FERC Aims to Ease the Development of Small Hydropower Projects

May 26, 2010

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took a step toward making its small hydropower licensing program more user-friendly on April 15 by announcing a series of Web-based tools that will help developers understand the FERC licensing process and complete the license application process more quickly and efficiently. FERC took the action in response to an increase in the number of inquiries about small hydropower projects. In 2009, FERC received almost twice as many inquiries about small hydropower issues than in 2008, and the commission has also received more applications for these types of projects in recent years.

The new Web resources, to be available on the FERC Web site in August, will provide a roadmap that walks applicants through the process of selecting a project site, determining if a project is jurisdictional, selecting a FERC licensing process, consulting with stakeholders, and preparing a license or exemption application. New tools are intended to make it easier for a potential applicant to apply for a license or exemption. These tools include fill-in-the-blank applications, as well as tips on how to expedite the application process. FERC also intends to improve its coordination with other agencies, and it will employ a new outreach program to educate potential small hydropower developers. See the FERC press release.