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Temporary Energy Facility Exemption
 
Qualifying for the Exemption
 
In  2001, the Oregon Legislature passed two bills – SB 843 and HB 3788 – that exempt a temporary energy generating facility from the state’s energy facility siting process. To qualify, a facility must:
  • Be an electric power generating facility other than a hydropower plant
  • Have a nominal electric generating capacity of no more than 100 megawatts
  • Operate for no more than 24 months from the date of initial commercial operation
  • Comply with Oregon’s carbon dioxide emissions standard
  • Obtain local land use approval and comply with statewide planning goals and Land Conservation and Development Commission rules
 
Complying with Oregon’s
Carbon Dioxide Emissions Standard
 
In Oregon, a facility that emits more carbon dioxide than the standard allows must mitigate for its excess emissions. Mitigation for a temporary facility must take the form of an "offset" payment to a qualified organization that invests in projects that offset carbon dioxide. The Oregon Department of Energy has spreadsheets available for calculating carbon dioxide emissions and offset funds. The facility owner must pay the offset payment prior to construction, and a true-up payment for excess emissions may be necessary at the end of the exemption period.
 
 
A temporary facility with an exemption from the siting process may operate beyond the exemption’s two-year limit if the facility owner submits an application for a site certificate. The application must be submitted before the last day of the facility’s exemption period or by January 1, 2005, whichever is earlier. 
 
If the application as submitted is not complete, the Department of Energy will request supplemental information from the applicant. If the applicant provides all necessary information in a timely manner, the applicant may continue to operate the temporary facility under an extension until the Council completes the application review.
 
Important Note on Air Quality: If facility owners anticipate operating beyond the Council’s exemption period, they must apply for and receive a permanent air emissions permit from the Department of Environmental Quality at the start. An exempted facility permitted as temporary by DEQ may not operate beyond 24 months. To avoid delays, the Environmental Protection Agency has authorized DEQ, in certain circumstances, to allow construction and operation of an exempted facility before a permanent permit is issued. This process is called an "enforcement bridge." A facility owner whose project qualifies for the bridge must follow certain compliance standards. For example, the enforcement bridge requires facility owners to complete a supplemental environmental project that mitigates for any pre-permit emissions.
 
Submitting a Request for Exemption
 
A request for exemption must contain the following information:
  • A general description of project, including site and equipment description
  • The nominal electric generating capacity and net electric power output of the facility as specified by contract
  • The heat rate (in higher heating value) as specified by contract
  • The type of fuel the facility will use
There is no application form. The applicant must pay a $1,000 fee at the time of submitting the exemption request to the Department of Energy and must pay any additional costs incurred by the Council or the Department. The applicant must also pay an $8,000 fee collected by the Council for DEQ air quality technical assistance. Any unused portion of these fees will be refunded. 
 
If the request for exemption as submitted is not complete, the Department of Energy will request supplemental information from the applicant. The Council will approve or deny a request within 30 days after receiving complete information necessary for a decision. The council shall not grant any exemptions after July 1, 2003.
 
 
If you have questions about the exemption process, contact David Stewart-Smith or Sam Sadler, Oregon Department of Energy, 625 Marion Street, NE, Salem, Oregon, 97301-3737, telephone: 503-378-4040 or (800) 221-8035 (toll-free in Oregon).
For questions about air quality permits contact Pat Vernon and the Department of Environmental Quality, (503) 229-6480.