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Certificates of Need

Any large energy facility (e.g., electric generation plant, pipeline, transmission line) proposed to be built in Minnesota must obtain a Certificate of Need from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission before construction begins. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Regulation and Planning (ERP) unit analyzes whether certificate-of-need proposals show a need for the facility, show that the proposal is least-cost and meet other criteria for need set out in statutes and rules. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Facility Permitting (EFP) unit conducts the environmental review required for proposed energy facilities in Minnesota. This unit serves as technical staff to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in its permitting of energy facilities. These facilities include power plants, transmission lines, wind farms, and pipelines. 

The PUC determines the basic types of facility (if any) to be constructed, the size of the facility, and the time of the facility (e.g. when projected to be in service).

All large energy facilities must obtain a Certificate of Need from the PUC before construction. A large electric facility is classified as:

  • Any electric power generating plant or combination of plants at a single site with a combined capacity of 50,000 kilowatts or more and transmission lines directly associated with the plant that are necessary to interconnect the plant to the transmission system; and
  • Any high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 200 kilovolts or more and greater than 1,500 feet in length; (Minn. Stat. § 216B.2421, subd. 2

In the eDocket system: under “Docket Type” select “Certificate of Need” for all documents filed in all Certificate of Need proceedings. For tips on how to find these documents in the system, view the help files.

More information is available in the PUC's Certificate of Need fact sheet.