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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a permit and a certification?

Permits are typically authorizations to construct or operate a facility. State, regional and local permits may be required for any given facility.

Certifications for energy facilities cover almost every aspect of the facility as an all-in-one license for construction and operation of energy facilities. As such, the state pre-empts the issuance of any other type of permit for the facility, except for local zoning and building. Certification is granted for the life of the facility.


Is a certification issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)?

DEP coordinates the certification process. The Siting Board (i.e., the Governor and Cabinet) issues certifications.


Does DEP work with other agencies in developing proposed Conditions of Certification?

Yes. DEP works with local, state and federal agencies, community and environmental organizations, and the general public to develop Conditions of Certification.


Can the public participate in the certification process?

Yes. Upon demonstrating that he or she, or his or her property, is substantially affected by the proposed certification, a person may request to become a party to certification proceeding. The public may present information at a public hearing if the presiding judge allows such testimony. The public may also submit written comments to DEP’s Siting Coordination Office at 2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 48, Tallahassee, Florida 32399.


Does DEP have compliance and enforcement authority regarding certifications?

Yes. If a facility violates a Conditions of Certification, DEP (or a DEP designated state agency) can take enforcement action.


After having been granted, can a certification be altered?

Yes. Certification can be altered in three ways:

1. Amendment, which is a material change to the application for site certification that does not require a change in the final order or Conditions of Certification. Amendments can be authorized by the Siting Coordination Office.

2. Modification, which is a substantive change in the certification order including any substantive change in the Conditions of Certification. Proposed modifications are reviewed by all affected agencies and are issued by DEP or the Siting Board after public notice.

3. The Siting Board may issue a revised order and Conditions of Certification, or revoke a certification. However, the board typically delegates much of this authority to DEP.


Who determines that a power plant is necessary?

The utility typically decides when a new facility is needed. For projects subject to the Power Plant Siting Act, the need for a new facility is determined by the Florida Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities.


Which power plants are subject to the Power Plant Siting Act?

All power plants built after October 1, 1973, by regulated electric utilities in Florida, using solar energy or steam turbines to generate 75 MW or more of electric power are subject to the Power Plant Siting Act.


Which transmission lines are subject to the Transmission Line Siting Act?

Most transmission lines conducting 230 kV or more are subject to the Transmission Line Act.

Exceptions: Transmission lines with construction limited to established rights-of-way, are less than 15 miles long, or that do not cross a county line are exempt from the Transmission Line Siting Act. Transmission lines certified under the Power Plant Siting Act are also exempt from the Transmission Line Siting Act.


What is the difference between a transmission line and a distribution line?

Transmission lines conduct 69 or more kV and deliver electric power over long distances from power plants to sub-stations.

Distribution lines conduct less than 69 kV and deliver electric power from substations to residential and commercial users.


Who determines that a transmission line is necessary?

The utility typically determines when a new transmission line is necessary to transmit bulk power from one location to another. For projects subject to the Transmission Line Siting Act, the utility justifies the need for a new transmission line to the Florida Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities.


Who regulates the location of transmission lines not subject to a Siting Act?

The locations of transmission lines not subject to the Transmission Line Siting Act and Power Plant Siting Act are subject to any applicable local permitting requirements. Utilities also will need to file for an Environmental Resource Permit with DEP.

Additionally, all transmission lines must meet electric and magnetic field requirements, regulated by DEP. Companies (primarily utilities) that construct or operate transmission lines are responsible for demonstrating compliance with the regulations.


Can alternate corridor routes be proposed under either the Power Plant or Transmission Line Siting Act?

Yes. alternate corridor routes can be filed under the Transmission Line Siting Act, but only if allowed by the applicant under the Power Plant Siting Act. The following are statutory requirements that a proponent must follow if filing an alternate corridor;

1. File notice of intent to be a party or motion to intervene, as appropriate - See Section 403.508(3), F.S., (Power Plant Siting Act) or Section 403.527(2), F.S., (Transmission Line Siting Act).

2. File notice of proposed alternate corridor, including map, description, and statement of reasons the proposed alternate corridor should be certified - See Section 403.5271(1)(a), F.S.

3. If the proposed alternate corridor is accepted for consideration by DEP and the applicant, proponent of alternate corridor must file a complete application with data supporting proposed alternate corridor and, under the Power Plant Siting Act, application fee ($750 per mile within existing linear right-of-way; $1,000 per mile outside existing linear right-of-way) - See Section 403.5271(1)(d) and Section 403.518(6), F.S.

4. Public notices:

a. In newspaper - See Section 403.5363(2)(a-d), F.S.

b. Delivered to landowners and residences - See Section 403.5115(7)(a-b), F.S., (Power Plant Siting Act) or Section 403.5363(6)(a-b), F.S., (Transmission Line Siting Act)

5. Proponent of alternate corridor has burden to prove that the alternate corridor can be certified at certification hearing before Administrative Law Judge - See Section 403.5271(3)(b), F.S.


What are electric and magnetic fields?

Electric and magnetic fields are force fields created when electricity moves through a conductor such as wire. Electric and magnetic fields are associated with high-voltage transmission lines, secondary power lines, and home wiring and lighting. Electric and magnetic fields also arise from motors and heating coils in electronic equipment and appliances.


What are the health risks from electric and magnetic fields?

The body of research that has been compiled over 20 years leads to the conclusion that there is no statistically significant correlation between electromagnetic fields generated by transmission lines and health effects. For more information, visit the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.


How are electric and magnetic fields regulated?

DEP regulates electric and magnetic fields for electrical transmission lines. State standards establish a maximum magnitude for both electric and magnetic fields allowed at the edge of a transmission line right-of-way. These standards apply to all new transmission lines constructed in Florida. Utilities are responsible for submitting compliance reports to the Siting Coordination Office.

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Last Modified:
October 9, 2017 - 10:06am

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