In this paper, I discuss how we on the Commission staff use economic principles to evaluate relicense proposals and how we use the results of our economic and environmental studies to choose the option that we think gives the greatest benefit to the public. I'll describe the two kinds of project changes applicants often propose--environmental enhancements and power improvements. And I'll talk about how we decide among the applicants' proposals and alternative proposals that we, the agencies, and the interveners make: the baseline we use to compare them, how many alternatives we consider, and the three methods we use. After this, I'll give you two examples of choosing among relicense proposals: this way, you'll see how we apply the method we use the most and what difficulties we face in making these choice. This paper is and outline instead of a detailed manual. It's intended both for us and for those of you outside the Commission. When we evaluate relicense applications, this paper will help us organize our studies. If you are involved in relicensing outside the Commission, I think this paper will help you in two ways: you'll understand better how we look at relicense proposals and you'll be able to make a better case for the proposal you think gives the greatest benefit to the public.
By the close of the December 31, 1991, deadline, the licensees of 158 hydroelectric plants, totaling roughly 2,000 megawatts of installed capacity, had filed applications for relicense with the Commission. Though we on the Commission staff will now need to consider many aspects of each proposal, the most controversial aspect we'll face is how to choose among competing uses of each waterway. In this paper, I'll present both the theories that guide how we select among applicants' proposals and alternative proposals and the methods we use to make these choices. After discussing the theory and methods, I'll give examples from two recent environmental assessments to show how we choose the license option that we think gives the greatest benefit to the public. This way, you'll see how we apply these methods, what aspects are important, and what difficulties we face in making these choices.
This handbook is designed to help determine economic valuations for changes in fish and wildlife habitat dude to government activities or decisions. Valuing these resources requires recognition that traditional economic valuation techniques (market prices) are not adequate. A researcher needs to use additional techniques to identify and quantify values that contribute to the well-being of our society. Economists believe that these values need to be represented in economic terms when managerial decisions are made. Many government agencies have supported the efforts to value nonmarket goods in recent years. These agencies have issued reports which follow the development of nonmarket valuations in economic theory. Currently, the "Principle and Guidelines"" provide guidance for determining economic values and recognizes "the willingness to pay" principle which underlies the nonmarket valuation technique. Economists determine economic efficiency through measurement of net willingness to pay and producer profit. These values represent the "net" value to consumers and producers, above the transaction costs. Efficiency is increased if the sum of these values is increased. Efficiency is maximized under purely competitive markets. Unfortunately, many goods are not provided in purely competitive market, leading to inefficient allocations of goods in our society. Public goods are one area of inefficient allocations. Certain resources provide public goods to society. Under a "market only" analysis, these goods typically would not be available, as there are no prices representing their value to society. Therefore, other techniques are necessary to measure their nonmarket values. Total value for nonmarket goods can be divided into use and nonuse values. Techniques for estimating use values include the contingent valuation method, the travel cost method, and unit day value method. This hand book also discusses other techniques sometimes used and suggests why these are less preferred. Also, a benefit transfer technique was discussed. This technique applies results from other studies to provide estimates of value when a more thorough technique is not feasible. This handbook also shows estimates of values found using the techniques discussed.