1980 Societal Assessment of SPS

land under the flyways of the other 400 species of U.S. migratory birds could seriously deplete the remaining eligible areas. Such exclusion depends on two currently unknown factors: (1) the effect of microwave radiation on these species, and (2) the precise locations and densities of their flyways. Both eligible and ineligible areas were validated, and sensitivity analyses were conducted to better gauge the relationship among exclusion variables and between eligible and ineligible areas. The validation indicated that all excluded areas had been properly excluded. However, of the nominally eligible areas, the validation effort indicated that 47 percent pose potentially costly topographic problems and that 24 percent might be excluded for reasons other than topography. This implies that approximately 15 percent of the U.S. remains eligible after validation. Site specific studies and incorporation of potential exclusions would further reduce the percentage. Sensitivity analyses indicated that reduction of the rectenna area by one-fourth or one-half would provide a very minor net increase (less than 30 percent) in the number of eligible cells. Reduction of rectenna size would, however, ease the problem of site acquisition. Where land sites are unavailable, offshore sites may be an alternative. However, since no preferred design for an offshore rectenna was available, studies consisted only of mapping and analyzing those variables that would be applicable regardless of design. On this basis about half of the relatively narrow West Coast continental shelf is excluded but only about one-fourth of the Gulf and East Coast shelves are manifestly unsuitable for rectenna sites. 2. Prototype Environmental Assessment1 Preliminary studies indicated a need to assess the impacts of rectenna construction and operation at a specific site. Therefore, a prototype environmental assessment was prepared for a site in the California desert about 250 kilometers north of Los Angeles. This site was selected because background data had recently been assembled and analyses performed as part of the Environmental Impact Statement for a geothermal project in the same area. Thus the rectenna environmental assessment required only the hypothetical placement of a rectenna in the area and alteration of the analyses to make the work