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E&C Republicans Lead to Grow Hydropower Production and Innovation


Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans are leading an effort to expand clean and affordable hydropower around the United States. Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN), and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) are examining potential reforms and how to improve hydropower provisions in the enacted America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA). The members ask in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) what has worked and where improvements can be made, to increase hydropower production and innovation.

LETTER HIGHLIGHT: “Given the strong bipartisan support for AWIA, and the well-established need to modernize the hydropower licensing process, we are concerned that some of the statutory requirements are not working as intended.”


“As you know, there is tremendous opportunity to expand hydropower production. Only about 3 percent of the dams in the United States, approximately 2,000 dams, produce electricity today. A recent report by the Department of Energy (DOE) found that U.S. hydropower production could grow by almost 50 percent from current levels by 2050 from a combination of upgrading existing hydropower facilities, adding generation capacity to existing non-powered dams and canals, and developing new hydropower facilities.”

The members ask FERC several questions on the AWIA and its implementation:

  • Please describe whether or not the amendments to the FPA [Federal Power Act] relating to extending preliminary permit terms and start of construction deadlines for new construction projects have been implemented successfully.
  • On April 18, 2019, FERC issued a final rule establishing an expedited 2-year licensing timeline for certain non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects to meet the requirements of AWIA.
    • Have any applicants successfully completed the expedited licensing process?
    • How did FERC establish the qualifying criteria for the purposes of the expedited licensing process?
    • Has FERC evaluated the success of the program to determine whether it is meeting the objectives established by Congress?
    • Has FERC considered whether the qualifying criteria should be modified? If not, why not?
  • Please describe whether or not the amendments to the FPA relating to conduit hydropower facilities have been implemented successfully.
    • How many conduit facilities have qualified for the exemption since Congress lifted the cap from 5 MW to 40 MW? Please provide a list of those facilities.
  • Please describe whether or not the amendments to the FPA relating to FERC’s licensing terms and promoting project-related investments have been implemented successfully.
    • How many facilities have applied for project-related investment determinations pursuant to AWIA?
    • How many facilities have received a determination that a project-related investment is eligible under AWIA?

CLICK HERE to read the letter to FERC Chairman Richard Glick.

Press Release