An August 20, 2013 story in Energy Collective predicts that the United States will in due course acquire 60 GW in hydroelectric energy, thanks to the recent passage of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency bill and the Small Conduit Hydropower Development bill. Both bills, signed into law by President Obama, will reduce red tape standing in the way of developing new sources of hydroelectric power.
Hydroelectric power, because it is older technology, does not create the same kind of excitement as solar and wind, though it is just as “green” and renewable as those other two sources. Before the passage of the before mentioned bills, government regulations required years to create and add new hydroelectric capability.
“The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency bill modifies existing laws to streamline small hydro projects and add generation to existing dams and closed-loop energy storage through several steps:
“Increasing the small hydro exemption to 10 megawatts (MW), up from 5 MW
“Removing conduit projects under 5 MW from FERC jurisdiction
“Increasing the conduit exemption to 40 MW for all projects
“Giving FERC the ability to extend preliminary permits
“Requiring FERC to explore a 2-year licensing process for non-powered dams and closed-loop pump storage.
“In addition, the Small Conduit Hydropower Development bill authorizes the Interior Department to contract out small hydropower development at Bureau of Reclamation facilities across the US, helping add capacity at government property and irrigation canals.”
Proponents of the bills maintain that their passage will provide private investors the certainty and incentives needed to start investing in hydroelectric power.