The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Strategic Plan for Fiscal Year 2018-2022 lists three goals for the agency:
1. Ensure just and reasonable rates, terms, and conditions
2. Promote safe, reliable, and secure infrastructure
3. Mission support through organizational excellence
Hydropower figures heavily in the second goal, primarily in the first objective of that goal: Facilitate benefits to the nation through the review of natural gas and hydropower infrastructure proposals.
As the strategic plan says, “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) is an independent agency that regulates the transmission and wholesale sale of electricity and natural gas in interstate commerce, and regulates the transportation of oil by pipelines in interstate commerce. FERC also reviews proposals to build interstate natural gas pipelines, natural gas storage projects, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, and FERC licenses non-federal hydropower projects.”
Specific to Goal 2, the plan says that interest in developing hydropower projects in the U.S. has increased and that FERC must respond to energy infrastructure applications with “timely and well-reasoned decisions” to meet the demand for energy.
The document recognizes that FERC has “witnessed recent incidents at jurisdictional facilities that have highlighted the safety and environmental impacts that can be associated with hydropower and natural gas infrastructure.” FERC says it will take additional actions to address emerging public and environmental safety issues, with a focus on identifying areas for improvement.
The plan also recognizes new and evolving threats, including physical and cyber security. FERC says it will implement actions such as strengthening its internal expertise and conducting oversight activities to observe the implementation of cyber and physical security at jurisdictional facilities.
In other FERC news, late last month the commission issued an order denying the petition for declaratory order on jurisdiction around the Lake Powell Pipeline Project, which includes a hydro system.