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What Obama's re-election could mean for the hydropower industry

Re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama’s comments in his 2012 State of the Union address about advocating for an "all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy" provide hope for the hydroelectric industry in the U.S. over the next four years.

Obama, who defeated Republican candidate Mitt Romney with a 303-206 advantage in the Electoral College, also said in the this address that he wants to double America's share of power generated by clean energy sources to 80% by 2035 by investing in a number of renewable sectors, including hydro.

The President's re-election is being lauded by the National Hydropower Association, which urges Obama's White House to consider hydroelectric generation in the nation's energy mix.

"With the campaign behind us, it's now time to get back to the business of the nation in Washington, and we look forward to working with President Obama and his administration over the next four years," says NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci. "We must take advantage of the opportunities over the next four years to enact policies that will unlock the nation's incredible hydropower resource. Doing so will afford millions of Americans increased access to clean, affordable electricity and create a million new jobs in the process."

A trio of bills that would help U.S. hydroelectric development are making their way through Congress, and as Church notes, they could potentially be enacted before the new Congress assembles in January.

Included are the Hydropower Improvement Act of 2011, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012, and the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act of 2012.

Each passed the Republican-controlled House during the current congress, and although they now face a Democrat-led Senate, all three have received support from both sides of the aisle.

"The President does not have to wait until his second term," Ciocci says. "These bills have strong bipartisan support and, with leadership, could be brought to the President's desk during the upcoming 'lame duck' session of Congress."

Editor's Note: The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012 did not comeup for a Senate vote before the end of the past legislative session. However, it has been reintroduced as the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 and is currently making its way through the House of Representatives. Read more about it here.


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