Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 15. ENERGY CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT [25000 - 25990]

  ( Division 15 added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276. )

CHAPTER 6. Power Facility and Site Certification [25500 - 25543]
  ( Chapter 6 added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276. )

25500.
  

In accordance with the provisions of this division, the commission shall have the exclusive power to certify all sites and related facilities in the state, whether a new site and related facility or a change or addition to an existing facility. The issuance of a certificate by the commission shall be in lieu of any permit, certificate, or similar document required by any state, local or regional agency, or federal agency to the extent permitted by federal law, for such use of the site and related facilities, and shall supersede any applicable statute, ordinance, or regulation of any state, local, or regional agency, or federal agency to the extent permitted by federal law.

After the effective date of this division, no construction of any facility or modification of any existing facility shall be commenced without first obtaining certification for any such site and related facility by the commission, as prescribed in this division.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330.)

25500.1.
  

(a) The owner of a proposed solar thermal powerplant, for which an application for certification was filed with the commission after August 15, 2007, and certified by the commission and, of a project on federal land, for which a record of decision was issued by the Department of the Interior or the Bureau of Land Management before September 1, 2011, may petition the commission not later than June 30, 2012, to review an amendment to the facility’s certificate to convert the facility, in whole or in part, from solar thermal technology to photovoltaic technology, without the need to file an entirely new application for certification or notice of intent pursuant to Section 25502, provided that the commission prepares supplemental environmental review documentation, provides for public notice and comment on the supplemental environmental review, and holds at least one public hearing on the proposal.

(b) The Department of Fish and Game and the State Water Resources Board shall provide comments to the commission on the water resource and water quality effects of the proposed powerplants. The commission shall incorporate all feasible mitigation measures identified by the department and the board.

(c) For a facility specified in subdivision (a), this chapter shall continue to apply, notwithstanding that the facility or part of the facility would otherwise be excluded pursuant to Section 25120.

(d) The commission shall process a petition submitted under this section pursuant to Section 1769 of Title 20 of the California Code of Regulations.

(e) This section shall not apply to any project if the project’s certificate was timely challenged pursuant to Section 25531, unless the challenge was subsequently dismissed by the California Supreme Court.

(f) This section does not abrogate a party’s right to challenge a project’s certification pursuant to Section 25531 or any other provision of law.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 14, Sec. 1. (AB 1073) Effective May 23, 2012.)

25500.5.
  

The commission shall certify sufficient sites and related facilities which are required to provide a supply of electric power sufficient to accomodate the demand projected in the most recent forecast of statewide and service area electric power demands adopted pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 25309.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25501.
  

This chapter does not apply to any site or related facility for which the Public Utilities Commission has issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity or which any municipal utility has approved before January 7, 1975.

(Amended by Stats. 1995, Ch. 91, Sec. 143. Effective January 1, 1996.)

25501.7.
  

Any person proposing to construct a facility or a site to which Section 25501 applies may waive the exclusion of such site and related facility from the provisions of this chapter by submitting to the commission a notice to that effect on or after July 1, 1976, and any and all of the provisions of this chapter shall apply to the construction of such facility.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25502.
  

Each person proposing to construct a thermal powerplant or electric transmission line on a site shall submit to the commission a notice of intention to file an application for the certification of the site and related facility or facilities. The notice shall be an attempt primarily to determine the suitability of the proposed sites to accommodate the facilities and to determine the general conformity of the proposed sites and related facilities with standards of the commission and assessments of need adopted pursuant to Sections 25305 to 25308, inclusive. The notice shall be in the form prescribed by the commission and shall be supported by such information as the commission may require.

Any site and related facility once found to be acceptable pursuant to Section 25516 is, and shall continue to be, eligible for consideration in an application for certification without further proceedings required for a notice under this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1184, Sec. 8.)

25502.3.
  

Except as provided in Section 25501.7, any person proposing to construct a facility excluded from the provisions of this chapter may waive such exclusion by submitting to the commission a notice of intention to file an application for certification, and any and all of the provisions of this chapter shall apply to the construction of such facility.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25503.
  

Each notice of intention to file an application shall contain at least three alternative sites and related facilities, at least one of which shall not be located in whole or in part in the coastal zone. In addition, the alternative sites and related electrical facilities may be proposed from an inventory of sites which have previously been approved by the commission in a notice of intent or may be proposed from sites previously examined.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1010.)

25504.
  

The notice of intention shall include a statement by the applicant describing the location of the proposed sites by section or sections, range and township, and county; a summary of the proposed design criteria of the facilities; the type or types of fuels to be used; the methods of construction and operation; the proposed location of facilities and structures on each site; a preliminary statement of the relative economic, technological, and environmental advantages and disadvantages of the alternative site and related facility proposals; a statement of need for the facility and information showing the compatibility of the proposals with the most recent electricity report issued pursuant to Section 25308; and any other information that an electric utility deems desirable to submit to the commission.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1184, Sec. 8.5.)

25504.5.
  

An applicant may, in the notice, propose a site to be approved which will accomodate a potential maximum electric generating capacity in excess of the capacity being proposed for the initial approval of the commission. If such a proposal is made, the notice shall include, but not be limited to, in addition to the information specified in Section 25504, all of the following:

(a) The number, type, and energy source of electric generating units which the site is proposed ultimately to accomodate and the maximum generating capacity for each unit.

(b) The projected installation schedule for each unit.

(c) The impact at the site when fully developed, on the environment and public health and safety.

(d) The amount and sources of cooling water needed at the fully developed site.

(e) The location and specifications of auxiliary facilities planned for each state of development including, but not limited to, pipelines, waste storage facilities, fuel storage facilities, switchyards, coolant lines, coolant outfalls, and cooling ponds, lakes, or towers.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25505.
  

Upon receipt of a notice, the commission shall cause a summary of the notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the sites and related facilities, or any part thereof, designated in the notice are proposed to be located. The commission shall also transmit a copy of the notice to the Public Utilities Commission, for sites and related facilities requiring a certificate of public convenience and necessity, and to other federal, state, regional, and local agencies having an interest in matters pertinent to the proposed facilities at any of the alternative sites. A copy of the notice shall also be transmitted to the Attorney General.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25506.
  

The commission shall request the appropriate local, regional, state, and federal agencies to make comments and recommendations regarding the design, operation, and location of the facilities designated in the notice, in relation to environmental quality, public health and safety, and other factors on which they may have expertise.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25506.5.
  

The commission shall request the Public Utilities Commission, for sites and related facilities requiring a certificate of public convenience and necessity, to make comments and recommendations regarding the design, operation, and location of the facilities designated in the notice in relation to the economic, financial, rate, system reliability, and service implications of the proposed facilities.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25507.
  

(a) If any alternative site and related facility proposed in the notice is proposed to be located, in whole or in part, within the coastal zone, the commission shall transmit a copy of the notice to the California Coastal Commission. The California Coastal Commission shall analyze the notice and prepare the report and findings prescribed by subdivision (d) of Section 30413 prior to commencement of hearings pursuant to Section 25513.

(b) If any alternative site and related facility proposed in the notice is proposed to be located, in whole or in part, within the Suisun Marsh, or within the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the commission shall transmit a copy of the notice to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission shall analyze the notice and prepare the report and findings prescribed by subdivision (d) of Section 66645 of the Government Code prior to commencement of hearings pursuant to Section 25513.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25508.
  

The commission shall cooperate with, and render advice to, the California Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission in studying applications for any site and related facility proposed to be located, in whole or in part, within the coastal zone, the Suisun Marsh, or the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission if requested by the California Coastal Commission or the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, as the case may be. The California Coastal Commission or the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, as the case may be, may participate in public hearings on the notice and on the application for site and related facility certification as an interested party in such proceedings.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1155.)

25509.
  

Within 45 days of the filing of the notice, the commission shall conduct public informational presentations in the county or counties in which the proposed sites and related facilities are located. The place of such public informational presentations shall be as close as practicable to the proposed sites. Such presentations shall be for the purpose of setting forth the electrical demand basis for the proposed site and related facility and providing knowledge and understanding of the proposed facilities and sites.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25509.5.
  

