The National Hydropower Association honored Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., on May 11, declaring her Legislator of the Year for fighting to extend expiring production tax credits for hydropower.
The organization honored the senator during the opening plenary session of the NHA Annual Conference, May 11-13 at the Capital Hilton Hotel. (HNN 4/28/09)
Another guest speaker, Thomas Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, said Cantwell ï¿½really believes in hydro.ï¿½
ï¿½She’s smart, energetic, and tenacious,ï¿½ Kuhn said.
Despite her success in pushing to extend production tax credits for incremental hydropower, ocean energy, and other renewables, Cantwell said more work remains to level the playing field for hydro. (HNN 2/24/09)
Hydro gets only half of renewables tax credit
Current production tax credit language grants incremental hydropower projects only half the production tax credit offered to other technologies. Although adjusted for inflation each year, hydro projects receive roughly 1 cent per kWh, compared to 2 cents/kWh for other technologies.
ï¿½I need your help to bring parity to all clean energies,ï¿½ Cantwell told conference delegates. ï¿½Hydropower gets half what other renewables get. There is no credible reason not to give hydro the full credit.ï¿½
Mark Crisson, chief executive of the American Public Power Association, referred to the unequal treatment of hydropower in a subsequent roundtable of utility association executives.
ï¿½Let’s face it, you’re kind of the unwanted stepchild of the renewables industry,ï¿½ Crisson said.
Cantwell pointed to an Electric Power Research Institute study that found, under the most optimistic scenario, 90,000 MW of additional hydropower could be developed in the United States by 2025, without building additional dams. (HNN 4/16/08)
Incentives needed to build pumped storage
Cantwell also said additional pumped-storage hydropower is necessary to a comprehensive national energy plan, supporting proposed expansion of the national transmission system and new intermittent sources of renewable energy such as wind and solar power.
The senator said she expects renewed congressional action on a renewable electricity standard, or renewables portfolio standard, which would require utilities to provide a portion of their electricity from renewable resources. A measure in Senate committee proposes a 20 percent renewables rate by 2021. Legislation in the House proposes 25 percent by 2025. (HNN 2/11/09)
She said she was pleased NHA assembled a strong coalition in favor of including incremental hydropower and ocean energy in a national renewables portfolio.
She added that she would work to ensure that utilities’ existing hydropower is excluded from their base amount of electricity when calculating the amount of renewable energy they must obtain.
A forum on non-federal hydropower development at federal dams was one of more than 20 sessions NHA offered at, or in conjunction with, its conference. Such incremental hydropower has been encouraged by federal incentives including production tax credits. Nevertheless, NHA said such development can be challenging, requiring coordination with multiple federal agencies. (HNN 4/9/09)