Docket No. RM21-9-000
Take notice that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) will convene a Commission staff-led technical conference to discuss whether, and if so, how the Commission should require additional financial assurance mechanisms in the licenses and other authorizations it issues for hydroelectric projects, to ensure that licensees have the capability to carry out license requirements and, particularly, to maintain their projects in safe condition.
The technical conference will be open for the public to attend virtually, and there is no fee for attendance. Supplemental notices will be issued prior to the conference with further details regarding the agenda and how to participate as a panelist.
For more information about this technical conference, please contact HydroFinancialAssurance@ferc.gov
Post-Technical Conference Questions for Comment
1. Protecting Hydroelectric Facilities and Communities with Financial Assurance Requirements
- What project-specific characteristics, such as facility age, condition, reservoir size, dam safety hazard potential, geography, natural resources, and development in the surrounding floodplain should the Commission consider as it evaluates the need for a financial assurance requirement?
- How can financial assurance requirements protect against broader risks, including increased risk from aging infrastructure and regional heat/severe storm stressors from climate change?
- How should the Commission weigh the impacts of the various risks when establishing a financial assurance requirement?
- What are the impacts on communities and how should they be factored into the requirement?
2. Factors for Establishing a Financial Assurance Requirement
- How should certain project characteristics, such as the hazard classification of the dam, the size of the project reservoir, the size of the project (capacity), compliance history, location, or other factors, inform a financial assurance requirement?
- Should the Commission treat projects at government dams where financial assurance may already be required for the use of that facility (e.g., U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation) differently?
- Depending on the risk (i.e., project specific, regional, or global), how could the appropriate amount of financial assurance be determined?
- What methodology should be used to set the required funding levels (e.g., is it a formula based on the hazard level of the dam and the acre-feet of storage or is it based on the amount of generation)?
- What level of funding or assurance should each licensee be required to demonstrate? Should this level be applied broadly or be determined on a case-by-case basis?
3. Mechanisms for Financial Assurance
- Should the Commission require licensees to use a performance or surety bond (or bond bank); irrevocable letter of credit; individual trust, escrow, or remediation fund; or insurance policies or self-insurance?
- What is the availability of the various financing instruments?
- Should licensees be required to file financial records or financing plans? If so, how should the Commission establish financing thresholds or a way to measure or determine if a license’s financials are sufficient?
- Should the Commission require licensees to reaffirm or recertify that they have adequate financial assurance instruments during their license term? Or should the Commission reexamine the financial assurance requirements after a set number of years?
- How should the experience of other federal, state, and industry regulators inform the Commission’s financial assurance requirements?
- Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 (11:30 AM EDT - 4:15 PM EDT)
- The conference will be held virtually.