No sooner than 15 days after the conclusion of the presentations pursuant to Section 25509, the commission shall commence nonadjudicatory hearings. Such hearings shall identify issues for adjudication in hearings pursuant to Section 25513, issues which may be eliminated from further consideration in the notice proceedings, and issues which should be deferred to the certification proceeding. Any person may participate to the extent deemed reasonable and relevant by the presiding member of the commission in any such hearing. In scheduling such hearings the presiding member shall confer with the public adviser to provide that the hearing dates and locations are as convenient as possible for interested parties and the public. Such hearings shall be conducted in order to accomplish all of the following purposes:

(a) To set forth the electrical demand basis for the proposed site and related facility.

(b) To provide knowledge and understanding of proposed facilities and sites.

(c) To obtain the views and comments of the public, parties, and concerned governmental agencies on the environmental, public health and safety, economic, social, and land use impacts of the facility at the proposed sites.

(d) To solicit information regarding reasonable alternative sources of the electric generating capacity or energy to be provided by alternative sites and related facilities, or combinations thereof, which will better carry out the policies and objectives of this division.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25510.
  

After the conclusion of such hearings, and no later than 150 days after filing of the notice, the commission shall prepare and make public a summary and hearing order on the notice of intention to file an application. The commission may include within the summary and hearing order any other alternatives proposed by the commission or presented to the commission at a public hearing prior to preparation of the summary and hearing order. The summary and hearing order shall be published and made available to the public and to interested local, regional, state, and federal agencies.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25511.
  

The commission shall review the factors related to safety and reliability of the facilities at each of the alternative sites designated in the notice. In addition to other information requested of the applicant, the commission shall, in determining the appropriateness of sites and related facilities, require detailed information on proposed emergency systems and safety precautions, plans for transport, handling and storage of wastes and fuels, proposed methods to prevent illegal diversion of nuclear fuels, special design features to account for seismic and other potential hazards, proposed methods to control density of population in areas surrounding nuclear powerplants, and such other information as the commission may determine to be relevant to the reliability and safety of the facility at the proposed sites. The commission shall analyze the information provided by the applicant, supplementing it, where necessary, by onsite investigations and other studies. The commission shall determine the adequacy of measures proposed by the applicant to protect public health and safety, and shall include its findings in the final report required by Section 25514.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25512.
  

The summary and hearing order shall be based upon the record of the proceeding including statements or documents presented during any hearing or informational presentation on the notice, the comments transmitted by the Public Utilities Commission and local, regional, state, and federal agencies and the public to the commission, and independent studies conducted by the commission’s staff.

The summary and hearing order shall:

(a) Identify those issues for consideration in hearings pursuant to Section 25513.

(b) Identify those issues which may be eliminated from further consideration in the notice of intention proceedings.

(c) Identify those issues which should be deferred to the certification proceeding.

(d) Contain proposed findings on matters relevant to the provisions of Section 25514.

(e) Specify dates for the adjudicatory hearings.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25512.5.
  

Within 15 days of the publication of the summary and hearing order, a copy will be distributed to any person who requests such copy.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25513.
  

No earlier than 30 days after distribution of the summary and hearing order, the commission shall commence adjudicatory hearings pursuant to the hearing order.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25513.3.
  

Notwithstanding Sections 11425.30 and 11430.10 of the Government Code, unless a party demonstrates other statutory grounds for disqualification, a person who has served as investigator or advocate in an adjudicative proceeding of the commission under this code may serve as a supervisor of the presiding officer or assist or advise the presiding officer in the same proceeding if the service, assistance, or advice occurs more than one year after the time the person served as investigator or advocate, provided the content of any advice is disclosed on the record and all parties have an opportunity to comment on the advice.

(Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 938, Sec. 82.5. Effective January 1, 1996. Operative July 1, 1997, by Sec. 98 of Ch. 938.)

25514.
  

After conclusion of the hearings held pursuant to Section 25513 and no later than 300 days after the filing of the notice, a final report shall be prepared and distributed. The final report shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(a) The findings and conclusions of the commission regarding the conformity of alternative sites and related facilities designated in the notice or considered in the notice of intention proceeding with both of the following:

(1) The 12-year forecast of statewide and service area electric power demands adopted pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 25305, except as provided in Section 25514.5.

(2) Applicable local, regional, state, and federal standards, ordinances, and laws, including any long-range land use plans or guidelines adopted by the state or by any local or regional planning agency, which would be applicable but for the exclusive authority of the commission to certify sites and related facilities; and the standards adopted by the commission pursuant to Section 25216.3.

(b) Any findings and comments submitted by the California Coastal Commission pursuant to Section 25507 and subdivision (d) of Section 30413.

(c) Any findings and comments submitted by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission pursuant to Section 25507 of this code and subdivision (d) of Section 66645 of the Government Code.

(d) The commission’s findings on the acceptability and relative merit of each alternative siting proposal designated in the notice or presented at the hearings and reviewed by the commission. The specific findings of relative merit shall be made pursuant to Sections 25502 to 25516, inclusive. In its findings on any alternative siting proposal, the commission may specify modification in the design, construction, location, or other conditions which will meet the standards, policies, and guidelines established by the commission.

(e) Findings and conclusions with respect to the safety and reliability of the facility or facilities at each of the sites designated in the notice, as determined by the commission pursuant to Section 25511, and any conditions, modifications, or criteria proposed for any site and related facility proposal resulting from the findings and conclusions.

(f) Findings and conclusions as to whether increased property taxes due to the construction of the project are sufficient to support needed local improvements and public services required to serve the project.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 12, Sec. 4. Effective May 22, 2001.)

25514.3.
  

In specifying any modifications, conditions, or criteria pursuant to Section 25514, for sites and related facilities requiring a certificate of public convenience and necessity, the commission shall request the comments and recommendations of the Public Utilities Commission on the economic, financial, rate, system reliability, and service implications of such modifications, conditions, or criteria.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25514.5.
  

In considering the acceptability of a site proposed to accommodate ultimately additional power-generating capacity, the commission, in determining, pursuant to Sections 25514 and 25512, the conformity of the facilities proposed in the notice with the 12-year forecast of statewide and service area electric power demands adopted pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 25305, shall base its determination only on such initial facilities as are proposed for operation within the forthcoming 12-year period. Additional facilities projected to be operating at the site at a time beyond the forthcoming 12-year period shall not be considered in the determination of conformity with the electric power demand forecast.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1184, Sec. 10.)

25515.
  

No later than 30 days after the final report is distributed, a hearing or hearings on the final report shall be commenced. Such hearings shall be concluded within 15 days of their commencement.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25516.
  

The approval of the notice by the commission shall be based upon findings pursuant to Section 25514. The notice shall not be approved unless the commission finds at least two alternative site and related facility proposals considered in the commission’s final report as acceptable. If the commission does not find at least two sites and related facilities acceptable, additional sites and related facilities may be proposed by the applicant which shall be considered in the same manner as those proposed in the original notice.

If the commission finds that a good faith effort has been made by the person submitting the notice to find an acceptable alternative site and related facility and that there is only one acceptable site and related facility among those submitted, the commission may approve the notice based on the one site and related facility. If a notice is approved based on one site and related facility, the commission may require a new notice to be filed to identify acceptable alternative sites and related facilities for the one site and related facility approved unless suitable alternative sites and related facilities have been approved by the commission in previous notice of intention proceedings.

If the commission finds that additional electric generating capacity is needed to accommodate the electric power demand forecast pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 25305 and, after the commission finds that a good faith effort was made by the person submitting the notice to propose an acceptable site and related facility, it fails to find any proposed site and related facility to be acceptable, the commission shall designate, at the request of and at the expense of the person submitting the notice, a feasible site and related facility for providing the needed electric generating capacity.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1184, Sec. 11.)

25516.1.
  

