Government & Policy

The latest government and policy news, including government actions, agency approvals, resolutions introduced and bills passed.

Regulation & Policy-112_2551727
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Latest Government & Policy News

Commissioner Moeller to leave FERC at end of October


Commissioner Philip D. Moeller announced Oct. 6 in intends to leave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the end of October.

Moeller, of Washington, confirmed in May he would not seek a third term on the commission. While his term expired in June, the Republican is allowed to remain in the seat until the Senate recesses in December.

Although Moeller said in May that he would serve until a successor is confirmed, President Obama has not named a candidate to succeed him. Published reports had said Pat McCormick III, the chief Republican counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was a top candidate for the post. However, a recent report indicated McCormick might not be interested in the job.

"FERC is an amazing agency and I have been honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to serve our nation as a FERC commissioner," Moeller said. "After leaving the commission, I plan to pursue other opportunities in the energy field."

Moeller was named to the commission by President George W. Bush in 2006 and was renominated by President Obama in 2010. Prior to joining the commission, Moeller worked in Washington, D.C., for Alliant Energy Corp. and Calpine Corp. From 1997-2000, he was energy policy adviser to Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash.

Moeller testified before a House subcommittee in 2013, telling lawmakers that hydropower licensing might be accelerated if Congress could compel state and federal resource agencies to meet deadlines in the licensing process.

Moeller's departure is the latest in a series of changes at the five-member regulatory agency.

Commissioner Norman C. Bay became FERC chairman April 15 under terms of a compromise that had ensured Senate confirmation of his nomination to the commission last year. Bay, a Democrat, succeeded Chairman Cheryl LaFleur, also a Democrat, who stepped down from the leadership post but retains her commission seat under Bay's leadership.

Last December, the Senate confirmed Obama's nomination of Arkansas utility regulator Colette Honorable, a Democrat, to fill the remainder of the term of Commissioner John Norris who announced his resignation in August. Honorable is to serve until June 2017.

The sole remaining Republican on the panel is Anthony Clark, whose term expires in 2016.

No more than three members of the same party may serve on the five-member commission.

Hydroelectric power, other renewables emphasized at G20 summit


A meeting of Group of Twenty energy ministers in Istanbul earlier this month affirmed a collective belief in renewable energy -- including hydroelectric power -- amongst the major economies that constitute the international forum.

Pakistan's 1,300-MW Tarbela 5th Extension hydropower project receives next-to-last approval


Pakistan's 1,300-MW Tarbela Dam 5th Extension hydropower project received consent from the government's Central Development Working Party earlier this week, leaving approval by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council as its final hurdle.

Rousseff: Brazil committed to hydroelectric power


Responding to a preliminary 10-year energy plan released recently by the Brazilian government, President Dilma Rousseff said her country will continue to rely on hydroelectric power, despite the plan's emphasis on other renewable sources.

Ibama denies building permit for Brazil's 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydropower plant


Brazil's Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources (Ibama), has denied an operating license for the controversial 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydropower project, saying its developers had not yet met conditions required for approval.

Brazil reschedules upcoming hydroelectric power auction


A Brazilian energy auction that includes about 6 GW of cumulative hydroelectric power capacity has been postponed to November 6, according to the country's Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Brazilian government announces terms of upcoming hydroelectric power auction


Signature bonuses signed by power generators in an upcoming hydroelectric power auction will net the Brazilian government about US$4 billion, according to terms of a resolution published this week in Brazil's official gazette.

Manitoba-Minnesota transmission line

Manitoba Hydro announces final route for transmission line to Minnesota


Manitoba Hydro has announced the final preferred route for its Manitoba Minnesota Transmission Project.

Peru opens renewable energy auction including small hydropower


Peru's supervising agency for investment in energy and mining has opened an auction for electricity produced from renewable energy sources including small hydropower.

Colorado joins list of states opposed to EPA's Clean Power Plan


The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan continues to stir controversy weeks after its recent unveiling, with Colorado announcing it will join the growing list of states threatening suit against the EPA to stop the proposal.

HZ Windpower receives approval of its MHK study


Chongqing Haizhuang Windpower Equipment Co. Ltd. (HZ Windpower), based in China, has received approval from the Ministry of Science and Technology of Chongqing Municipality for its study on key technology and model testing for marine hydrokinetic (MHK) power. 

Proposed changes to U.K.'s FiT program met with backlash from small hydro sector


Changes to the United Kingdom's Feed-In Tariff program could have a negative impact on a number of generation sectors -- including small hydroelectric power -- according to a number of industry groups.

Guyana nixes plans for 165-MW Amaila Falls hydropower project


The Guyana government has abandoned plans to develop the 165-MW Amaila Falls hydroelectric plant, citing numerous delays and potential cost overruns.

Brazil rebounding from drought


A 20% increase in Brazil's hydroelectric power reservoirs in July has allowed the country's government to shut down 21 backup thermoelectric plants.

16 states join to oppose EPA's Clean Power Plan


A letter signed by 16 states opposes the Environmental Protection Agency's recently unveiled Clean Power Plan, requesting an "immediate stay" on a program the opposition says "unlawfully exploits Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act."

Africa agency seeks strategic plan, law review, hydromet system upgrade for Zambezi River Basin project


The eight-nation Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) invites expressions of interest from consultants to develop a strategic plan, harmonize national water laws and upgrade the hydro-meteorological system for the Zambezi River Basin Management Project in southern Africa.

Obama, EPA release revised Clean Power Plan


President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency have unveiled a sweeping, controversial program to reduce the United States' carbon emissions by more than 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.

Canada releases energy strategy

Premiers release Canadian Energy Strategy, hydro’s contribution recognized


Canada’s Premiers have released the Canadian Energy Strategy, and hydro is recognized for its significant contribution to electricity generation in the country.

Supreme Court ruling allows work to resume on Panama's 29-MW Barro Blanco hydropower project


Panama's Supreme Court overruled a temporary suspension of hydroelectric projects in the country's Chiriqui River Basin earlier this week, allowing development of the 29-MW Barro Blanco plant to resume.

Hydroelectric power represented well in new bipartisan Senate bill


Bipartisan energy legislation submitted to the U.S. Senate yesterday includes an extensive section that explicitly defines hydroelectric power as a renewable, while also improving on existing hydropower regulation.