The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers have signed an updated memorandum of understanding to ensure timely review of non-federal hydropower development applications.
An MOU workshop follows the NHA Annual Conference on Thursday, April 7, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in Federal A/B at the Capital Hilton Hotel. Pre-registration is not required. The workshop is offered at no cost to attendees and is sponsored by HDR|DTA, Kleinschmidt Associates, Van Ness Feldman and the National Hydropower Association.
"The intensified interest in developing renewable energy in this country has made hydropower an increasingly important player in the game," FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said. "Small hydropower development has become a highly desirable option, and today's MOU goes a long way to moving these resources forward."
"This MOU provides a roadmap for identifying issues and resolving them, and integrates our efforts on these important hydropower projects. We look forward to working with the Commission and a new era of cooperation," said Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.
The revised MOU provides for:
• Early involvement of FERC and USACE staff during the pre-filing stage of licensing and the environmental review process so issues are identified early and sufficient information is gathered to inform both agencies' decisions;
• Establishing a schedule between FERC and USACE early in the process so all applicable review and approval activities occur concurrently to avoid unnecessary delays and redundancies;
• Sharing of administrative and technical data as necessary between FERC and USACE; and
• Establishing FERC as the lead federal agency for preparation of the environmental document, with USACE participating as a cooperating agency as needed.
In other news, the U.S. Department of the Interior has released the results of an internal study that shows the department could generate up to one million megawatt hours of electricity annually and create jobs by adding hydropower capacity at 70 of its existing facilities.
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