For immediate release: November 15, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989
A 'Fast Track' Approach Designed for
Environmentally-Advanced Power Projects
Energy Commission Adopts Six-Month Licensing Regulations
For California Power Plant Proposals
Sacramento -- By a 4 to 0 vote, California Energy Commission today adopted emergency regulations to implement California's new six-month power plant licensing process. These new regulations establish an expedited review process to enable certain types of power plants to be licensed and come on-line more quickly in California.
Assembly Bill 970, the California Energy Security and Reliability Act signed by Governor Gray Davis on September 6, 2000, directs the Commission to design a new six-month process to review and approve applications for thermal power plants and related facilities that meet specific criteria. It also gives the Energy Commission authority to adopt emergency regulations to implement that process.
The new regulations specify what information needs to be contained in a power plant application and describes the procedural details of the new six-month process. The rules provide the details of a "fast track" process that encourages power projects that will cause no unmitigated, significant environmental impacts, that will comply with all applicable regulations, and are compatible with the State's electricity system.
Robert A. Laurie, Energy Commissioner and Presiding Member of the Energy Facility Siting and Environmental Committee, says, "The new regulations were developed with the benefit of extensive participation from industry professionals including power project developers, municipal utility associations, consultants, and members of the public.
"I am pleased that the six-month power plant licensing regulations offer a very balanced solution to the California's commitment to an environmentally-sound, economically-workable energy future," said Laurie.
Electrical generation projects that will qualify for this process are typically those that:
- Meet all local, state and federal air quality rules including best available control technology (BACT) requirements and have contracts for required air emission offsets.
- Do not cause adverse water impacts or does not require new appropriations of water. Superior projects may be those that use dry cooling technologies.
- Are in full compliance with all land use requirements, including General Plans and zoning requirements.
- Avoid significant natural resource impacts including rare, threatened and endangered species.
- Achieve efficient use of fuels.
The "fast track" power plant siting process will:
- Result in a decision in 6 months or less.
- Encourage project developers to work with the Commission and local jurisdictions in early stages of the project's design and development, even before a license application is filed with the Commission.
- Have an "Initial Study" type document prepared early in the process to identify issues or "fatal flaws".
- Limit "discovery" by setting certain time frames for research and evaluation of the project.
- Require all agencies to submit relevant comments, recommendations, or "determinations of compliance" within 100 days of when the Commission accepts the application as complete.
- Hold three public hearings. Two of these meetings would be in the vicinity of the project.
- Allow the project to move to the standard 12-month review process Ð without having to prepare a new licensing application Ð if there are problems encountered in the "fast track" process.
The new power plant licensing regulations are on the Energy Commission's Web Site at:
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