In an effort to encourage the development of renewable energy sources, Congress passed the Solar, Wind, Waste, and Geothermal Power Production Incentives Act in 1990. The legislation removed all size restrictions on small power generation facilities set by the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) in 1978.
The Act encompassed facilities using solar, wind, waste, or geothermal resources. In 1991, Congress amended the size-restriction section of the Act when it was found that, because of a technicality, only facilities exceeding a power production capacity of 80 megawatts were receiving the regulatory exemptions; after the amendment, the Act included facilities of all sizes.
This Act also amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 by requiring licensing of uranium enrichment facilities. These facilities came under stricter regulation because it was recognized that their activities could pose a significant threat to the quality of the human environment. Because of this new status, Congress required that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before construction or operation of such a facility could begin.
- The Library of Congress. Solar, Wind, Waste, and Geothermal Power Production Incentives Act Amendments.
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Facility Licensing.