A comprehensive historical view of the work done on coherent synchrotron radiation (CSR) in storage rings is given in reference . Here we want just to point out that even if the issue of CSR in storage rings was already discussed over 50 years ago, it is only recently that a considerable number of observations have been reported. In fact, intense bursts of coherent synchrotron radiation with a stochastic character were measured in the terahertz frequency range, at several synchrotron light source storage rings [2-8]. It has been shown [8-11], that this bursting emission of CSR is associated with a single bunch instability, usually referred as microbunching instability (MBI), driven by the fields of the synchrotron radiation emitted by the bunch itself. Of remarkably different characteristics was the CSR emission observed at BESSY II in Berlin, when the storage ring was tuned into a special low momentum compaction mode [12, 13]. In fact, the emitted radiation was not the quasi-random bursting observed in the other machines, but a powerful and stable flux of broadband CSR in the terahertz range. This was an important result, because it experimentally demonstrated the concrete possibility of constructing a stable broadband source with extremely high power in the terahertz region. Since the publication of the first successful experiment using the ring as a CSR source , BESSY II has regular scheduled user s shifts dedicated to CSR experiments. At the present time, several other laboratories are investigating the possibility of a CSR mode of operation [15-17] and a design for a new ring optimized for CSR is at an advanced stage . In what follows, we describe a model that first accounts for the BESSY II observations and then indicates that the special case of BESSY II is actually quite general and typical when relativistic electron storage rings are tuned for short bunches. The model provides a scheme for predicting and optimizing the performance of ring-based CSR sources with a stable broadband photon flux in the terahertz region of up to ~; 9 orders of magnitude larger than in existing "conventional" storage rings. Such a scheme is of interest not only for the design of new sources but also for the evaluation and optimization of the CSR performance in existing electron storage rings. The presented results are mainly based on reference .