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Smith Introduces Small-Scale Hydropower Act

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The bill is designed to encourage and promote efforts to produce more hydropower from smaller sources.

WASHINGTON, DC- [WorldofRenewables.com]

Today during a Natural Resources Water and Power Subcommittee hearing on hydropower Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced the Small-Scale Hydropower Enhancement Act (H.R. 5922). The bill is designed to encourage and promote efforts to produce more hydropower from smaller sources.

Hydropower is a clean, renewable, non-emitting source of energy which provides low-cost electricity and helps reduce carbon emissions. Hydropower accounts for 67 percent of America’s total renewable electricity generation.

The thousands of miles of irrigation canals, pipes, and ditches in the West provide an opportunity for new hydropower generation. Hydropower produced in man-made water delivery systems does not consume or disrupt water deliveries and has no environmental effect on temperature or aquatic life. In addition, many irrigators are eager to use small projects to generate much-needed revenue to repair aging facilities and reduce electricity costs.

Federal policies imposing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permitting rules, however, have effectively stifled advancements and innovation in the small hydropower field.

“One-size-fits-all federal regulations make small scale hydropower projects throughout the country financially prohibitive by imposing unnecessary and outdated rules. My bill would help stimulate the economy of rural America, empower local irrigation districts to generate revenue, and decrease reliance on fossil fuels – all at no cost to the taxpayer,” Smith said.

Smith’s bill would exempt any conduit-type hydropower project generating less than one and a half megawatt from FERC jurisdiction. The bill also would require the Bureau of Reclamation to examine its facilities for more conduit generation opportunities using existing funding.

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