If a site and related facility found to be acceptable by the commission pursuant to Section 25516 is located in the coastal zone, the Suisun Marsh, or the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, no application for certification may be filed pursuant to Section 25519 unless the commission has determined, pursuant to Section 25514, that such site and related facility have greater relative merit than available alternative sites and related facilities for an applicant’s service area which have been determined to be acceptable by the commission pursuant to Section 25516.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1155.)

25516.5.
  

On a notice which proposes an expanded ultimate electric generating capacity for a site, the commission may, based upon findings pursuant to Section 25514, either approve the notice only for the initial facility or facilities proposed for operation within the forthcoming 12-year period or may approve the notice for the initial facility or facilities and find the site acceptable for additional generating capacity of the type tentatively proposed. The maximum allowable amount and type of such additional capacity shall be determined by the commission.

If a notice is approved which includes a finding that a particular site is suitable to accommodate a particular additional generating capacity, the site shall be designated a potential multiple-facility site. The commission may, in determining the acceptability of a potential multiple-facility site, specify conditions or criteria necessary to insure that future additional facilities will not exceed the limitations of the site.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1013.)

25516.6.
  

(a) Except as otherwise expressly provided in this division, the commission shall issue its written decision on the notice not later than 12 months after the notice is filed, or at any later time as is mutually agreed upon by the commission and the applicant.

(b) The commission shall determine, within 45 days after it receives the notice, whether the notice is complete. If the commission determines that the notice is complete, the notice shall be deemed filed for the purpose of this section on the date that this determination is made. If the commission determines that the notice is incomplete, the commission shall specify, in writing, those parts of the notice which are incomplete and shall indicate the manner in which it can be made complete. If the applicant submits additional data to complete the notice, the commission shall determine, within 30 days after receipt of that data, whether the data is sufficient to make the notice complete. The notice shall be deemed filed on the date the commission determines the notice is complete if the commission has adopted regulations specifying the informational requirements for a complete notice, but if the commission has not adopted regulations, the notice shall be deemed filed on the last date the commission receives any additional data that completes the notice.

(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 335, Sec. 1.)

25517.
  

Except as provided in Section 25501, no construction of any thermal powerplant or electric transmission line shall be commenced by any electric utility without first obtaining certification as prescribed in this division. Any onsite improvements not qualifying as construction may be required to be restored as determined by the commission to be necessary to protect the environment, if certification is denied.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1145, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 1995.)

25518.
  

The Public Utilities Commission shall issue no certificate of public convenience and necessity for a site or related electrical facilities unless the utility has obtained a certificate from the commission.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1145, Sec. 15. Effective January 1, 1995.)

25518.5.
  

Nothing in this division shall preclude the concurrent initiation of an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Public Utilities Commission subject to the condition specified in Section 25518.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25519.
  

(a) In order to obtain certification for a site and related facility, an application for certification of the site and related facility shall be filed with the commission. The application shall be in a form prescribed by the commission and shall be for a site and related facility that has been found to be acceptable by the commission pursuant to Section 25516, or for an additional facility at a site that has been designated a potential multiple-facility site pursuant to Section 25514.5 and found to be acceptable pursuant to Sections 25516 and 25516.5. An application for an additional facility at a potential multiple-facility site shall be subject to the conditions and review specified in Section 25520.5. An application may not be filed for a site and related facility, if there is no suitable alternative for the site and related facility that was previously found to be acceptable by the commission, unless the commission has approved the notice based on the one site as specified in Section 25516.

(b) The commission, upon its own motion or in response to the request of any party, may require the applicant to submit any information, document, or data, in addition to the attachments required by subdivision (i), that it determines is reasonably necessary to make any decision on the application.

(c) The commission shall be the lead agency as provided in Section 21165 for all projects that require certification pursuant to this chapter and for projects that are exempted from such certification pursuant to Section 25541. Unless the commission’s regulatory program governing site and facility certification and related proceedings are certified by the Resources Agency pursuant to Section 21080.5, an environmental impact report shall be completed within one year after receipt of the application. If the commission prepares a document or documents in the place of an environmental impact report or negative declaration under a regulatory program certified pursuant to Section 21080.5, any other public agency that must make a decision that is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act, Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000), on a site or related facility, shall use the document or documents prepared by the commission in the same manner as they would use an environmental impact report or negative declaration prepared by a lead agency.

(d) If the site and related facility specified in the application is proposed to be located in the coastal zone, the commission shall transmit a copy of the application to the California Coastal Commission for its review and comments.

(e) If the site and related facility specified in the application is proposed to be located in the Suisun Marsh or the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the commission shall transmit a copy of the application to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission for its review and comments.

(f) Upon receipt of an application, the commission shall forward the application to local governmental agencies having land use and related jurisdiction in the area of the proposed site and related facility. Those local agencies shall review the application and submit comments on, among other things, the design of the facility, architectural and aesthetic features of the facility, access to highways, landscaping and grading, public use of lands in the area of the facility, and other appropriate aspects of the design, construction, or operation of the proposed site and related facility.

(g) Upon receipt of an application, the commission shall cause a summary of the application to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the site and related facilities, or any part thereof, designated in the application, is proposed to be located. The commission shall transmit a copy of the application to each federal and state agency having jurisdiction or special interest in matters pertinent to the proposed site and related facilities and to the Attorney General.

(h) Local and state agencies having jurisdiction or special interest in matters pertinent to the proposed site and related facilities shall provide their comments and recommendations on the project within 180 days of the date of filing of an application.

(i) The adviser shall require that adequate notice is given to the public and that the procedures specified by this division are complied with.

(j) For any proposed site and related facility requiring a certificate of public convenience and necessity, the commission shall transmit a copy of the application to the Public Utilities Commission and request the comments and recommendations of the Public Utilities Commission on the economic, financial, rate, system reliability, and service implications of the proposed site and related facility. If the commission requires modification of the proposed facility, the commission shall consult with the Public Utilities Commission regarding the economic, financial, rate, system reliability, and service implications of those modifications.

(k) The commission shall transmit a copy of the application to any governmental agency not specifically mentioned in this act, but which it finds has any information or interest in the proposed site and related facilities, and shall invite the comments and recommendations of each agency. The commission shall request any relevant laws, ordinances, or regulations that an agency has promulgated or administered.

(l) An application for certification of any site and related facilities shall contain a listing of every federal agency from which any approval or authorization concerning the proposed site is required, specifying the approvals or authorizations obtained at the time of the application and the schedule for obtaining any approvals or authorizations pending.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 1040, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2001.)

25519.5.
  

(a) If the site and related facilities specified in the application are proposed to be located within 1,000 feet of a military installation, or lie within special use airspace or beneath a low-level flight path, as defined in Section 21098, the applicant shall inform the United States Department of Defense of the proposed project and that an application will be filed with the commission.

(b) If provided by the United States Department of Defense, the applicant shall include within the application a description of its consultation with the department, with regard to potential impacts upon national security, including potential impacts on the land, sea, and airspace identified by the United States Department of Defense and its impacted service components, for conducting operations and training, or for the research, development, testing, and evaluation of weapons, sensors, and tactics. If the information is provided after the application is filed, the applicant shall forward the information upon receipt.

(Added by Stats. 2011, 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 1, Sec. 3. (SB 2 1x) Effective December 10, 2011.)

25520.
  

The application shall contain all of the following information and any other information that the commission by regulation may require:

(a) A detailed description of the design, construction, and operation of the proposed facility.

(b) Safety and reliability information, including, in addition to documentation previously provided pursuant to Section 25511, planned provisions for emergency operations and shutdowns.

(c) Available site information, including maps and descriptions of present and proposed development and, as appropriate, geological, aesthetic, ecological, seismic, water supply, population, and load center data, and justification for the particular site proposed.

(d) Any other information relating to the design, operation, and siting of the facility that the commission may specify.

(e) A description of the facility, the cost of the facility, the fuel to be used, the source of fuel, fuel cost, plant service life and capacity factor, and generating cost per kilowatthour.

