Oregon's energy facility siting law originated with formation of the Nuclear and Thermal Energy Council in 1971. The role of NTEC was to regulate the siting of nuclear and coal-fired generating plants that had an electric generating capacity of at least 200 megawatts.
In 1975, Oregon revised its energy facility siting laws. The revisions included the creation of the Energy Facility Siting Council to replace NTEC. The council has regulatory and siting responsibility for large electric generating facilities, high voltage transmission lines, gas pipelines and radioactive waste disposal sites. State-level oversight of energy facilities helps ensure that Oregon has an adequate energy supply while protecting Oregon´s environment and public safety.
The 1975 legislation also created the Oregon Department of Energy. The department was formed to promote energy conservation and development of renewable energy sources, and to provide staff support for the council.
The council is responsible for overseeing the development of large energy facilities
. A proposed facility must undergo a thorough review process
and must meet the council's siting standards
to receive a site certificate. The site certificate authorizes the developer to construct and operate the facility. The siting standards ensure that the construction, operation and retirement of the facility are done in a way that protects the public interest and conserves the natural resources of the state. After issuing a site certificate, the council has ongoing regulatory authority over the construction and operation of the facility.
In addition, the council regulates the transportation of radioactive materials through Oregon and the disposal of radioactive materials within the state's borders. Further, the council has responsibility for overseeing the decommissioning of the Trojan Nuclear Plant
Who serves on the Council?
The Energy Facility Siting Council has seven members
. They are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. Its members may not be employed by a company that has a facility or proposed facility under the council's jurisdiction; nor can they have ever worked for a company that owned a large energy facility.
All council members are volunteers. They receive only reimbursements for travel and meal expenses when they are performing council business.
Oregon Department of Energy employees serve as staff members for the council, handling the ongoing work required in the regulation of energy facilities. Staff members are energy experts who research the issues involved with locating, building and operating large energy facilities. They make recommendations to the council based on their research and analysis.