The Energy Commission's permitting process is a certified regulatory program under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It covers all state, local, and regional agencies’ requirements necessary for a plant to be constructed. The Energy Commission also coordinates its review with federal agencies that will be issuing permits.
The AFC is the standard licensing process used for most proposed power plant projects that would fall under Energy Commission jurisdiction.
The SPPE is available for proposed projects between 50 MW and 100 MW. During a review, the Energy Commission completes an initial study of the project as the lead agency under CEQA. If the Energy Commission determines the project will not have a significant effect on the environment or energy resources, it may exempt the project from its certification program.
If approved, the project developer is responsible for securing local, state, and federal permits to construct and operate the plant. Local and state agencies will consider the environmental document prepared by the Energy Commission for any discretionary decisions subject to CEQA.
The AFC filing fee must be made when the project is submitted. There is also an annual compliance fee for projects granted a license.
The fee for filing an SPPE is the cost for the Energy Commission to prepare the CEQA environmental document. A deposit is required at the filing. If the deposit exceeds the review cost, the remainder will be refunded. If the costs exceed the deposit, the applicant will be billed for the difference.