(f) A description of any electric transmission lines, including the estimated cost of the proposed electric transmission line; a map in suitable scale of the proposed routing showing details of the rights-of-way in the vicinity of settled areas, parks, recreational areas, and scenic areas, and existing transmission lines within one mile of the proposed route; justification for the route, and a preliminary description of the effect of the proposed electric transmission line on the environment, ecology, and scenic, historic, and recreational values.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 581, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2000.)

25520.5.
  

(a) In reviewing an application for an additional facility at a potential multiple-facility site, the commission shall undertake a reconsideration of its prior determinations in the final report on the notice for the site issued pursuant to Section 25514, based on current conditions and other reasonable and feasible alternatives to the proposed facility.

(b) Within 180 days of the filing of the application for an additional facility at a potential multiple-facility site and after adequate public hearings, the commission shall issue its decision on the acceptability of the proposed facility based on the reconsideration specified in subdivision (a) of this section. A negative determination shall be the final decision of the commission on the application and subject to judicial review pursuant to Section 25531. An affirmative determination shall not be a final decision of the commission on the application.

(c) The decision of the commission on an application for an additional facility at a potential multiple-facility site receiving a favorable determination pursuant to subdivision (b) of this section shall be issued within 24 months after the filing of the application or at such later time as is mutually agreed upon by the commission and the applicant.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25521.
  

No earlier than 90 nor later than 240 days after the date of the filing of an application, the commission shall commence a public hearing or hearings on the application in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego, whichever city is nearest the proposed site. Additionally, the commission may hold a hearing or hearings in the county in which the proposed site and related facilities are to be located. The commission hearings shall provide a reasonable opportunity for the public and all parties to the proceeding to comment upon the application and the commission staff assessment and shall provide the equivalent opportunity for comment as required pursuant to Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000). Consistent with the requirements of this section, the commission shall have the discretion to determine whether or not a hearing is to be conducted in a manner that requires formal examination of witnesses or that uses other similar adjudicatory procedures.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 12, Sec. 6. Effective May 22, 2001.)

25522.
  

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c) of Section 25520.5, within 18 months of the filing of an application for certification, or within 12 months if it is filed within one year of the commission’s approval of the notice of intent, or at any later time as is mutually agreed by the commission and the applicant, the commission shall issue a written decision as to the application.

(b) The commission shall determine, within 45 days after it receives the application, whether the application is complete. If the commission determines that the application is complete, the application shall be deemed filed for purposes of this section on the date that this determination is made. If the commission determines that the application is incomplete, the commission shall specify in writing those parts of the application which are incomplete and shall indicate the manner in which it can be made complete. If the applicant submits additional data to complete the application, the commission shall determine, within 30 days after receipt of that data, whether the data is sufficient to make the application complete. The application shall be deemed filed on the date when the commission determines the application is complete if the commission has adopted regulations specifying the informational requirements for a complete application, but if the commission has not adopted regulations, the application shall be deemed filed on the last date the commission receives any additional data that completes the application.

(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 335, Sec. 2.)

25523.
  

The commission shall prepare a written decision after the public hearing on an application, which includes all of the following:

(a) Specific provisions relating to the manner in which the proposed facility is to be designed, sited, and operated in order to protect environmental quality and assure public health and safety.

(b) In the case of a site to be located in the coastal zone, specific provisions to meet the objectives of Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000) as may be specified in the report submitted by the California Coastal Commission pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 30413, unless the commission specifically finds that the adoption of the provisions specified in the report would result in greater adverse effect on the environment or that the provisions proposed in the report would not be feasible.

(c) In the case of a site to be located in the Suisun Marsh or in the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, specific provisions to meet the requirements of Division 19 (commencing with Section 29000) of this code or Title 7.2 (commencing with Section 66600) of the Government Code as may be specified in the report submitted by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 66645 of the Government Code, unless the commission specifically finds that the adoption of the provisions specified in the report would result in greater adverse effect on the environment or the provisions proposed in the report would not be feasible.

(d) (1) Findings regarding the conformity of the proposed site and related facilities with standards adopted by the commission pursuant to Section 25216.3 and subdivision (d) of Section 25402, with public safety standards and the applicable air and water quality standards, and with other applicable local, regional, state, and federal standards, ordinances, or laws. If the commission finds that there is noncompliance with a state, local, or regional ordinance or regulation in the application, it shall consult and meet with the state, local, or regional governmental agency concerned to attempt to correct or eliminate the noncompliance. If the noncompliance cannot be corrected or eliminated, the commission shall inform the state, local, or regional governmental agency if it makes the findings required by Section 25525.

(2) The commission may not find that the proposed facility conforms with applicable air quality standards pursuant to paragraph (1) unless the applicable air pollution control district or air quality management district certifies, prior to the licensing of the project by the commission, that complete emissions offsets for the proposed facility have been identified and will be obtained by the applicant within the time required by the district’s rules or unless the applicable air pollution control district or air quality management district certifies that the applicant requires emissions offsets to be obtained prior to the commencement of operation consistent with Section 42314.3 of the Health and Safety Code and prior to commencement of the operation of the proposed facility. The commission shall require as a condition of certification that the applicant obtain any required emission offsets within the time required by the applicable district rules, consistent with any applicable federal and state laws and regulations, and prior to the commencement of the operation of the proposed facility.

(e) Provision for restoring the site as necessary to protect the environment, if the commission denies approval of the application.

(f) In the case of a site and related facility using resource recovery (waste-to-energy) technology, specific conditions requiring that the facility be monitored to ensure compliance with paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 42315 of the Health and Safety Code.

(g) In the case of a facility, other than a resource recovery facility subject to subdivision (f), specific conditions requiring the facility to be monitored to ensure compliance with toxic air contaminant control measures adopted by an air pollution control district or air quality management district pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 39666 or Section 41700 of the Health and Safety Code, whether the measures were adopted before or after issuance of a determination of compliance by the district.

(h) A discussion of any public benefits from the project including, but not limited to, economic benefits, environmental benefits, and electricity reliability benefits.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 733, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2004.)

25524.
  

(a) “Qualified applicant” for purposes of this section means an applicant for certification of an eligible renewable energy resource, as defined in the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program (Article 16 (commencing with Section 399.11) of Chapter 2.3 of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Public Utilities Code).

(b) The commission shall establish a process to allow a qualified applicant to elect to pay additional fees to be used by the commission to contract with a third party, or more than one third party, to assist commission staff in performing the analysis otherwise performed by commission staff in determining whether or not to issue a certification. The commission shall retain discretion as to when this option will be offered to a qualified applicant.

(c) The amount of the fees charged by the commission pursuant to this section shall be conditioned upon the qualified applicant agreeing to that amount and electing to proceed with the retention of the third party or parties pursuant to subdivision (b).

(d) All fees paid by a qualified applicant shall be used exclusively for analysis of that applicant’s application for certification.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 10, Sec. 4. (AB 13 1x) Effective December 10, 2011.)

25524.1.
  

(a) Except for the existing Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and San Onofre Units 2 and 3 owned by Southern California Edison Company and San Diego Gas and Electric Company, no nuclear fission thermal powerplant requiring the reprocessing of fuel rods, including any to which this chapter does not otherwise apply, excepting any having a vested right as defined in this section, shall be permitted land use in the state or, where applicable, certified by the commission until both of the following conditions are met:

(1) The commission finds that the United States through its authorized agency has identified and approved, and there exists a technology for the construction and operation of, nuclear fuel rod reprocessing plants.

(2) The commission has reported its findings and the reasons therefor pursuant to paragraph (1) to the Legislature. That report shall be assigned to the appropriate policy committees for review. The commission may proceed to certify nuclear fission thermal powerplants 100 legislative days after reporting its findings unless within those 100 legislative days either house of the Legislature adopts by a majority vote of its members a resolution disaffirming the findings of the commission made pursuant to paragraph (1).

(3) A resolution of disaffirmance shall set forth the reasons for the action and shall provide, to the extent possible, guidance to the commission as to an appropriate method of bringing the commission’s findings into conformance with paragraph (1).

