Senate Passes Key Hydropower Construction Related Bills
Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2018) – The National Hydropower Association today applauded the U.S. Senate passage of a slate of bills related to the construction of hydropower projects. Most notably, the Senate approved S.724, which would improve the preliminary permit process at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and would provide the agency with the authority to extend the deadlines for licensees to commence construction on a project.
“Currently, FERC only has the ability to extend the license for no more than two years, which means if there is a delay a congressional fix is needed for each project. It’s well known that hydropower projects can face a variety of obstacles that push back construction timelines, including delays in post-licensing construction approvals, refinements in final project design, continuing negotiations on power purchase agreements and securing financing,” said Linda Church Ciocci, NHA’s Executive Director. “S.724 would alleviate the need for individual project developers to get these congressionally-approved extensions, which requires projects to expend considerable additional time, money and effort on individual congressional legislation.”
In addition to S.724, the Senate passed the following legislation:
- R. 219, the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project Boundary Correction Act, sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-AK).
- R. 220, a bill to authorize the expansion of the Terror Lake hydroelectric project expansion near Kodiak, Alaska, sponsored by Rep. Young.
- 215, a bill to authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue an order continuing a stay of a hydroelectric license for the Mahoney Lake hydroelectric project in the State of Alaska, sponsored by Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) and cosponsored by Sen. Sullivan (R-AK).
- 490, a bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Gibson Dam, sponsored by Sen. Daines (R-MT) and cosponsored by Sens. Tester (D-MT) and Risch (R-ID).
- R. 951, a bill to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of the W. Kerr Scott hydroelectric project, by Rep. Foxx (R-NC).
- R. 446, a bill to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of the Gathright Dam hydroelectric project, by Rep. Griffith (R-VA).
- R.447, a bill to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of the Flannagan Dam hydroelectric project, by Rep. Griffith (R-VA).
- R. 2122, a bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving Jennings Randolph Dam, sponsored by Rep. McKinley (R-WV) and cosponsored by Rep. Delaney (D-MD).
- R. 2292, a bill to extend a project of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission involving the Cannonsville Dam, sponsored by Rep. Faso (R-NY) and cosponsored by Reps. Adriano (D-NY), Meng (D-NY), Nadler (D-NY), Clarke (D-NY), Engel (D-NY), Tonko (D-NY), Donovan (R-NY), Collins (R-NY and Maloney (D-NY).
Having now cleared Congress, the House bills, once signed into law, will allow these small hydropower projects across the country to move toward construction and operation, adding more renewable, clean energy to our nation’s portfolio. NHA will continue working to ensure the remaining Senate bills also become law.
“NHA applauds the bipartisan support of the House and Senate Energy Committee and the leadership of Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Congressmen Greg Walden (R-OR) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ),” added Church Ciocci. We also hope the action on these bills translates into additional progress on the larger set of licensing improvement provisions still pending before Congress, such as those contained in S. 1460 and H.R. 3043. These provisions would unlock even greater amounts of affordable, clean hydropower capacity for the benefit of families and businesses throughout the country.”