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State Power Plant Siting: a Sketch of the Main Features of a Possible Approach

California Institute of Technology
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Work on various phases of power plant technology and siting has been underway within the Environmental Quality Laboratory (EQL) at the California Institute of Technology for some time. Of particular relevance to this memorandum, a good deal of effort has been devoted to institutional aspects of the siting process. Our purpose in what follows is to draw from our past work -- and from the discussions and work of others -- a sketch of the major outlines of one possible approach to power plant siting for the state. We hope in doing so to give our present views about the issues and how they might rationally be resolved, not so much to convince as to inform, stimulate fruitful ideas, and help provide the basis for constructive debate. We ourselves are not necessarily wedded to any of the discussion that follows; we find our own minds changing from time to time as we study the problem further or confront sound suggestions from others. Part I of this memorandum briefly outlines the major features of what we see as a fruitful approach to the siting problem. Sections A through E of Part I describe some elements of the approach; Section F sketches the actual siting decision process we suggest, and in doing so shows how the elements play into the process. Section G comments briefly on a suggested role for judicial review. In Part II we attempt to reduce our ideas to a fairly precise outline for a state siting statute, and to deal with certain matters of detail not covered in Part I. Section A of Part II introduces the statutory outline by summarizing each of its provisions; Section B sets forth the outline itself. The Appendix to this memorandum depicts our suggested approach in time-line fashion; it should be helpful in reading and understanding the proposal.

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