(4) If a disaffirming resolution is adopted, the commission shall reexamine its original findings consistent with matters raised in the resolution. On conclusion of its reexamination, the commission shall transmit its findings in writing, with the reasons therefor, to the Legislature.

(5) If the findings are that the conditions of paragraph (1) have been met, the commission may proceed to certify nuclear fission thermal powerplants 100 legislative days after reporting its findings to the Legislature unless within those 100 legislative days both houses of the Legislature act by statute to declare the findings null and void and takes appropriate action.

(6) To allow sufficient time for the Legislature to act, the reports of findings of the commission shall be submitted to the Legislature at least six calendar months prior to the adjournment of the Legislature sine die.

(b) The commission shall further find on a case-by-case basis that facilities with adequate capacity to reprocess nuclear fuel rods from a certified nuclear facility or to store that fuel if that storage is approved by an authorized agency of the United States are in actual operation or will be in operation at the time that the nuclear facility requires reprocessing or storage; provided, however, that the storage of fuel is in an offsite location to the extent necessary to provide continuous onsite full core reserve storage capacity.

(c) The commission shall continue to receive and process notices of intention and applications for certification pursuant to this division, but shall not issue a decision pursuant to Section 25523 granting a certificate until the requirements of this section have been met. All other permits, licenses, approvals, or authorizations for the entry or use of the land, including orders of court, which may be required may be processed and granted by the governmental entity concerned, but construction work to install permanent equipment or structures shall not commence until the requirements of this section have been met.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1145, Sec. 16. Effective January 1, 1995.)

25524.2.
  

Except for the existing Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and San Onofre Units 2 and 3 owned by Southern California Edison Company and San Diego Gas and Electric Company, no nuclear fission thermal powerplant, including any to which this chapter does not otherwise apply, but excepting those exempted herein, shall be permitted land use in the state, or where applicable, be certified by the commission until both of the following conditions have been met:

(a) The commission finds that there has been developed and that the United States through its authorized agency has approved and there exists a demonstrated technology or means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste.

(b) (1) The commission has reported its findings and the reasons therefor pursuant to paragraph (a) to the Legislature. That report shall be assigned to the appropriate policy committees for review. The commission may proceed to certify nuclear fission thermal powerplants 100 legislative days after reporting its findings unless within those 100 legislative days either house of the Legislature adopts by a majority vote of its members a resolution disaffirming the findings of the commission made pursuant to subdivision (a).

(2) A resolution of disaffirmance shall set forth the reasons for the action and shall provide, to the extent possible, guidance to the commission as to an appropriate method of bringing the commission’s findings into conformance with subdivision (a).

(3) If a disaffirming resolution is adopted, the commission shall reexamine its original findings consistent with matters raised in the resolution. On conclusion of its reexamination, the commission shall transmit its findings in writing, with the reasons therefor, to the Legislature.

(4) If the findings are that the conditions of subdivision (a) have been met, the commission may proceed to certify nuclear fission thermal powerplants 100 legislative days after reporting its findings to the Legislature unless within those 100 legislative days both houses of the Legislature act by statute to declare the findings null and void and take appropriate action.

(5) To allow sufficient time for the Legislature to act, the reports of findings of the commission shall be submitted to the Legislature at least six calendar months prior to the adjournment of the Legislature sine die.

(c) As used in subdivision (a), “technology or means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste” means a method for the permanent and terminal disposition of high-level nuclear waste. Nothing in this section requires that facilities for the application of that technology or means be available at the time that the commission makes its findings. That disposition of high-level nuclear waste does not preclude the possibility of an approved process for retrieval of the waste.

(d) The commission shall continue to receive and process notices of intention and applications for certification pursuant to this division but shall not issue a decision pursuant to Section 25523 granting a certificate until the requirements of this section have been met. All other permits, licenses, approvals, or authorizations for the entry or use of the land, including orders of court, which may be required may be processed and granted by the governmental entity concerned, but construction work to install permanent equipment or structures shall not commence until the requirements of this section have been met.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1145, Sec. 17. Effective January 1, 1995.)

25524.5.
  

The commission shall not certify any facility which adds generating capacity to a potential multiple-facility site in excess of the maximum allowable capacity established by the commission pursuant to Section 25516.5, unless the commission finds that exceeding the maximum allowable capacity will not increase adverse environmental impacts or create technological, seismic, or other difficulties beyond those already found acceptable in the commission’s findings on the notice for that site pursuant to Sections 25516 and 25516.5.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25525.
  

The commission may not certify a facility contained in the application when it finds, pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 25523, that the facility does not conform with any applicable state, local, or regional standards, ordinances, or laws, unless the commission determines that the facility is required for public convenience and necessity and that there are not more prudent and feasible means of achieving public convenience and necessity. In making the determination, the commission shall consider the entire record of the proceeding, including, but not limited to, the impacts of the facility on the environment, consumer benefits, and electric system reliability. The commission may not make a finding in conflict with applicable federal law or regulation. The basis for these findings shall be reduced to writing and submitted as part of the record pursuant to Section 25523.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 733, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2004.)

25526.
  

(a) The commission shall not approve as a site for a facility any location designated by the California Coastal Commission pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 30413, unless the California Coastal Commission first finds that such use is not inconsistent with the primary uses of such land and that there will be no substantial adverse environmental effects and unless the approval of any public agency having ownership or control of such land is obtained.

(b) The commission shall not approve as a site for a facility any location designated by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 66645 of the Government Code unless the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission first finds that such use is not inconsistent with the primary uses of such land and that there will be no substantial adverse environmental effects and unless the approval of any public agency having ownership or control of such land is obtained.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1155.)

25527.
  

The following areas of the state shall not be approved as a site for a facility, unless the commission finds that such use is not inconsistent with the primary uses of such lands and that there will be no substantial adverse environmental effects and the approval of any public agency having ownership or control of such lands is obtained:

(a) State, regional, county and city parks; wilderness, scenic or natural reserves; areas for wildlife protection, recreation, historic preservation; or natural preservation areas in existence on the effective date of this division.

(b) Estuaries in an essentially natural and undeveloped state.

In considering applications for certification, the commission shall give the greatest consideration to the need for protecting areas of critical environmental concern, including, but not limited to, unique and irreplaceable scientific, scenic, and educational wildlife habitats; unique historical, archaelogical, and cultural sites; lands of hazardous concern; and areas under consideration by the state or the United States for wilderness, or wildlife and game reserves.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25528.
  

(a) The commission shall require, as a condition of certification of any site and related facility, that the applicant acquire, by grant or contract, the right to prohibit development of privately owned lands in the area of the proposed site which will result in population densities in excess of the maximum population densities which the commission determines, as to the factors considered by the commission pursuant to Section 25511, are necessary to protect public health and safety.

If the applicant is authorized to exercise the right of eminent domain under Article 7 (commencing with Section 610) of Chapter 3 of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Public Utilities Code, the applicant may exercise the right of eminent domain to acquire such development rights as the commission requires be acquired.

(b) In the case of an application for a nuclear facility, the area and population density necessary to insure the public’s health and safety designated by the commission shall be that as determined from time to time by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, if the commission finds that such determination is sufficiently definitive for valid land use planning requirements.

(c) The commission shall waive the requirements of the acquisition of development rights by an applicant to the extent that the commission finds that existing governmental land use restrictions are of a type necessary and sufficient to guarantee the maintenance of population levels and land use development over the lifetime of the facility which will insure the public health and safety requirements set pursuant to this section.

(d) No change in governmental land use restrictions in such areas designated in subdivision (c) of this section by any government agency shall be effective until approved by the commission. Such approval shall certify that the change in land use restrictions is not in conflict with requirements provided for by this section.

(e) It is not the intent of the Legislature by the enactment of this section to take private property for public use without payment of just compensation in violation of the United States Constitution or the Constitution of California.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1114.)

25529.
  

