Federal Energy Regulatory Commission takes action on hydroelectric project license terms

Posted in: Energy, Water


During the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission meeting on Thursday, October 19th, the commission approved increasing the 30-year default license term to a 40-year default license term. This will apply to all license applications received for non-federal projects after this decision is public noticed.

Under the ruling, a license can be issued for a term greater than or less than 40 years under any of the following three conditions:

  1. To coordinate with license expirations within the same river basin
  2. If it is part of a Settlement Agreement
  3. If there are significant voluntary measures and/or investment implemented during the previous license or significant required measures and/or investment during the current license.

For license applications already submitted, where a license has not yet been issued, the licensee can file an addendum to the application to support the issuance of a 40-year default license term.

The commission will not accept applications to extend license terms to a default 40-year term based solely upon the commission’s ruling, changing the default term to 40 years.

This is a significant action on the part of the commission, and it is expected to increase investment in existing and new hydroelectric projects and reduce administrative burdens for those involved.

I look forward to discussing this and any other FERC hydropower licensing concerns you may have.


Shawn Puzen

About the Author

Shawn Puzen is the FERC Compliance and Licensing Manager for Mead & Hunt. He has a unique blend of experience as a utility industry environmental consultant well-respected by the regulatory agencies with a solid record of performance in fulfilling federal, state and local regulatory and resource requirements. He is the former president of the Midwest Hydro Users Group and was on the Steering Committee for the 2016 and 2017 HydroVision International Conference.

Read more posts by Shawn Puzen

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