More Efficient Regulatory Process

NHA Working to Improve the Regulatory Process

Working on behalf of the industry, NHA is actively pursuing regulatory improvements to position the hydropower industry for success. Below you will find our latest regulatory filings and initiatives:

  • NHA filed comments on FERC’s Grid Resiliency and Reliability Pricing NOPR: NHA responded to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s invitation to submit comments on the Department of Energy’s notice of proposed rulemaking  for the Commission to impose rules on certain independent system operators (ISOs) and regional transmission organizations (RTOs) to “ensure that certain reliability and resilience attributes of electric generation resources are fully valued. Click here to view filing
  • FERC Establishes 40-Year Default on Licenses: FERC recently announced a new policy to establish a 40-year default on length of hydropower licenses it issues for projects. The default permit length is up from 30 years. This is a significant improvement over the status quo and increases certainty within a process that too often takes a decade or more. The current license term policy can unduly influence and delay the timing and scope of project improvements and environmental enhancements, and the clean energy benefits they provide to the grid.  We are pleased FERC will also consider a longer licensing term in cases where licensees have already undertaken mitigation improvements and upgrade enhancements. This is simply good public policy that will encourage licensees to consider early action to address matters such as resource issues and recreational improvements, while removing the current disincentive to invest in new or additional protection, mitigation, and enhancement measures until a relicensing concludes.
  • FERC Makes Key Regulatory Recommendations to Licensing Process : After reviewing existing regulations and policies that potentially burden the development of domestically produced energy resources, FERC made the following recommendations to improve hydropower’s licensing process, which are a priority for NHA:
    • ILP No Longer Default : FERC recommended the removal of the Integrated Licensing Process (ILP) as the default licensing process and the requirement that an applicant seek FERC authorization to use either the Traditional Licensing Process or Alternative Licensing Process. Removing the ILP as the default process, if implemented, could save applicants up to 60 days of process time.
    • Pre-Draft License Application: FERC recommended revising its regulations to make the pre-filing draft license application (DLA) or preliminary licensing proposal optional. Making the DLA optional would remove unnecessary process time and expense to the overall project.
    • Qualify or Migrate to an Exemption: FERC recommended revising its exemption regulations by removing the requirement that an existing licensed project must “propose to install/increase the total capacity of a project” in order to qualify or migrate to an exemption, and allowing exemption applicants to more easily convert to a license application. Under the current regulations, if an exemption application is dismissed, the entire process is terminated with no opportunity to convert the exemption application to a license application, forcing an applicant to start over. With hundreds of projects entering relicensing over the next 15 years, and the majority of those having an installed capacity of 10 MWs or less, migrating to an exemption without a capacity increase requirement could be an attractive option for many licensees, and could reduce FERC’s long-term workload.


  • NHA Files Comment to Interior’s Implementation of Executive Oder 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda: NHA provided input to the Department of the Interior as it evaluates existing regulations and policies, and makes recommendations regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification.
  • NHA Files Comments on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the nationwide permit (NWP) program : NHA responded to the Corps Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) related to reissuing the nationwide permit (NWP) program, where we recommended a balanced analysis of both the impacts and benefits of low-head dams, such as how the Corps would balance removal with the potential of adding new renewable hydropower capacity and any associated environmental and public safety enhancements that could accompany a license.