When a facility is proposed to be located in the coastal zone or any other area with recreational, scenic, or historic value, the commission shall require, as a condition of certification of any facility contained in the application, that an area be established for public use, as determined by the commission. Lands within such area shall be acquired and maintained by the applicant and shall be available for public access and use, subject to restrictions required for security and public safety. The applicant may dedicate such public use zone to any local agency agreeing to operate or maintain it for the benefit of the public. If no local agency agrees to operate or maintain the public use zone for the benefit of the public, the applicant may dedicate such zone to the state. The commission shall also require that any facility to be located along the coast or shoreline of any major body of water be set back from the shoreline to permit reasonable public use and to protect scenic and aesthetic values.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25530.
  

The commission may order a reconsideration of all or part of a decision or order on its own motion or on petition of any party.

Any such petition shall be filed within 30 days after adoption by the commission of a decision or order. The commission shall not order a reconsideration on its own motion more than 30 days after it has adopted a decison or order. The commission shall order or deny reconsideration on a petition therefor within 30 days after the petition is filed.

A decision or order may be reconsidered by the commission on the basis of all pertinent portions of the record together with such argument as the commission may permit, or the commission may hold a further hearing, after notice to all interested persons. A decision or order of the commission on reconsideration shall have the same force and effect as an original order or decision.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25531.
  

(a) The decisions of the commission on any application for certification of a site and related facility are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court of California.

(b) No new or additional evidence may be introduced upon review and the cause shall be heard on the record of the commission as certified to by it. The review shall not be extended further than to determine whether the commission has regularly pursued its authority, including a determination of whether the order or decision under review violates any right of the petitioner under the United States Constitution or the California Constitution. The findings and conclusions of the commission on questions of fact are final and are not subject to review, except as provided in this article. These questions of fact shall include ultimate facts and the findings and conclusions of the commission. A report prepared by, or an approval of, the commission pursuant to Section 25510, 25514, 25516, or 25516.5, or subdivision (b) of Section 25520.5, shall not constitute a decision of the commission subject to judicial review.

(c) Subject to the right of judicial review of decisions of the commission, no court in this state has jurisdiction to hear or determine any case or controversy concerning any matter which was, or could have been, determined in a proceeding before the commission, or to stop or delay the construction or operation of any thermal powerplant except to enforce compliance with the provisions of a decision of the commission.

(d) Notwithstanding Section 1250.370 of the Code of Civil Procedure:

(1) If the commission requires, pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 25528, as a condition of certification of any site and related facility, that the applicant acquire development rights, that requirement conclusively establishes the matters referred to in Sections 1240.030 and 1240.220 of the Code of Civil Procedure in any eminent domain proceeding brought by the applicant to acquire the development rights.

(2) If the commission certifies any site and related facility, that certification conclusively establishes the matters referred to in Sections 1240.030 and 1240.220 of the Code of Civil Procedure in any eminent domain proceeding brought to acquire the site and related facility.

(e) No decision of the commission pursuant to Section 25516, 25522, or 25523 shall be found to mandate a specific supply plan for any utility as prohibited by Section 25323.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 12, Sec. 8. Effective May 22, 2001.)

25532.
  

The commission shall establish a monitoring system to assure that any facility certified under this division is constructed and is operating in compliance with air and water quality, public health and safety, and other applicable regulations, guidelines, and conditions adopted or established by the commission or specified in the written decision on the application. In designing and operating the monitoring system, the commission shall seek the cooperation and assistance of the State Air Resources Board, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Health, and other state, regional, and local agencies which have an interest in environmental control.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25534.
  

(a) The commission may, after one or more hearings, amend the conditions of, or revoke the certification for, any facility for any of the following reasons:

(1) Any material false statement set forth in the application, presented in proceedings of the commission, or included in supplemental documentation provided by the applicant.

(2) Any significant failure to comply with the terms or conditions of approval of the application, as specified by the commission in its written decision.

(3) A violation of this division or any regulation or order issued by the commission under this division.

(4) The owner of a project does not start construction of the project within 12 months after the date all permits necessary for the project become final and all administrative and judicial appeals have been resolved provided the California Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority notifies the commission that it is willing and able to construct the project pursuant to subdivision (g). The project owner may extend the 12-month period by 24 additional months pursuant to subdivision (f). This paragraph applies only to projects with a project permit application deemed complete by the commission after January 1, 2003.

(b) The commission may also administratively impose a civil penalty for a violation of paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a). Any civil penalty shall be imposed in accordance with Section 25534.1 and may not exceed seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) per violation, except that the civil penalty may be increased by an amount not to exceed one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) per day for each day in which the violation occurs or persists, but the total of the per day penalties may not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

(c) A project owner shall commence construction of a project subject to the start-of-construction deadline provided by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) within 12 months after the project has been certified by the commission and after all accompanying project permits are final and administrative and judicial appeals have been completed. The project owner shall submit construction and commercial operation milestones to the commission within 30 days after project certification. Construction milestones shall require the start of construction within the 12-month period established by this subdivision. The commission shall approve milestones within 60 days after project certification. If the 30-day deadline to submit construction milestones to the commission is not met, the commission shall establish milestones for the project.

(d) The failure of the owner of a project subject to the start-of-construction deadline provided by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) to meet construction or commercial operation milestones, without a finding by the commission of good cause, shall be cause for revocation of certification or the imposition of other penalties by the commission.

(e) A finding by the commission that there is good cause for failure to meet the start-of-construction deadline required by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) or any subsequent milestones of subdivision (c) shall be made if the commission determines that any of the following criteria are met:

(1) The change in any deadline or milestone does not change the established deadline or milestone for the start of commercial operation.

(2) The deadline or milestone is changed due to circumstances beyond the project owner’s control, including, but not limited to, administrative and legal appeals.

(3) The deadline or milestone will be missed but the project owner demonstrates a good faith effort to meet the project deadline or milestone.

(4) The deadline or milestone will be missed due to unforeseen natural disasters or acts of God that prevent timely completion of the project deadline or milestone.

(5) The deadline or milestone will be missed for any other reason determined reasonable by the commission.

(f) The commission shall extend the start-of-construction deadline required by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) by an additional 24 months, if the owner reimburses the commission’s actual cost of licensing the project, less the amount paid pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 25806. For the purposes of this section, the commission’s actual cost of licensing the project shall be based on a certified audit report filed by the commission staff within 180 days of the commission’s certification of the project. The certified audit shall be filed and served on all parties to the proceeding, is subject to public review and comment, and is subject to at least one public hearing if requested by the project owner. Any reimbursement received by the commission pursuant to this subdivision shall be deposited in the General Fund.

(g) If the owner of a project subject to the start-of-construction deadline provided by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) fails to commence construction, without good cause, within 12 months after the project has been certified by the commission and has not received an extension pursuant to subdivision (f), the commission shall provide immediate notice to the California Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority. The authority shall evaluate whether to pursue the project independently or in conjunction with any other public or private entity, including the original certificate holder. If the authority demonstrates to the commission that it is willing and able to construct the project either independently or in conjunction with any other public or private entity, including the original certificate holder, the commission may revoke the original certification and issue a new certification for the project to the authority, unless the authority’s statutory authorization to finance or approve new programs, enterprises, or projects has expired. If the authority declines to pursue the project, the permit shall remain with the current project owner until it expires pursuant to the regulations adopted by the commission.

(h) If the commission issues a new certification for a project subject to the start-of-construction deadline provided by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) to the authority, the commission shall adopt new milestones for the project that allow the authority up to 24 months to start construction of the project or to start to meet the applicable deadlines or milestones. If the authority fails to begin construction in conformity with the deadlines or milestones adopted by the commission, without good cause, the certification may be revoked.

(i) (1) If the commission issues a new certification for a project subject to the start-of-construction deadline provided by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) to the authority and the authority pursues the project without participation of the original certificate holder, the authority shall offer to reimburse the original certificate holder for the actual costs the original certificate holder incurred in permitting the project and in procuring assets associated with the license, including, but not limited to, major equipment and the emission offsets. In order to receive reimbursement, the original certificate holder shall provide to the commission documentation of the actual costs incurred in permitting the project. The commission shall validate those costs. The certificate holder may refuse to accept the offer of reimbursement for any asset associated with the license and retain the asset. To the extent the certificate holder chooses to accept the offer for an asset, it shall provide the authority with the asset.

