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State-Specific Guide Can Streamline Plant Siting

Issue 4 and Volume 106.

By Steve Blankinship,
Associate Editor

Although the physical laws governing the operation of power plants are the same in California and Texas, regulations related to siting and building them are vastly different. In fact, every state has its own siting requirements and procedures, almost demanding state specific experts to help navigate the process. The Edison Electric Institute’s Alliance of Energy Suppliers can now provide that state-specific guidance in the form of a highly user-friendly CD-Rom, replete with hot links to needed agency web sites.

“The initial idea came from interaction with our members who said there was a need for it,” says Alliance executive director Richard McMahon. “Many of them have their own processes, but most of them felt that if there was a tool they could use as a benchmark, then they wouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel as they moved into new states. Some had a footprint in California but were completely unfamiliar with the process in Georgia or Texas. So the more we heard that story, the more we realized there was a need for it.” EEI formed the Alliance of Energy Suppliers business unit more than two years ago to work with generators and power marketers.

“This siting guide is a very comprehensive walk-through in individual states, so informationally, in one spot, the guide will give you everything you need to navigate your way through the siting process – all phases of it, the commercial, environmental and so on,” he says. “Not only is the guide a good stand-alone tool for siting,” says McMahon, “it is an excellent way to do due diligence on the work already done.”

The comprehensive compilation of information includes:

  • Detailed instructions to the permitting process
  • All permits and application forms
  • Listings for federal, state, and local regulatory agencies
  • Contact information
  • Links to information sources and regulatory sites
  • Methods for coordinating public involvement and community relations
  • Precedents, strategies, and recommendations
  • Critical path management charts, logic diagrams
  • Worksheets for cost estimation, a regulatory checklist, and fatal flaw analysis

The alliance surveyed its membership of generation developers in both regulated utility and non-regulated merchant sectors to determine states where the interest in siting information was most intense. Information for those states has been developed first. They are Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Illinois. Kansas and North Carolina will soon be available.

The EEI program is designed to help prevent delays and dramatically cut the expense of researching requirements for each proposed site. In addition to managing the siting process, the program can be used to bring new staff up-to-speed, avoid expensive regulatory comparison studies, make strategic decisions and eliminate days of costly research.

The guide does not include renewables, although many siting requirements would be applicable. List price for the complete set of 13 state guides for non-EEI/Alliance members is $30,000, with an introductory price of $22,500; list price for EEI/Alliance members is $24,000, with an introductory price of $18,000. Prices are also available on an individual state basis.