Washington–Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.) today introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill to support and help develop hydropower on non-powered dams.
“There are more than 200 dams in the United States that could be retrofitted to provide hydropower but the approval process is far too cumbersome,” Feinstein said. “Our bill will streamline the application process to convert these dams, creating good paying jobs and providing enough clean energy for more than 2 million homes.”
“Energy security is national security, and in Montana, we know how important it is to grow clean, renewable hydropower,” Daines said. “Increasing power at Montana’s existing dams will strengthen our grid, provide reliable sources of energy for Montana families, and support Montana energy jobs.”
“Hydropower represents one of our nation’s most promising, yet untapped renewable energy resources,” Rep. Kuster said. “Dam owners and developers in New Hampshire and across the country are ready and willing to transform our nation’s water infrastructure to jump-start hydropower energy production. But, this progress is being stifled by a lengthy and inconsistent permitting review process. That’s why I am proud to support this bill to ensure that permits for hydropower dams receive a transparent and timely review so clean energy projects can get online and begin powering our nation’s grid.”
Statements of support:
“Adding hydropower generation to existing non-powered Army Corps dams has the potential to power more than 2 million homes with clean, renewable energy. Despite this immense potential, red tape and inconsistencies within the permitting process poses a major barrier to getting these projects over the finish line. Developing non-powered dams at federally-owned facilities will play a role in decarbonizing our nation’s grid, and this legislation will give hydropower developers the certainty they need to finance and construct these facilities. I commend Senator Daines, Senator Feinstein and Representative Kuster for their bipartisan leadership and for recognizing the critical need for hydropower.” – Malcolm Woolf, CEO and President of the National Hydropower Association
“America holds the technical potential to expand the size of our hydropower fleet by 50%, but we must first improve our permitting process. The U.S Army Corps of Engineers is the largest owner of hydropower in the country, accounting for about 25 percent of the hydropower in America, and this bill makes permitting at their facilities more manageable so we can move towards increasing capacity.” – Rich Powell, ClearPath Action CEO
“New, clean electricity is needed in every corner of the country right now, and even more will be needed in the near future. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns the dams that present the best opportunities to add new hydropower, enhancing infrastructure that is already paid for. Efficient, consistent, and coordinated development will speed the path to bringing reliable, round-the-clock clean energy – and economic development opportunities that rely on clean electricity – to river communities throughout the nation.” – Paul Jacob, CEO of Rye Development
The bill will help the Army Corps of Engineers expedite the retrofitting of existing non-power dams for clean, renewable hydropower. It will also encourage the Army Corps of Engineers to increase power at existing hydropower dams.
The bill text is available here.