(2) If the authority reimburses the original certificate holder for the costs described in paragraph (1), the original certificate holder shall provide the authority with all of the assets for which the original certificate holder received reimbursement.

(j) This section does not prevent a certificate holder from selling its license to construct and operate a project prior to its revocation by the commission. In the event of a sale to an entity that is not an affiliate of the certificate holder, the commission shall adopt new deadlines or milestones for the project that allow the new certificate holder up to 12 months to start construction of the project or to start to meet the applicable deadlines or milestones.

(k) Paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) and subdivisions (c) to (j), inclusive, do not apply to licenses issued for the modernization, repowering, replacement, or refurbishment of existing facilities or to a qualifying small power production facility or a qualifying cogeneration facility within the meaning of Sections 201 and 210 of Title II of the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. Secs. 796(17), 796(18), and 824a-3), and the regulations adopted pursuant to those sections by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (18 C.F.R. Parts 292.101 to 292.602, inclusive), nor shall those provisions apply to any other generation units installed, operated, and maintained at a customer site exclusively to serve that facility’s load. For the purposes of this subdivision, “replacement” of an existing facility includes, but is not limited to, a comparable project at a location different than the facility being replaced, provided that the commission certifies that the new project will result in the decommissioning of the existing facility.

(l) Paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) and subdivisions (c) to (j), inclusive, do not apply to licenses issued to “local publicly owned electric utilities,” as defined in Section 224.3 of the Public Utilities Code, whose governing bodies certify to the commission that the project is needed to meet the projected native load of the local publicly owned utility.

(m) To implement this section, the commission and the California Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority may, in consultation with each other, adopt emergency regulations in accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. For purposes of that chapter, including, without limitation, Section 11349.6 of the Government Code, the adoption of the regulations shall be considered by the Office of Administrative Law to be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, or general welfare.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 558, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2009.)

25534.1.
  

(a) The executive director of the commission may issue a complaint to any person or entity on whom an administrative civil penalty may be imposed pursuant to Section 25534. The complaint shall allege the act or failure to act for which the civil penalty is proposed, the provision of law authorizing civil liability, and the proposed civil penalty.

(b) The complaint shall be served by personal notice or certified mail, and shall inform the party so served that a hearing will be conducted within 60 days after the party has been served. The hearing shall be before the commission. The complainant may waive the right to a hearing, in which case the commission shall not conduct a hearing.

(c) After any hearing, the commission may adopt, with or without revision, the proposed decision and order of the executive director.

(d) Orders setting an administrative civil penalty shall become effective and final upon issuance thereof, and any payment shall be made within 30 days. Copies of these orders shall be served by personal service or by registered mail upon the party served with the complaint and upon other persons who appeared at the hearing and requested a copy.

(e) In determining the amount of the administrative civil penalty, the commission shall take into consideration the nature, circumstance, extent, and gravity of the violation or violations, whether the violation is susceptible to removal or resolution, the cost to the state in pursuing the enforcement action, and with respect to the violator, the ability to pay, the effect on ability to continue in business, any voluntary removal or resolution efforts undertaken, any prior history of violations, the degree of culpability, economic savings, if any, resulting from the violation, and such other matters as justice may require.

(Added by Stats. 1987, Ch. 1079, Sec. 2.)

25534.2.
  

(a) Within 30 days after service of an order issued under Section 25534.1, any aggrieved party may file with the superior court a petition for writ of mandate for review thereof pursuant to Section 1094.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure. If no aggrieved party petition for a writ of mandate is filed within the time provided by this section, an order of the commission is not subject to review by any court or agency, except that the commission may grant review on its own motion of an order issued under Section 25534.1 after the expiration of the time limits set by this section.

(b) Upon request of the commission, the Attorney General shall institute an action in the appropriate superior court to collect and recover any administrative civil penalties imposed pursuant to Section 25534.1. The court shall accord priority on its calendar to any action under this subdivision.

(c) Any moneys recovered by the commission pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the General Fund.

(Added by Stats. 1987, Ch. 1079, Sec. 3.)

25535.
  

Such reasonable and direct costs as the applicant incurs to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall be allowed for ratemaking purposes.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1090.)

25537.
  

Upon approval of an application, the commission shall forward to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and to other appropriate federal agencies, the results of its studies including the environmental impact report on the facility, the written decision on the facility contained in the application, and the commission’s determination of facility safety and reliability as provided in Section 25511.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1114.)

25538.
  

Upon receiving the commission’s request for review under subdivision (f) of Section 25519 and Section 25506, the local agency may request a fee from the commission to reimburse the local agency for the actual and added costs of this review by the local agency. The commission shall reimburse the local agency for the added costs that shall be actually incurred by the local agency in complying with the commission’s request. The local agency may also request reimbursement for permit fees that the local agency would receive but for the operation of Section 25500, provided, however, that such fees may only be requested in accordance with actual services performed by the local agency. The commission shall either request a fee from the person proposing the project or devote a special fund in its budget, for the reimbursement of such costs incurred by local agencies.

(Amended by Stats. 1981, Ch. 1028, Sec. 1.)

25539.
  

In reviewing notices and applications for certification of modifications of existing facilities, the commission shall adopt rules and regulations as necessary to insure that relevant duties pursuant to this division are carried out.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25540.
  

If a person proposes to construct a geothermal powerplant and related facility or facilities on a site, the commission shall not require three alternative sites and related facilities to be proposed in the notice. Except as otherwise provided, the commission shall issue its findings on the notice, as specified in Section 25514, within nine months from the date of filing of such notice, and shall issue its final decision on the application, as specified in Section 25523, within nine months from the date of the filing of the application for certification, or at such later time as is mutually agreed to by the commission and the applicant or person submitting the notice or application.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 1091.)

25540.1.
  

The commission shall determine, within 30 days after the receipt of a notice or application for a geothermal powerplant, whether the notice or application is complete. If the notice or application is determined not to be complete, the commission’s determination shall specify, in writing, those parts of the notice or application which are incomplete and shall indicate the manner in which it can be made complete. Within 30 days after receipt of the applicant’s filing with the commission the additional information requested by the commission to make the notice or application complete, the commission shall determine whether the subsequent filing is sufficient to complete the notice or application. A notice or application shall be deemed filed for purposes of Section 25540 on the date the commission determines the notice or application is completed if the commission has adopted regulations specifying the informational requirements for a complete notice or application, but if the commission has not adopted regulations, the notice or application shall be deemed filed on the last date the commission receives any additional data that completes the notice or application.

(Amended by Stats. 1987, Ch. 335, Sec. 3.)

25540.2.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law:

(a) If an applicant proposes to construct a geothermal powerplant at a site which, at the outset of the proceeding, the applicant can reasonably demonstrate to be capable of providing geothermal resources in commercial quantities, no notice of intention pursuant to Section 25502 shall be required, and the commission shall issue the final decision on the application, as specified in Section 25523, within 12 months after acceptance of the application for certification of a geothermal powerplant and related facilities, or at such later time as is mutually agreed by the commission and the applicant.

(b) Upon receipt of an application for certification of a geothermal powerplant and related facilities, the commission shall transmit a copy of the application to every state and local agency having jurisdiction over land use in the area involved.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 1091.)

25540.3.
  

(a) An applicant for a geothermal powerplant may propose a site to be approved that will accommodate a potential maximum electric generating capacity in excess of the capacity being proposed for initial construction. In addition to the information concerning the initial powerplant and related facilities proposed for construction required pursuant to Section 25520, such application shall include all of the following, to the extent known:

(1) The number, type, and energy source of electric generating units which the site is proposed ultimately to accommodate and the maximum generating capacity for each unit.

(2) The projected installation schedule for each unit.

(3) The impact of the site, when fully developed, on the environment and public health and safety.

(4) The amount and sources of cooling water needed at the fully developed site.

