generate electricity to power modern conveniences
The Power Plant Siting Act (PPSA), ss.
403.501-.518, F.S., is the state’s centralized process for
licensing large power plants. One license—a certification— replaces
local and state permits. Local governments and state agencies within
whose jurisdiction the power plant is to be built participate in the
process. Certification addresses permitting, land use and zoning,
and property interests. A certification grants approval for the
location of the power plant and its associated facilities such as a
natural gas pipeline supplying the plant's fuel, rail lines for
bringing coal to the site, and roadways and electrical transmission
lines carrying power to the electrical grid, among others.
Certification does not include licenses required by the federal
government. The Power Plant Siting Act applies to all steam or solar
electrical generating facilities that:
- Generate 75 megawatts or more.
- Applications occurred after July 1, 1973.
Ch. 62-17, Part I, (62-17.011
- 62-17.293 [PDF- 117 KB]),
Florida Administrative Code, is the procedural Rule implementing the
PPSA. An application guide is also available. All nonprocedural
rules that would otherwise apply to such a facility will apply to a
certified facility. See the
list for the power plants that are certified under the
Electrical Power Plant Siting Act.
Since certification is a life-of-the facility authorization, the
considerations involved in the application review are extensive. The
application process for a new facility is discussed below.
Who Issues Certifications?
Certification is issued by the Siting Board (Governor and
Cabinet) or by the Secretary of the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) in non-contested cases.
Long-range Planning for Power Plants
Ten-year Site Plans can be viewed on the Florida Public Service
Commission's (PSC) page.
I. Pre-application Filing Activities
A. Notice of Intent
An applicant may file a Notice of Intent to indicate
that it plans to submit an application, and then work with the
reviewing agencies on what information to include in the
B. Need Determinations
Need Determination, a formal process required under s.
403.519, F.S., is conducted by the Public Service Commission.
The Public Service Commission reviews the need for the power
generated by the proposed facility in relation to the needs of
C. Federally Delegated or Approved Permits
Federal permits may be required separately and may
II. Certification Process
A. Application Filing and Distribution
The application, with the appropriate fee, must be submitted to
DEP’s Siting Coordination Office (SCO).
B. Public Involvement and “Parties to the Proceeding"
Entities and persons affected by a proposed project can attend
the hearings and provide comments. Typically, attorneys represent
parties at the proceedings.
After the certification application is filed, the SCO (with input
from affected agencies) determines if the application contains
enough information for agencies to analyze impacts of the proposed
D. Land Use Determination
The application for certification includes a
statement that the power plant and associated facilities are
consistent with land use plans and zoning ordinances. Unless
otherwise exempt by statute, the local Government will make a
finding regarding consistency with land use plans and zoning
E. Public Notice by the Applicant
Public notices are made by the applicant for all applications.
The many different types of notices are outlined in the statute.
F. Informational Public Meetings
The local government within whose jurisdiction the power plant is
proposed may host a public meeting to receive public input.
G. Preliminary Statements of Issues
Each affected agency may submit a Preliminary Statements
of Issues to the SCO, the applicant and parties to the proceedings
to address concerns with a proposed project.
H. Agency Reports
The Agency Reports, along with internal reports from the DEP
districts and bureaus, must be submitted to the DEP SCO. Agency
Reports (other than the Public Service Commission’s reports) need to
- An assessment of jurisdictional issues.
- A recommendation whether the agency would approve or disapprove
the proposal if the project were being judged solely on their own
- The Conditions of Certification (permit provisos or other
restrictions) recommended if the project is certified.
- An assessment of any requested variances, exemptions, exceptions
or other relief and a recommendation whether these should be
- An assessment of exceptions or other relief and variances
that would be required to approve certification but which were
not requested in the application, along with a recommendation
whether these should be granted.
- An assessment of issues related to the use, connection to, or
crossing of an agency-owned or controlled land.
- A summary of public comments received.
The Siting Board may decide that it is in the overall best public
interest to certify the project, regardless of a negative
recommendation. The Public Service Commission’s Report is required
only to contain a copy of the Determination of Need.
I. Project Analysis
DEP’s SCO prepares a project analysis based on the reports and
recommendations of the affected agencies, the Public Service
Commission and DEP's districts/bureaus. The Project Analysis
- A statement indicating whether the proposed electrical
power plant (and proposed ultimate site capacity) will be in
compliance and consistent with:
- The nonprocedural requirements of the affected
agencies, as based upon the information provided by
- Matters within DEP's standard jurisdiction (e.g., water quality,
air quality, proprietary impacts on state-owned lands, state park
- An overall recommendation whether the project should be
approved or denied. If denial is recommended, the reasons should
be provided and corrective measures suggested.
J. Notice of the Certification Hearing
403.508(2)(b) and subsequently
Notice of the hearing must be published in newspapers and in the
Florida Administrative Weekly no later than 45 days before
the hearing to assure ample opportunity for the public to review the
reports and analysis.
K. Certification Hearing.
403.508 (2) and (3)
A Certification Hearing must be held if the proposed project is
In a case where it appears that no hearing is necessary, a stipulation
(legal agreement) is initiated asserting that there are no disputed issues that
need to be raised at the certification hearing. In order for the hearing to be
cancelled, all parties to the proceeding must agree and sign the stipulation.
DEP or the applicant will then submit this stipulation to the ALJ with a request
that the ALJ release authority over the case.
The ALJ has five days to issue an order approving or denying the
The approval of cancellation must be accomplished in enough
time for a large newspaper notice and a Florida Administrative
Weekly notice to be published regarding the hearing
cancellation at least three days prior to the date originally
scheduled for the hearing. It is hoped that everyone interested
in the case will be apprised of the notice, and not travel to
the previously announced hearing location.
Once the ALJ has cancelled the hearing, the DEP prepares the Recommended
Order that forms the basis for a Final Order of Certification signed by the
Secretary (agency head) of DEP. See further below for details of Recommended
Orders and Final Orders. To assist DEP in preparing the Recommended Order,
the statute allows parties to submit proposed Orders to DEP for
consideration. The Final Order must be issued by the Secretary within 40
days of the cancellation of the Certification Hearing.
L. Administrative Law Judge Recommended Order
If a Certification Hearing has been conducted, the administrative
law judge issues a Recommended Order that contains facts and
conclusions of law about the matters raised at the hearing or in the
application, along with the proposed Conditions of Certification if
certification is recommended. The Recommended Order is submitted to
DEP for presentation to the Siting Board.
M. Siting Board Hearing, Criteria for Certification
The Siting Board hearing is typically a subset of a standard
Governor and Cabinet meeting. To determine whether an
application should be approved or denied, the Siting Board
determines whether or not the electrical power plant and
directly associated facilities and their construction and
- Provide reasonable assurance that operational safeguards
are sufficient for the public welfare and protection.
- Comply with agency requirements.
N. Final Order Effective Date
The signed Final Order is sent to the Clerk of the Siting Board
for official entry.