California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
Environmental reviews are conducted pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), where the CPUC is a lead or responsible agency, and as further specified by the CPUC's CEQA-related rules. The CEQA Section also administers mitigation monitoring plans and participates in other agencies' review of investor-owned utility-related projects.
The Infrastructure Permitting and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Section of the Energy Division conducts and manages environmental reviews of infrastructure projects that are required to file for permits at the CPUC.
The project websites for permit applications that come before the CPUC include electric, gas, water and telecommunications projects. The CPUC maintains websites for both current projects and past projects:
- Current Projects (Under Environmental Review or In Construction)
- Past Projects (Constructed, Denied, Withdrawn)
Rules and Regulations
Investor-owned utilities are required to obtain a permit from the CPUC for construction of certain specified infrastructure listed under Public Utilities Code sections 1001. The CPUC reviews permit applications under two concurrent processes: (1) an environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and (2) the review of project need and costs pursuant to Public Utilities Code (PU Code) sections 1001 et seq. and General Order (G.O.) 131-D (Certification of Public Necessity and Convenience (CPCN) or Permit to Construct (PTC)). Below are resources for permit applicants and public parties interested in participating in CPUC's environmental review and/or the CPUC's economic and need assessment for a particular project.
- CPUC General Order (G.O) 131-D
- CPUC Decision and Review Process
- CPUC Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rule 2.4 CEQA Compliance)
- Public Utilities Code Section 1001 et seq. (Basis for granting CPCN)
- CEQA Statute and Guidelines (California Natural Resources Agency website)
CPUC Guidance on the Permitting Process
- General Order 131-D Advice Letter Submission Guidance
- Guidelines for Energy Project Applications Requiring CEQA Compliance: Pre-filing and Proponent's Environmental Assessments (contains 2019 PEA Checklist) Word | PDF
- General Guidance for Filing a CPCN/PTC application with the CPUC Docket Office
- Presentation on "General Information on Permitting Electric Transmission Projects"
- Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) Process Step-by-Step Guide
- Overview of Electric Transmission Siting at the California Public Utilities Commission
- Additional Federal, State, and Local Permits Likely to be Required (In addition to the CPCN or PTC)
- Transmission Planning and Permitting Process Schematic Flowchart