This page documents the rulemaking process through which the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is undertaking to add a categorical exclusion for certain energy storage systems, revise categorical exclusions for upgrading and rebuilding transmission lines and for solar photovoltaic systems, and make conforming changes to related sections of DOE’s regulations regarding implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Request for Information and Associated Comments

  • Request for Information (87 FR 68385; November 15, 2022) to help inform potential updates to categorical exclusions in DOE’s regulations implementing NEPA. DOE explained that it “is considering revisions to ensure that its NEPA reviews are aligned with the latest DOE programs and initiatives for clean energy and electricity transmission projects, fully consider potential environmental impacts and community concerns, and are efficient and effective at informing DOE decisions.” (NOTE: Relevant to this proposed rulemaking, commenters asked DOE to add energy storage systems to its categorical exclusions, to expand the scope of its categorical exclusion for upgrading and rebuilding powerlines, and to expand its categorical exclusion for solar photovoltaic systems to at least 200 acres within previously disturbed or developed areas. DOE addresses these and related comments in its discussion of proposed changes in section II.B of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.) 
  • Re-opening of Public Comment Period for Request for Information Regarding Categorical Exclusions (88 FR 2029; January 11, 2023). DOE re-opened the comment period for 30 days to allow interested parties additional time to provide input.
  • Regulations.gov Docket for Comments Received on DOE’s Request for Information. Thirty-three individuals or entities responded to the Request for Information.