Maryland PSC seeks comments on revisions that would eliminate CPCN applications for overhead lines

Maryland state regulators are seeking comments on proposed revisions to certain regulations involving overhead transmission lines and wind-powered generating stations.

According to an Aug. 21 state Public Service Commission (PSC) notice of initiating rulemaking and rulemaking session, under “Chapter 644 of Laws of Maryland 2012,” the Maryland General Assembly, under certain circumstances, will allow the modification of overhead transmission lines without the need for first obtaining a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN), and directed the PSC, in coordination with the Patuxent Naval Air Station (NAS), to adopt regulations regarding wind-powered generating stations.

The PSC’s technical staff filed the proposed revised regulations on Aug. 13. Comments are due by Dec. 2.

The changes involving wind-generating facilities will prohibit construction within 20 miles of the NAS and, for proposed facilities within 46 miles of the NAS, require an evaluation by the NAS to determine whether the erection of a proposed wind turbine would adversely affect the NAS’ Doppler radar or missions.

Chapter 644 made the following changes:

  • The PSC may waive the requirement to obtain a CPCN before construction of an overhead transmission line with a capacity greater than 69-kV.
  • The PSC is required to waive the requirement to obtain a CPCN before construction of an overhead transmission line with a capacity greater than 69-kV if the construction does not require the electric company to obtain real property by eminent domain, or does not require larger structures to accommodate increased voltage or larger conductors.
  • For an existing overhead transmission line, an electric company may perform construction, including repairs, that is needed to avoid an imminent safety hazard or reliability risk without first obtaining a CPCN.

Staff also noted that the definition of “generating station” is being changed to eliminate wind-powered generating facilities with a rating under 1,500 kW. The 1,500 kW exemption allows a person to install small generators without filing an application, staff said, adding that this change, which was requested by the Navy, is intended to eliminate the possibility that a wind turbine with a rating of less than 1,500 kW could be built near the NAS.

A new section of the regulation provides for requests by electric companies to waive the requirement for a CPCN to build transmission lines and describes the minimum contents of the request, which would include an explanation for why a CPCN is not required. This would be used, staff added, for requests for minor additions to transmission lines, such as adding poles for interconnecting substations.

The regulation requires the electric company to file a report within 30 days after the completion of any emergency construction or repairs describing the work completed, its cost and any future work needed on that line, staff added.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3113 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.