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National Hydropower Association calls for action on hydro development

Members of the National Hydropower Association are asking Congress to pursue policies to serve the country's energy, economic and environmental priorities. More than two dozen companies from around the United States signed a letter calling for immediate congressional action on policies to expand the deployment of hydropower resources.

"Untapped hydropower generation, primarily from existing facilities and new pumped storage opportunities, has the potential to create 1.4 million American jobs and support the doubling of U.S. renewable energy resources,” said NHA President Andrew Munro. “This year has marked many opportunities for the hydropower industry, from the adoption of a federal memorandum of understanding on increasing hydropower development at federal facilities to the recent introduction of the bipartisan Hydropower Improvement Act of 2010. Development of sustainable hydropower resources must be a priority in energy legislation."

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, recently introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at increasing the production of electricity from renewable hydropower and creating jobs in America’s energy sector. The "Hydropower Improvement Act" and the "Hydropower Renewable Energy Development Act" would boost federal support for hydropower projects.

In March, the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of the Interior and Army Corps of Engineers signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the development of hydropower.

Included in the MOU are the goals of identifying future sustainable hydropower generation sites, upgrading existing hydro projects and promoting new hydropower technologies while increasing cooperation among agencies. The MOU also calls for an increased emphasis on environmentally-friendly hydropower production practices.

An NHA study released this year suggests that hydropower has the potential to add 60,000 megawatts of capacity in the next 15 years, with an industry goal to double hydro capacity. Hydropower could help create 1.4 million U.S. jobs, the study indicates.

"When you look at those statistics, especially the potential for job creation and local economic opportunities, you realize what an engine for growth hydropower can be," said NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci. "However, policy matters and the hydropower industry is calling on Congress to extend and expand hydropower incentives, adopt clean energy policies that recognize hydropower's contributions, speed job creation benefits through better coordinated development processes for minimal impact projects and increase federal funding for waterpower R&D.”

A copy of the letter NHA sent to Congress is available at www.hydro.org.

For more hydropower news and information, click here

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