Senate Energy subcommittee approves several hydroelectric power-related bills

Capitol Building

The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Energy & Natural Resources approved a number of bills and provisions relevant to the hydroelectric power sector during a hearings and business meeting held today.

Prominent in the discussion was legislation introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, titled A Bill to Amend the Federal Power Act to Modernize Authorizations for Necessary Hydropower Approvals, or, officially, S.724.

The bill would benefit hydro by improving the preliminary permitting process and giving developers longer to begin construction — both of which were measures included in last year’s more comprehensive North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (S.2012).

Also passing the Senate subcommittee via voice vote were 10 bills that would extend the start construction deadline for specific small hydropower projects, including:

  • S.214, a bill to authorize the expansion of an existing hydroelectric project at Terror Lake in Alaska,
  • S.215, a bill to authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue an order continuing a stay of a hydroelectric license for the Mahoney Lake project in Alaska, and for other purposes;
  • S.216, a bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to submit to Congress a report on the efforts of the Bureau of Reclamation to manage its infrastructure assets;
  • S.490, a bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Gibson Dam;
  • S.491, a bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving Clark Canyon Dam;
  • S.710, a bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving Jennings Randolph Dam;
  • S.723, a bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the W. Kerr Scott Dam;
  • S.730, a bill to reinstate and extend the deadlines for commencement of construction of hydroelectric projects involving the Gathright and Flannagan Dams; and 
  • S.734, a bill to a bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Cannonsville Dam

Consideration of the legislation comes just weeks after the subcommittee held an exploratory hearing titled, “Modernizing Energy Infrasctructure: Challenges and Opportunities to Expanding Hydropower Generation“.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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