FERC sees biggest hydro filings in a decade, exceeding 10,000 MW

With a background of federal and state incentives, advancement of new kinetic technologies, and higher oil prices, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has logged applications for more than 10,000 MW of new hydropower.

�In total, over 10,000 MW of new hydropower is currently before the commission,� Kim Nguyen of FERC’s Office of Energy Projects said. �We have not seen this level of interest in more than a decade.�

Nguyen outlined the applications for FERC commissioners in an April 17 presentation on Grant County Public Utility District’s 1,893-MW Priest Rapids project. (HNN 4/21/08)

�Potentially due to tax credits, state renewable portfolio standards, and the high cost of oil, we are seeing a trend of increasing numbers of applications and requests for pre-filing consultation for new hydropower development,� Nguyen said. �A substantial amount of this new capacity would be from pumped-storage projects.�

Applications pending before FERC at the time of the presentation included filings that would increase hydropower capacity for conventional projects by 430 MW and for pumped-storage projects by 900 MW, Nguyen said.

Original projects in the pre-filing stage at that same time could add 448 MW from conventional hydro and 2,783 MW from pumped storage. In addition, more than 6,000 MW of capacity is being proposed from hydrokinetic projects.

Additional applications have been filed with FERC since the presentation, and more original projects have entered the pre-filing stage at FERC, which already regulates hydropower projects totaling about 54,000 MW.

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