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Electric generating plants with water-based cooling facilities are required to ensure that the effects of water intake on fish and shellfish are kept to a minimum. Firms often work with regulators to decide the most appropriate cooling technology to use at a given facility.

NERA has evaluated the costs and benefits of fish protection alternatives for cooling technologies on separate occasions at many of PSEG’s generating stations, including the Mercer, Bethlehem, Hudson, and Salem facilities. Technologies considered have included wet, wet/dry hybrid, and dry cooling towers. Total costs and benefits were evaluated within an integrated framework, providing net benefit and cost-benefit estimates for all alternatives. Cost analyses included detailed assessment of the costs associated with construction outages, auxiliary power and heat rate penalties, and capacity derating from various cooling tower options. Benefits include recreational and commercial fishing based on detailed biological models. NERA later assisted PSEG and other utilities in responding to a major review of the regulations by EPA.

The ongoing relationship has helped PSEG to develop fish-protection strategies that are environmentally effective and economically efficient.