Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


In the past, energy facilities on the Island of Puerto Rico have not been located in the best practicable sites. This is attributable to the absence of mandatory site selection procedures. This thesis has developed and tested procedures for siting 900 MWe coal fired thermoelectric generation plants. The procedures developed here permit the placement of these facilities within the existing legal regime, with a minimum of adverse ecological and socioeconomic impact. The process has been designed to consider the entire Island of Puerto Rico for the suitability of siting a 900 MWe coal fired facility. This is accomplished through the design and use of a five-phase process. The primary goal of the process was to quickly reduce the total geographic area under siting consideration. This allowed for the identification of a number of "preferred areas" for a 900 MWe project. This provision allowed a majority of the effort and resources, involved in site selection, to be concentrated on those areas most suitable for facility development. This is particularly important in the case of Puerto Rico because the Island does not possess the physical or monetary resources to conduct financial and manpower intensive studies, compared to the continental United States. It is equally important that siting procedures are responsive to the Island's environment. The environmental problems of Puerto Rico are particularly important due to spatial constraints. Due to its small size, the Island's residents perceive environmental change quickly. The lines of cause and effect are small and can be drawn with greater clarity than those for mainland areas. The thesis has successfully designed and tested procedures that in practice will attain these goals. Ideally, the process culminates in the selection of the optimum site(s) for a 900 MWe facility. The procedures have also been designed with a high degree of general applicability. With minor alterations, the process may also benefit other Caribbean Islands in their energy development programs.