California expands eligibility for small hydropower feed-in tariffs

A bill signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown last week expands the state’s existing feed-in tariff law to increase the eligibility of more small hydropower projects.

The legislation, officially Assembly Bill 1979, will allow conduit hydroelectric plants of up to 4 MW in capacity to participate in the state’s renewable feed-in tariff program, assuming the facility delivers no more than 3 MW to the grid at any time. The bill also stipulates that eligible plants must have been in service by Jan. 1, 1990, and that they comply with other interconnection and payment requirements.

California’s previous laws limited tariff-eligible facilities to 3 MW cumulative capacity.

A.B. 1979 was filed by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, who said his intent was to help smaller utilities with previously non-qualifying hydro plants to provide more affordable service for ratepayers via tariff subsidies.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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