Dec. 10 meeting planned on federal agency coordination for hydropower development

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy will announce in the Nov. 13 Federal Register a Dec. 10 meeting on hydropower development.

The meeting is to obtain individual public input on new ideas developed collaboratively by the Department of Energy (DOE), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) aimed at improving coordination of FERC and USACE regulatory processes regarding non-federal development of hydropower at USACE non-powered dams.

DOE estimates that there is a potential for 12 GW of new hydropower capacity in the U.S. by adding power at non-powered dams. Adding power at USACE non-powered dams requires federal authorizations, potentially including authorizations via: the FERC licensing process; the USACE 408 process; and the USACE regulatory 404 process (impacts to waters of the U.S. pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act). All three of these processes require project proposal identification, information gathering, and environmental and engineering analyses to support licensing, permitting, or agency decisions.

The Dec. 10 meeting will be held at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission offices in Washington, D.C.

Meeting contacts are: Patrick Gilman, Department of Energy, (720) 356-1420, Patrick.Gilman@ee.doe.gov; or Hoyt Battey, Department of Energy, (202) 586-0143, Hoyt.Battey@ee.doe.gov.

DOE, with the assistance of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, convened a collaborative process with FERC and USACE staff to develop ideas on how FERC and USACE permitting efforts can be more efficiently coordinated to decrease overall process time and avoid duplication of efforts. The focus of the public meeting will be for agencies to receive public input, questions, and recommendations for areas of potential improvement in the coordination of FERC and USACE regulatory processes regarding non-federal development of hydropower at USACE non-powered dams and provide a forum to exchange information.

The object of the meeting is not to obtain any group position or consensus; rather, the agencies are seeking as many recommendations as possible from all individuals at this meeting. Draft documents outlining preliminary ideas for improving processes can be viewed at the meeting website: http://hydropower.ornl.gov/npd-public- workshop/.

The meeting is open to the public; project developers, those involved in adding power at non-power dams, environmental non-governmental organizations, tribes, and all interested members of the public are encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is required as space is limited.

Register at http://hydropower.ornl.gov/npd-public-workshop/; or contact Kelsey Rugani at Kearns & West (krugani@kearnswest.com, (415) 391-7900) to RSVP. If you are unable to attend and want to provide written comments, please do so by 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 18. Comments can go to Hydropermitting@ee.doe.gov.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.