On August 24, Chairman Jon Wellinghoff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State of Colorado to establish a pilot program to facilitate the development of small-scale hydropower projects in Colorado.
This MOU was crafted in the wake of growing interest in the development of small, low-impact hydropower projects in Colorado. Earlier, the federal government conducted surveys to identify hundreds of potential hydropower projects (less than 5MW per project) in Colorado with a combined capacity of more than 1400 MW.
Under the MOU, Colorado and FERC have agreed to take the following steps:
(1) Colorado will develop a pilot program to test options for simplifying and streamlining procedures for authorizing conduit exemptions and small 5MW or less exemption projects while ensuring environmental safeguards;
(2) Colorado and FERC will identify a single point of contact for implementation of the pilot program;
(3) Both parties will hold quarterly teleconferences to discuss the development and implementation of the pilot program;
(4) Both parties will share and make publicly available all relevant economic, environmental, and technical data.
(5) FERC will waive certain consultation requirements when all relevant resources agencies agree to do so.
FERC's MOU with Colorado is the most recent of a number of FERC MOUs with other states to encourage and facilitate the development of hydrokinetic projects. The other MOUs are as follows:
FERC and California (wave and tidal projects): May 18, 2010
FERC and Maine (tidal energy projects): August 18, 2009
FERC and Washington (experimental hydrokinetic projects): June 4, 2009
FERC and Oregon (wave energy projects): March 26, 2008