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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

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Small/Low Impact Hydropower Program

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).