Federal Hydropower Agreement a Positive Sign for America's Largest Source of Renewable Energy

published: 2015-03-31 15:33 | editor: | category: News

The Departments of Interior and Energy, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works division, have extended their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Hydropower for an additional five years. Originally signed in 2010, the MOU seeks to meet the need for affordable and reliable energy by furthering the agencies' commitment to hydropower, strengthening their partnership, and aligning their priorities. The MOU's extension aligns with the Obama Administration's previously-stated goal of doubling renewably energy generation by 2020, in part by improving the federal permitting process.

"This agreement among three key federal agencies is great news for the federal hydropower system, and even greater news for the millions of American homes and businesses that rely on clean, affordable, and reliable hydropower," said Voith Hydro U.S. President and CEO Bob Gallo. "In the MOU's first five years, the agencies have already made significant progress in laying the groundwork for expanded hydropower production, with tangible results to show for their efforts. Voith is pleased to support efforts to strengthen the backbone of American hydropower, and believe the agencies' continued collaboration will create jobs and economic growth throughout the U.S."

Phase II of the MOU will focus on several key areas:

  • Improving the accuracy and reducing costs of water flow measurement technology.
  • Reducing the size and weight of generators for new hydropower projects, potentially leading to reduced costs and increased generator output for existing facilities.
  • Developing low-impact, low-cost hydropower technologies suitable for demonstration and deployment at non-powered dams and conduits, potentially providing power for 1.5 million homes.
  • Enhancing the environmental performance of hydropower turbines for responsible deployment.
  • Assessing the risks to U.S. hydropower generation and water infrastructure posed by climate change.

Since the last MOU was signed, non-federal development at Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps facilities has increased, with over 70 additional projects in some stage of development. To achieve its intended purpose, the original MOU led to number studies and assessments to improve the database for all existing hydropower resources; new tools for optimizing and upgrading hydropower facility operations; research into environmentally-friendly technologies and complementary uses for hydropower; and improving the licensing process for private hydropower generation at federal facilities.

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