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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

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Small/Low Impact Hydropower Program

Hydropower dam in call-out module On August 9, 2013, President Obama signed into law the "Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013". The act promotes small hydroelectric and conduit hydropower projects, authorizes FERC to extend preliminary permit periods, and promotes hydropower development at nonpowered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects. Read More

Potential small hydropower site at existing mill damUnder the Federal Power Act (FPA), FERC regulates the nation's non-federal hydropower resources. FERC issues three types of development authorizations: conduit exemptions, 10-megawatt (MW) exemptions, and licenses. This website explains how to obtain Commission authorization to construct and operate small/low-impact projects while assuring adequate protection of environmental resources. This program is intended for small projects that would result in minor environmental effects (e.g., projects that involve little change to water flow and use and are unlikely to affect threatened and endangered species).