A computerized information system on the impact of coal-fired energy development in the Southwest
AuthorLayton, David W.
Power-plants -- Environmental aspects -- Southwest, New.
Information storage and retrieval systems -- Power-plants.
Committee ChairGum, Russell L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAn important part of the process of assessing the environmental impacts of coal-fired energy development in the Southwest is the transfer of information between electric utilities, federal agencies, and the interested public. There are, however, several problems associated with the transfer of information among the different groups. The acquisition of factual material on power projects by the interested public, for example, is adversely affected by the sufficiency, convenience, and credibility of present sources. Efforts of electric utilities and federal agencies to effectively communicate impact information are hindered by the inability of existing sources to selectively transfer information and to rapidly transmit information on the cumulative impacts of many combinations of power plants. This research concerns the development and evaluation of a computerized information system designed to selectively transfer information on both the cumulative and individual impacts of several electric generating facilities located in the southwestern United States. The information system incorporates features of management information systems, environmental information systems, and an issue-oriented system developed at The University of Illinois, making it a hybrid system capable of communicating impact information derived from a variety of sources. Specifically, the system is able to either retrieve textual material stored in a base information file or to execute on-line simulation models and routines in order to describe environmental impacts. Interactions with the information system are performed at a remote computer terminal by an information specialist who, with the assistance of supporting documents, helps users select information of interest. Evaluation of the system was carried out by demonstrating it to prospective users from electric utilities, government agencies, and the interested public in Arizona. The response of the users to the system shows that this type of communications technology is a viable means of transmitting environmental information. The results of the evaluation also indicate that the system's usefulness is more likely to depend on its credibility than on its convenience and that computer models are an effective way of describing cumulative impacts caused by a series of power plants.
Degree NamePh. D.
Degree ProgramHydrology and Water Resources