Maryland's Power Plant Research Program
Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) functions to ensure that Maryland meets its
electricity demands at reasonable costs while protecting the State's valuable natural
resources. It provides a continuing program for evaluating electric generation issues and
recommending responsible, long-term solutions.
PPRP was established under the Power Plant Siting and Research Act of 1971. This
enlightened legislation provided a model for addressing power plant licensing issues which
several other states have adopted.
The enabling legislation established an Environmental Trust Fund to support the Power
Plant Research Program. Funding is provided through an environmental surcharge that is
assessed on all electricity used in the State. The surcharge adds between 10¢ and 20¢
per month to the average residential customer's electric bill.
Specific Program Mandates
PPRP is responsible for managing a Consolidated Review of all
issues related to power generation in Maryland. This role - unique in State government -
provides a framework for the comprehensive review of all electric power issues with the
goal of balancing need, cost, and impacts.
- New Facilities - Review applications, evaluate impacts, and
recommend conditions for proposed power plants, transmission lines, and modifications.
- Existing Facilities - Assess the impacts of electric power
production on the State's environmental resources.
- Future Planning - Evaluate long-range plans to meet
Electric power generators must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
(CPCN) from the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to build or modify power plants
and transmission lines in the State. As part of the review, PPRP:
- Analyzes the need for new generating or transmission capacity, taking into account the
cost issues and the conservation alternatives available to reduce electricity demand.
- Consolidates issue analysis involving the Departments of Natural Resources, Environment,
Agriculture, Business and Employment Development, and Transportation, the Office of
Planning, and the Energy Administration. PPRP usually represents those agencies in the PSC
- Evaluates potential impacts of the proposed facility on environmental resources,
including air, surface and ground water, terrestrial resources, and cultural and historic
resources, while assessing overall site suitability.
- Manages the development of a consolidated set of recommendations to be included as
conditions within the CPCN.
PPRP evaluates issues related to operation of the State's power plants and transmission
lines greater than 69 kilovolts (kV). Because there are several different types of plants
operating in and around Maryland, PPRP must address a broad range of impacts or
Some of these include:
|Fossil-Fueled Plants (coal, oil, or
- Technical feasibility and cost effectiveness of various pollution control alternatives
- Air emissions of acid rain precursors and particulate matter, including heavy metals
- Aquatic impacts of cooling water withdrawals and discharges
- Beneficial use of combustion by-products
- Unique approaches to minimize resource consumption
- Environmental assessment of radioactivity released
- Operations, licensing, and relicensing issues
- Radioactive waste disposal
- Emergency response
- Effects of stream flow modification
- Fish passage
- Operational approaches
- Health and safety
- Right-of-way maintenance practices
- Socioeconomic impacts
- Grid access and deregulation issues
Review of long-range plans for power supply is essential to providing adequate
electricity to Maryland customers at reasonable cost and schedules. PPRP's involvement in
this area includes the following activities:
- Development of independent projections of the State's power needs.
- Assessment of alternative power supply options.
- Evaluation of Integrated Resource Plans.
- Assessment of issues related to deregulation in the electric power industry.
PPRP's ongoing assessments involve both plant-specific studies and more general
monitoring, research and modeling projects. These projects cover a spectrum of issues,
such as environmental impact assessments, technology evaluations and demonstrations, and
economic studies. Some representative topics include:
- Acid mine drainage - evaluating the use of combustion by-products as
backfill to prevent formation of acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines.
- Atmospheric deposition - analyzing sources, fate, and effects of acid
rain precursors, toxic metals, and nitrates, including their impacts on the Chesapeake
- Aquatic impacts - studying fate and transport of power plant related
toxic substances in the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland tributaries.
- Industry deregulation - following the national trends in industry
restructuring, and evaluating the potential impacts of deregulation and open access on
- Radioactivity - monitoring transport and potential impacts of
radioactive discharges by Peach Bottom and Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plants.
- Ozone attainment - participating in regional efforts to reduce ambient
ozone levels and to understand the role of power plant emissions in ozone formation.
- Electromagnetic fields (EMF) - tracking advances in human health
effects research, and assessing EMF levels near Maryland trans-mission lines.
||For further information....
publishes a Bibliography listing more than 700 general and site-specific
power plant related reports that PPRP has prepared since 1971.
PPRP also publishes biennially the Power Plant Cumulative Environmental Impact
Report (CEIR). This document serves as a comprehensive review of environmental,
socioeconomic, and policy issues related to power plants in Maryland.
The Bibliography, CEIR and other reports produced by PPRP may be obtained from:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Power Plant Research Program
Tawes State Office Building
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
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