally gives the public an opportunity to comment before or after all hearings, which are transcribed All filings and application materials are posted on the EFSB website, 15

16 Post Licensure Proceedings Board may issue license conditionally upon applicant’s receipt of federal licenses Although the Board retains final permitting authority, applicant still has burden to apply for, receive, and maintain all applicable permits Board can hire consultants (up to $20k; paid by applicant) to visit plant during construction May hold suspension hearings and issue “Show Cause” and “Cease and Desist” orders 16

17 Licensing Procedures for Facilities Not Subject to State Energy Facility Siting Board Jurisdiction Facilities Fall Under Local Jurisdiction –County or Municipal Zoning Procedures –Local Planning Commission Review –Consistency with Comprehensive Plan –Noise, height, aesthetics, construction impacts, etc. Potential Residual State Jurisdiction –Highway Crossings –Coastal and wetlands Impacts Federal Jurisdiction May Still Be Tiggered –Aviation and structure heights –Endangered Species –Interconnection with regional electric grid 17

18 Interconnecting Generation Sources to the Grid 18

19 Interconnection of Generation Facilities Into Regional Electric Grid Governed By Rules and Procedures of Independent System Operator of New England (ISO-NE) ISO New England responsible for: –Ensuring regional reliability –Administering wholesale electricity markets Regulated by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Pursuant to Federal Power Act 19

20 Interconnection Queue All significant generation projects must complete necessary studies –ISO-NE establishes guidelines for studies –Studies conducted by independent contractors Entrance into the queue is first-come, first served ISO-NE d etermines who pays for necessary system upgrades 20

21 Interconnection Studies New Generation Proponents are responsible for conducting – Feasibility Study –S ystem Impact Study –Facilities Study 21

22 Feasibility Study High level review of: –Existing Peak load and generation sources, including those with higher position in the queue –Steady state analysis (voltage and thermal issues) –Short circuit analysis –Performance under normal operating conditions and contingencies –Expected protective equipment and system upgrades required –Approximate cost to interconnect 22

23 System Impact Study More in-depth study than feasibility study Examines conditions under a range of loads If appropriate, may include additional contingencies May include transient stability analysis in addition to steady state analysis Wind facilities must conduct one additional study (low voltage ride through capability) Provides further detail regarding protective equipment and costs 23

24 Facilities Study Provides the final determination of the protective equipment needed Provides a refined cost estimate of upgrades Sets forth any operating protocols that may be necessary 24

25 THANK YOU Paul Roberti, Commissioner Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission 89 Jefferson Blvd. Warwick, Rhode Island 02888 Tel: (401) 780-2101 Email: 25

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