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Inventory of the California Energy Commission: Siting and Environmental Division Records
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Arrangement and Description


1. Power Plant Siting Case Files. 1971-1982. F3912:279-480.

Physical Description: 10 cubic feet.

Scope and Content Note


Arranged alphabetically by project and topically thereunder.
Power plant siting case project files of five geothermal facilities and one oil-fired, combined-cycle facility. The projects included are: Department of Water Resources' Bottle Rock Power Plant (on-line in 1984); Department of Water Resources' South Geysers Power Plant; Northern California Power Agency's Geothermal Project 1; Pacific Gas and Electric's Geysers Unit 16 (on-line in 1985); Pacific Gas and Electric's Geysers Unit 18 (on-line in 1983); and Pacific Gas and Electric's Pittsburg Units 8 & 9. The case project files cover a wide range of subjects, including environmental concerns, questions of possible public health impacts, land use issues, and disputes regarding the extent of the Commission's certification jurisdiction. The topics include, but are not exclusive of, project and agency correspondence, technical subject staff assessments, position statements, written testimony, environmental impact reports, hearing transcripts, briefs, and exhibits and references. The Geysers Unit 16 files in particular contain a sizable amount of transcripts.
Two significant issues covered in the files are the questions of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emmissions in the Geysers Known Geothermal Resource Area and, particularly with regard to P.G.&E.'s Geysers Unit 16 plant, intense local opposition to the construction of an associated transmission line through several sensitive areas.
For the most part, the records reflect the agency's consolidated power plant siting process, which is divided into two phases. The Notice of Intention identifies several potential sites before the specific proposal is approved. Within the NOI process, the Commission evaluates potential alternative sites, considers the suitability and acceptability of the proposed sites, and determines the probable need for the project. The review time for the NOI is nine months for geothermal projects and twelve months for non-geothermal and transmission line projects. The second phase, the Application for Certification, evaluates the applicant's actual need for the facility with regard to its conformance with the projected electricity demand. The AFC will determine the facility's compliance with applicable laws and standards for its design, construction, and operation. It also examines the environmental, health and safety, and legal impacts of the project. The review time for the AFC can be from twelve to eighteen months.