A Clean and Renewable Electricity Standard

NHA supports passage of a strong, national Clean and Renewable Electricity Standard that recognizes the important benefits of the nation’s leading renewable, hydropower. A Clean and Renewable Electricity Standard would ask America’s electrical utilities to generate a certain percentage of their electricity from hydropower and other sources of renewable electricity.

Policymakers have long included hydropower in state-level programs because they recognize that growing our hydropower resources helps keep electricity reliable and affordable. A federal policy can multiply those benefits dramatically, potentially supporting over 1.4 million cumulative jobs in the hydropower sector alone.

Just like hydropower, a renewable electricity standard has a long history of bipartisan backing. In the 111th Congress (2009-2010), multiple proposals were introduced that included support for hydropower resources. NHA supported proposals which, at a minimum, did the following:

  • Provided recognition of the clean air benefits of existing hydropower projects by backing generation from these projects out of the retailer’s base amount of electricity sales to which the RES applies.
  • Recognized as qualifying renewable resources: incremental hydropower (additions of capacity or increases in efficiency at existing hydro facilities); converting existing non-powered dams to generation resources; and marine and hydrokinetic technologies.

In the 112th Congress (2011-2012), discussions turned to a clean energy standard with a proposal by Senator Bingaman, S.2146. That bill’s approach represented a greater recognition of the value and role of hydropower resources than past renewable energy standard (RES) proposals that focused on the eligibility of specific technologies as opposed to carbon intensity.

NHA supports a more inclusive approach in the treatment of hydropower under such renewable energy or clean energy programs and encourages continued dialogue on how the benefits of hydropower can be better recognized and valued under such policies.