FERC has seen rising interest in the development of small, low-impact hydropower projects, and federal surveys have identified several hundred potential small hydropower projects of smaller than 5MW in Colorado with a combined capacity of more than 1400 MW.

Under the MOU, 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. A single point of contact will also be identified for implementation of the pilot program, with both FERC and Colorado to hold quarterly teleconferences to discuss the development and implementation of the pilot program. Both parties will also share and make publicly available all relevant economic, environmental, and technical data.

FERC has signed MOUs with four other states recently on the development of hydrokinetic projects: California, Washington, Maine, and Oregon. Related to today’s announcement, the Commission soon will unveil a new web page devoted to small hydropower licensing at www.ferc.gov.

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