Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) issued the following statement after passage of H.R. 267, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act introduced by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The legislation includes regulatory relief similar to Smith's Small Scale Hydropower Enhancement Act:
"The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act would reduce government barriers to more clean, renewable American energy. The bill expands on the idea behind the Small Scale Hydropower Enhancement Act, which I introduced to increase power generation and encourage economic growth in rural America. This commonsense legislation has again passed the House with broad bipartisan support and deserves consideration by the Senate."
Congressman Smith, along with Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), introduced the Small Scale Hydropower Enhancement Act in both the 111th Congress and the 112th Congress, to exempt hydropower projects generating less than one and a half megawatts from the Federal Regulatory Commission's (FERC) permitting rules. FERC regulates the licensing and inspection of private, municipal, and state hydroelectric projects.
H.R. 267 increases the exemption level for conduit-type hydropower projects from 1.5 to 5 megawatts, which would allow, for instance, certain irrigation districts and municipalities to partner with local power districts to generate existing conduit hydropower without going through the lengthy and burdensome FERC permitting and exemption process.
Congressman Smith led this effort after a variety of entrepreneurs revealed the cost of FERC compliance for very small hydropower projects often exceeds the cost of the project itself.