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May 04, 2017

King Introduces Bipartisan Bills to Promote Hydropower

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced today that he has introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation that would help identify and eliminate bureaucratic hurdles standing in the way of Maine’s ability to more effectively utilize hydro as a source of energy.

The Exemptions for Small Dams Act would allow for certain dams to qualify for expedited license exemptions, thereby helping ensure that dams – like many in Maine that produce home-grown, clean power – can apply for exemptions from the FERC regulatory process, which is often mired in red tape and cost prohibitive to small dam owners.

The Dam Storage Information Act would require the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC), an independent government agency charged with licensing dams, to provide a report to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee outlining the regulatory barriers facing dams that control the water supply to downstream or downriver power-producing dams.

Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power, is an original cosponsor of both bills.

            “In Maine, nearly a quarter of the total power we produce is hydropower – a renewable, clean, and homegrown form of energy,” Senator King said. “But misguided regulations from Washington threaten to stifle that productivity and jeopardize a vital clean power source. These bills will help identify burdens standing in the way of hydropower’s success and also help dam owners cut through an overly-complicated regulatory process, all without diminishing environmental standards.”

“The Exemptions for Small Dams Act helps to recognize the value and reliability that small-scale, dispatchable hydropower provides to the electric grid,” said Nicolas Bosse, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Brookfield Renewable North America. “If enacted, it will support the long-term operation of these baseload carbon-free resources, preserving jobs and tax revenues in local communities.”

Hydropower comprises almost 25 percent of Maine’s net energy generation, which is more hydropower per capita than any other state east of the Mississippi other than Vermont.

To read the text of the Exemptions for Small Dams Act, click HERE. To read the text of the Dam Storage Information Act, click HERE.


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