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Power plant project still in early stages

A lot of the procedures involved with the power generation plant proposed for a site near the Jefferson/Crook County line has yet to be discussed: the following is an overview of the approval process
A lot of questions have been asked about the proposed 998 megawatt electric generating power plant to be sited in Jefferson County, near the Crook County line. Not everyone is in favor of the proposed project. Many of the concerns center around possible degradation of water sources, air and noise pollution.
   Recently a lot of information has been discussed in the press and at the few public hearings held on the topic. Those hearings have been held in Madras where the project is finding favor with city and county officials. One of the positive aspects, as seen by those officials, is the employment opportunities. Another, in this age of energy shortages and the promise of rolling blackouts, is the fact that when completed the plant would produce nearly 1,000 megawatts of power. The company interested in building the plant, Cogentrix, believes there is a demand for power in this area that the plant will supply.
   However, while promising that the lengthy permitting process will insure protection for all concerned, few people really understand that process.
   It all begins with the filing of a Notice of Intent with the Oregon Office of Energy. The timeline for gaining approvals takes up to two and a half years.
   Large energy facilities are complex businesses that take years to design, locate and build. These facilities may have a great impact on the public and on the environment during construction and operation. In Oregon, most large, proposed energy facilities undergo a thorough review process to make sure they have as little local impact as possible. State-level oversight of energy facilities helps ensure that Oregon has an adequate energy supply while protecting Oregon's environment and public safety.
   In 1975, the Oregon Legislature established the Energy Facility Siting Council. The Council has the responsibility to make sure that large energy facilities are located, built and operated in ways that protect the environment and public health and safety. In addition to regulating large energy facilities, the Council regulates the transportation of radioactive materials through Oregon and the disposal of radioactive materials within the state's borders. The Council has responsibility for overseeing the decommissioning of the Trojan Nuclear Plant.
   No one may build a large energy facility in the state until the Council has issued a site certificate for the facility. The facility must meet the state's siting standards to get a site certificate from the Council. The site certificate binds state and local jurisdictions to the Council's action and requires them to issue permits, licenses and certificates for construction and operation of the facility. The Council monitors the construction of the facility. After the facility is built, the Council monitors its operation.
   In Oregon, the Energy Facility Siting Council decides whether large energy facilities may be built. An energy facility developer must apply to the Council for a site certificate and must supply information about the proposed facility and the proposed site. Energy facility siting provisions statutes include:
   A "one-stop" process in which the Council determines compliance with not only its own standards but those of most other state and local permitting agencies as well
   Public comment periods at the front end of the process, followed by a more formal contested case proceeding
   The use of specific standards makes the siting decision a "yes or no" process. If the facility meets the standards, the Council must issue the site certificate. If the facility does not meet one or more of the standards, the Council cannot issue the site certificate. Although the Council may waive a standard under certain conditions, the Council has not used this authority.
   The normal siting process has two major phases: In the first phase, the applicant submits a notice of intent to the Office of Energy. The notice of intent describes the proposed facility in general terms, allows the Office to gather public comment and enables state and local agencies to identify laws, regulations and ordinances that apply to the proposed facility. The second phase begins when the applicant submits an application to the Office and ends when the Council decides whether or not to issue a site certificate.
   During its review, the Office of Energy will consult with other state and local agencies to ensure that the Council considers all governmental concerns. Applicants need not wait until they submit an application to begin working with state or local authorities.
   As a part of the application, the applicant must choose whether to seek land use approval from the local jurisdiction or to have the Council make the land use determination. Either way, the participation of the local city or county land use planning body is essential. If the applicant chooses to seek land use approval at the local level, then the applicant must follow the local procedures and comply with all local land use ordinances. The Council will issue a site certificate for the project only if the local jurisdiction has approved the proposed land use. Participation of the local land use planning body is necessary, as the local officials will identify the "substantive criteria" from the local land use ordinances and comprehensive plan that the Council should apply to the proposed facility.
   Electric Generating Plants in Oregon either in operation or under construction are:
   Boardman Coal Plant
   Facility:
   550 MW coal-fired power plant
   Location: Morrow County
   Coyote Springs Cogeneration Project
   Facility:
   Unit 1: 250 MW natural gas combined-cycle combustion turbine (cogeneration)
   Unit 2: 260 MW (plus 20 MW peaking capacity) natural gas combined-cycle combustion turbine (no cogeneration)
   CO2 Offset:
   (Unit 2) 4.5 million short tons (estimated)
   Location: Morrow County
   Unit 1: operating since November 27, 1995
   Unit 2: planned
   Hermiston Generating Project
   Facility:
   468 MW natural gas combined-cycle combustion turbine (cogeneration)
   Location: Umatilla County
   Status: Operating since July 2, 1996
   Hermiston Power Project
   (Calpine Hermiston, Inc.; CPN Hermiston, Inc.)
   Hermiston Power Project
   Facility:
   546 MW natural gas combined-cycle combustion turbine (cogeneration)
   CO2 Offset:
   6.7 million short tons
   Location: Umatilla County
   Status: Under construction (planned completion: January 1, 2003)
   Klamath Cogeneration Project
   City of Klamath Falls, Oregon
   Operator:
   Pacific Klamath Energy, Inc.
   Facility:
   484 MW natural gas combined-cycle combustion turbine (cogeneration)
   CO2 Offset:
   11.5 million short tons
   Location: Klamath County
   Status: Under construction (planned completion: July 1, 2001)
   Springfield Utility-Industrial Energy Center
   Operator:
   Weyerhaeuser
   Facility:
   51.2 MW steam turbine generator (fueled by biomass, #2 oil or natural gas)
   Location: Lane County
   Status: Operating
   Trojan Nuclear Plant
   Operator:
   Portland General Electric
   Status: Shut down - decommissioning in progress
   Proposed Facilities Under Review
   Grizzly Power Generation Project
   Facility:
   980 MW natural gas combined-cycle combustion turbine system (4 gas turbines)
   Location: Jefferson County
   Status: Office of Energy is reviewing the notice of intent
   History:
   January 16, 2001: Notice of intent submitted
   Phase IV-V South Mist Feeder Pipeline
   Facility:
   50 mile, 24-inch natural gas pipeline
   Location: Washington, Clackamas and Marion Counties
   Status: pending submission of an application for a site certificate
   History:
   September 30, 1999: Notice of intent submitted
   Port Westward Generating Plant
   Facility:
   650 MW natural gas combined-cycle combustion turbine system
   Location: Columbia County
   Status: Office of Energy is reviewing the notice of intent
   History:
   February 27, 2001: Notice of intent submitted
   Stateline Wind Project
   Facility:
   99 MW wind generating facility
   Location: Umatilla County
   Status: Site certificate application under review
   History:
   April 27, 2000: Request for Expedited Review submitted
   Summit/Westward Energy Project
   Facility:
   520 MW natural gas combined-cycle combustion turbine system
   Location: Columbia County
   Status: Office of Energy is reviewing the notice of intent
   History:
   February 27, 2001: Notice of intent submitted
   Umatilla Generating Project
   Location: Umatilla County
   Status: Office of Energy is reviewing the revised application for a site certificate
   History:
   June 20, 1995: Notice of intent submitted