U.S. House passes five hydroelectric power bills to Senate, receives two more

House of Representatives

A pair of bills have been introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives that would promote both closed-loop pumped storage and conventional hydroelectric power development.

The legislation includes House Resolution 2872, proposed by Rep. Larry Buschon, R-Ind., and H.R. 2880, from Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va.

Buschon’s bill would amend the Federal Power Act to “promote hydropower development at existing non-powered dams”, while Griffith’s would encourage closed-loop pumped storage — particularly in the coalfields of his home state, Virginia.

H.R. 2880 would, specifically, limit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority to enforce licensing conditions “only as necessary to protect public safety,” or in instances “that are reasonable, economically feasible, and essential to protect fish and wildlife resources.”

Griffith’s office said southwest Virginia would be particularly conducive to such projects and could provide a source for jobs, economic stimulus and energy security.

Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which unanimously approved four other hydro-related bills last week.

All of those bills, plus H.R. 2274, or the Hydropower Permit Extension (HYPE) Act, were passed by the House this week and have been introduced to the Senate.

Meanwhile this week in the Senate, a bill introduced by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., could extend hydropower production incentives provided by Sections 242 and 243 in the Enery Policy Act of 2005.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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