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U.S. House passes pair of small hydropower-related bills

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed a pair of bills yesterday that could have an impact on America's hydroelectric power sector.

The first, House Resolution 2786, is an amendment to the Federal Power Act that would modify Section 30(a) to reduce the time allotted for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission review for qualifying in-conduit plants from 45 days to 30 days.

These projects would have to be built on non-federally owned infrastructure, and have capacities less than 5 MW to be eligible.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Reps. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), passed the House with a 420-2 vote in-favor and is being hailed by industry organizations as a win for hydro.

"We are blessed to have leaders in Congress that understand that expediting small hydro development will lead to development of new, clean energy generation and create new jobs -- particularly in rural areas," Colorado Small Hydro Association President Kurt Johnson said.

COSHA has helped make Colorado a leader in in-conduit development through state policy and partnerships with state organizations.

Passing the House by voice vote was H.R. 2828, introduced by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), which would allow FERC to, upon request, extend the time for the Okanogan County Public Utility District to begin construction of the 9-MW Enloe plant by up to six years.

Enloe, located on Washington's Similkameen River, generated power until it was decommissioned in 1958. Okanogan PUD obtained a FERC license in 1983 in an attempt to revive the plant, but the effort has stalled for various reasons through the ensuing decades.

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