• Power Plant Site Selection Criteria


    When power plant developers are determining where to locate a new power plant, then they consider the following illustrate factors.  Locating the plant is often termed “siting.”


    1. Availability of fuel : The availability and price of suitable fuel will often determine the site location. Plants producing bulk power are best located close to the source of fuel. EX: A coal based power plant should be located near the coal mining area, where coal is available abundantly.


    2. Nearness to Load Centre : This factor is of interest to electrical system planners because a power plant sited near to load centre could reduce system inefficiencies and transmission line losses. Generally, sites where there is a local or regional need for generation capacity may be preferred.


    3. Transportation facilities : The transportation of power plant equipments and fuel to the plant will be an overriding consideration. If practicable, a site should be selected that is close to at least two major forms of transport: road, rail, waterway or a seaport.


     4. Air space restrictions: Aviation Administration's guidelines restrict the height of structures near airports like towers or chimneys. It’s important to verify that a site can comply with all airspace guidelines.


    5. Floodplains: It’s important to reduce the potential for flood damage and plant shutdown. Designs typically locate critical equipment above the 100-year flood level. Generally, sites completely out of the floodplain or sites with room to locate major plant equipment out of the floodplain are preferred over sites where major equipment would be located in the floodplain.


    6. Site adaptability: Technical, economic, and environmental developments may change the preferred type of fuel or technology for power plants. Information is needed about the proximity and ease of access to alternate fuel supplies and the ability of the site to support the installation of new technologies such as gasifiers that use coal or biomass. Generally, sites adaptable to new fuels or technologies may be preferred.


    7. Site expandability: A site might be able to support more generating capacity than proposed. It’s usually more economical and environmentally acceptable to add generating capacity at an existing site than to build at a new site. Often, an expandable site may be more desirable.


    8. Site geography: Site geography can affect construction costs and environmental impacts. The features of most interest are the general site topography (ground slope), soil types and depths, and depth to groundwater. These factors affect the amount of earthwork required and plant design requirements such as foundation and piping installation. Generally, sites with relatively flat topography are preferred over rolling hills or steep grades. Soil types with good weight bearing capacity are preferred over soils with poor engineering characteristics. Favourable sites also have adequate groundwater depths to support plant construction and avoid shallow water table problems.


    9. Transmission: Any new transmission line required to connect the power plant into the electrical transmission system can be a significant cost of plant siting and a major cause of community concern. Generally, shorter new power lines are preferred to longer new lines, and lower voltage lines are preferred to higher-voltage lines. Upgrading or rebuilding existing lines is sometimes preferred to installing new lines. Transmission connections that increase system reliability and stability and decrease system losses are desirable.


    10. Labour availability: A power plant requires labour for construction and operation. Local communities can benefit from these employment opportunities. Generally, sites that can make use of local labour are more desirable. These sites would have a larger skilled work force within a short distance from the plant site.


    11. Number of relocations: How many homeowners and businesses are located at the proposed site and would have to be moved if the plant were built is also a point to concern. Generally, sites needing fewer relocations are more desirable.


    12. Public attitude: The location of a power plant has many effects that are of interest to the local community. Generally, a site where the public attitude is positive or supportive may be preferred.


    13. Wildlife and natural lands: Constructing a generation facility and auxiliary structures could have a direct effect on wildlife, habitat, and lands with good characteristics of natural ecological communities. Sites with little or no effect on wildlife and natural lands are more desirable than sites with more significant impacts on these natural resources. Generally, sites that minimize negative impacts on wildlife from power plant operations are preferred.


    14. Land acquisition: Each site will have unique land acquisition requirements and effects. Generally, sites that have lower land acquisition costs and require shorter acquisition times are more desirable.


    15. Stormwater runoff: The site must be able to support construction and operation in a way that minimizes erosion, sedimentation, and transport of pollutants by stormwater runoff to waters of the state. Sites that pose problems for runoff management (highly erodible soils, steep slopes, etc.) are less desirable.


    16. Availability of water: An ample supply of water must be available for condenser cooling water. Thus, site adjacent to large bodies of water are preferable. Availability of pure water as a makeup water is another requirement.


    17. Disposal of ash: A coal based power plant produces huge amount of ash. A site where ash can be disposed off easily will naturally be advantageous.