NERA Economists Co-Author Report on Benefits Valuation of Site-Specific Entrainment Reduction Technologies under §316(b) of the Clean Water Act

The Situation

Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act requires that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for electric generating facilities with cooling water intake structures (CWIS) ensure that the location, design, construction, and capacity of the structures reflect the best technology available (BTA) for minimizing adverse environmental impacts (33 U.S.C. 1326). The Benefits Valuation Study is one of the studies required in the 2014 §316(b) Rule to assist the Director in the BTA entrainment determination.

NERA's Role

NERA Managing Director David Harrison and Analyst Eli Shakun co-authored a publication entitled “Benefits Valuation of Site-Specific Entrainment Reduction Technologies under §316(b) of the Clean Water Act: Technical Resource Document” on behalf of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  The other co-authors included biological experts who summarized methods that can be used to estimate the biological benefits—primarily gains in commercial and recreational fishing opportunities—of potential technologies for reducing entrainment.

The Result

This report provides information on methods for assigning economic value to the potential biological benefits of reducing entrainment mortality of aquatic organisms, information important in developing a Benefits Valuation Study. The report includes a hypothetical case study to illustrate the benefits valuation process, calculations for specific site conditions, and applications of the methodologies. 

The information in this report is designed for permit applicants, environmental staff, and facility managers seeking to increase their understanding of the benefits valuation process and the calculations involved in developing benefit values for the Benefits Valuation Study. The report is available at no cost to EPRI funding members and is available for purchase for non-members.

The report can be found on the EPRI website