The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Sept. 18 sent out a supplemental notice, with an attached agenda, for an Oct. 2 workshop that it will hold on new rules for hydroelectric projects.
The initial workshop notice had been issued on Sept. 3. This workshop will solicit public comments and recommendations on the feasibility of a two-year process for the issuance of a license for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects in compliance with section 6 of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.
The workshop will be held in the commission Meeting Room at 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC. The workshop will be open to the public and all interested parties are invited to participate. Commission members will attend and may participate in the workshop. Anyone with internet access who wants to view this event can do so by navigating to the Calendar of Events at www.ferc.gov and locating this event in the Calendar.
Those interested in attending the workshop or viewing the webcast are encouraged to register by Sept. 25. Those who wish to file written comments may do so by Nov. 1.
Among the questions to be addressed are:
- What, if any, process modifications are needed to account for mandatory conditions and other agency authorizations (e.g. sections 4(e) and 18 of the Federal Power Act, 401 certifications, ESA consultation)? What about fish and wildlife recommendations made under section 10(j) of the FPA?
- Could memorandums of understanding between FERC and federal or state agencies help expedite processing?
- Should there be a single standard two-year process or should developers be allowed to propose unique, project-specific processes?
- Is a two-year process needed for exemptions from licensing or are existing procedures adequate for expedited processing of these projects?
On Aug. 9, President Obama signed into law the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013. Among other things, that legislation:
- exempts certain conduit hydropower facilities from the licensing requirements of the FPA;
- amends Section 405 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to define “small hydroelectric power projects” as having an installed capacity that does not exceed 10,000 kilowatts;
- authorizes the commission to extend the term of preliminary permits once for not more than two additional years beyond the three years previously allowed under Section 5 of the FPA; and
- directs the commission to investigate the feasibility of a two-year licensing process for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pump storage projects.