(5) The general location and design of auxiliary facilities planned for each stage of development, including, but not limited to pipelines, transmission lines, waste storage and disposal facilites, switchyards, and cooling ponds, lakes, or towers.

(6) Such other information relating to the design, operation, and siting of the facility as the commission may by regulation require.

(b) If an application is filed pursuant to subdivision (a) which proposes a site to be approved which will accommodate a potential maximum electric generating capacity in excess of the capacity being proposed for initial construction, the commission may, in its decision pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 25540.3, either certify only the initial facility or facilities proposed for initial construction or may certify the initial facility or facilities and find the site acceptable for additional generating capacity of the type tentatively proposed. The maximum allowable amount and type of such additional capacity shall be determined by the commission.

If the decision includes a finding that a particular site is suitable to accommodate a particular additional generating capacity, the site shall be designated a potential multiple facility site. The commission may, in determining the acceptability of a potential multiple facility site, specify conditions or criteria necessary to ensure that future additional facilities will not exceed the limitations of the site.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1271.)

25540.4.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law:

(a) The decision of the commission on an application for an additional facility at a potential multiple facility site shall be issued within three months after the acceptance of the application or at such later time as is mutually agreed upon by the commission and the applicant.

(b) In reviewing an application for an additional facility at a potential multiple facility site, the commission may, upon a showing of good cause, undertake a reconsideration of its prior determinations in the final report for the site pursuant to Section 25514 or its decision pursuant to Section 25523 based on current conditions and other reasonable alternatives to the proposed facility. Such reconsideration must be completed within seven months after acceptance of such application for an additional facility.

(c) The commission shall, pursuant to Section 21100.2, provide by resolution or order for completing and certifying the environmental impact report within the time limits established by subdivisions (a) and (b).

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1271.)

25540.5.
  

The commission may, at the petition of a county which has adopted a geothermal element for its general plan, approve an equivalent certification program which delegates to that county full authority for the certification of all geothermal powerplants within such county. Once approved by the commission, the equivalent certification program shall replace and supersede the procedures for certification of all geothermal powerplants and related facilities, pursuant to Sections 25540 to 25540.4, inclusive, to be located within such county. The commission may, after public hearings, revoke the approved equivalent certification program of such county if the commission finds that the program does not comply with current commission certification requirements. The equivalent certification program shall include, but not be limited to, provisions for all of the following:

(a) Certification of geothermal areas as potential multiple facility sites, if so applied for.

(b) Processing of applications in less than 12 months.

(c) Periodic review and updating of the program by the county as may be required by law and the commission.

(d) Appeal procedures, including appeals to the commission on substantive issues. In any such appeal on a substantive issue, the commission shall determine whether the act or decision is supported by substantial evidence in the light of the whole record. The commission shall determine, within 15 days of receipt of an appeal, whether the appeal has merit and whether action should be taken.

(e) Input and review by other relevant public agencies and members of the public.

(f) Public hearing procedures equivalent to those specified in Article 6 (commencing with Section 65350) of Chapter 3 of Title 7 of the Government Code.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1271.)

25540.6.
  

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no notice of intention is required, and the commission shall issue its final decision on the application, as specified in Section 25523, within 12 months after the filing of the application for certification of the powerplant and related facility or facilities, or at any later time as is mutually agreed by the commission and the applicant, for any of the following:

(1) A thermal powerplant which will employ cogeneration technology, a thermal powerplant that will employ natural gas-fired technology, or a solar thermal powerplant.

(2) A modification of an existing facility.

(3) A thermal powerplant which it is only technologically or economically feasible to site at or near the energy source.

(4) A thermal powerplant with a generating capacity of up to 100 megawatts.

(5) A thermal powerplant designed to develop or demonstrate technologies which have not previously been built or operated on a commercial scale. Such a research, development, or commercial demonstration project may include, but is not limited to, the use of renewable or alternative fuels, improvements in energy conversion efficiency, or the use of advanced pollution control systems. Such a facility may not exceed 300 megawatts unless the commission, by regulation, authorizes a greater capacity. Section 25524 does not apply to such a powerplant and related facility or facilities.

(b) Projects exempted from the notice of intention requirement pursuant to paragraph (1), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a) shall include, in the application for certification, a discussion of the applicant’s site selection criteria, any alternative sites that the applicant considered for the project, and the reasons why the applicant chose the proposed site. That discussion shall not be required for cogeneration projects at existing industrial sites. The commission may also accept an application for a noncogeneration project at an existing industrial site without requiring a discussion of site alternatives if the commission finds that the project has a strong relationship to the existing industrial site and that it is therefore reasonable not to analyze alternative sites for the project.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 581, Sec. 11. Effective January 1, 2000.)

25541.
  

The commission may exempt from this chapter thermal powerplants with a generating capacity of up to 100 megawatts and modifications to existing generating facilities that do not add capacity in excess of 100 megawatts, if the commission finds that no substantial adverse impact on the environment or energy resources will result from the construction or operation of the proposed facility or from the modifications.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 581, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 2000.)

25541.1.
  

It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage the development of thermal powerplants using resource recovery (waste-to-energy) technology. Previously enacted incentives for the production of electrical energy from nonfossil fuels in commercially scaled projects have failed to produce the desired results. At the same time, the state faces a growing problem in the environmentally safe disposal of its solid waste. The creation of electricity by a thermal powerplant using resource recovery technology addresses both problems by doing all of the following:

(a) Generating electricity from a nonfossil fuel of an ample, growing supply.

(b) Conserving landfill space, thus reducing waste disposal costs.

(c) Avoiding the health hazards of burying garbage.

Furthermore, development of resource recovery facilities creates new construction jobs, as well as ongoing operating jobs, in the communities in which they are located.

(Added by Stats. 1984, Ch. 743, Sec. 2.)

25541.5.
  

(a) On or before January 1, 2001, the Secretary of the Resources Agency shall review the regulatory program conducted pursuant to this chapter that was certified pursuant to subdivision (k) of Section 15251 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, to determine whether the regulatory program meets the criteria specified in Section 21080.5. If the Secretary of the Resources Agency determines that the regulatory program meets those criteria, the secretary shall continue the certification of the regulatory program.

(b) If the Secretary of the Resources Agency continues the certification of the regulatory program, the commission shall amend the regulatory program from time to time, as necessary to permit the secretary to continue to certify the program.

(c) This section does not invalidate the certification of the regulatory program, as it existed on January 1, 2000, pending the review required by subdivision (a).

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 581, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2000.)

25542.
  

In the case of any site and related facility or facilities for which the provisions of this division do not apply, the exclusive power given to the commission pursuant to Section 25500 to certify sites and related facilities shall not be in effect.

(Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276.)

25543.
  

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to improve the process of siting and licensing new thermal electric powerplants to ensure that these facilities can be sited in a timely manner, while protecting environmental quality and public participation in the siting process.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 7550.5 of the Government Code, the commission shall prepare a report to the Governor and the Legislature on or before March 31, 2000, that identifies administrative and statutory measures that, preserving environmental protections and public participation, would improve the commission’s siting and licensing process for thermal powerplants of 50 megawatts and larger. The report shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

(1) An examination of potential process efficiencies associated with required hearings, site visits, and documents.

(2) A review of the impacts on both process efficiency and public participation of restrictions on communications between applicants, the public, and staff or decisionmakers.

(3) An assessment of means for improving coordination with the licensing activities of local jurisdictions and participation by other state agencies.

(4) An assessment of organizational structure issues including the adequacy of the amounts and organization of current technical and legal resources.

(5) Recommendations for administrative and statutory measures to improve the siting and licensing process.

(c) The commission may immediately implement any administrative recommendations. Regulations, as identified in paragraph (5), adopted within 180 days of the effective date of this section may be adopted as emergency regulations in accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of the Government Code. For purposes of that chapter, including Section 11349.6 of the Government Code, the adoption of the regulations shall be considered by the Office of Administrative Law to be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety, and general welfare.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 581, Sec. 15. Effective January 1, 2000.)

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