More Efficient Regulatory Process for Hydro

Today, hydropower developments face a comprehensive regulatory approval process that involves many participants including, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, federal and state resource agencies, local governments, tribes, NGOs and the public. The system strives to promote development while protecting important environmental values. However, it can also contain redundancies and inefficiencies that unnecessarily slow the deployment of clean renewable hydropower and delay much-needed environmental enhancements and benefits. At a time when we need all the renewable, affordable and reliable energy we can get, the United States needs an updated regulatory process that gets projects off the drawing board and puts people to work in a more efficient way.

In the 113th Congress, several improvements to the regulatory process for minimal impact projects such as small conduit and building on existing non-powered dams were enacted.  But additional work needs to be done, to find additional regulatory efficiency and ensure the successful implementation of newly enacted improvements.

  • Hydro 2.0: Secure meaningful improvements to the licensing and regulation of hydropower projects, modernizing the process while preserving environmental standards. The goal of these improvements is to provide accountability, transparency, increase cost-effectiveness, and better the coordination between federal and state agencies involved in the regulation of hydropower projects.
  • WRRDA and hydropower development at Corps of Engineers dams: Ensure the successful implementation of the WRRDA provisions secured in 2014 requiring more consistent and timely approvals of Corps permits.
  • Hydro Bills: Ensure the successful implementation of the 2-year licensing pilot process at FERC as well as the other provisions of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Act and the Bureau of Reclamation Conduit Hydropower Development Equity and Jobs Act.