U.S. Congress to consider streamlining dam relicensing


  • Randy Showstack


Between the years 2000 and 2010, 220 nonfederal hydropower projects in the United States are due for relicensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a government agency. These projects, with a combined capacity of 22 gigawatts, or 20% of the U.S.-installed hydropower capacity, are among the 1600 hydropower projects at over 2000 dams that FERC regulates under the Federal Power Act.

Some backers of hydropower say the relicensing process, by which dams can obtain renewed, 30- to 50-year licenses, is too cumbersome, and they favor new legislation to streamline and speed up the process.