Championed by Republicans Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), the act passed 370-0 and now moves to the senate.

The act is expected to help facilitate hydropower development through what are described as ‘commonsense reforms’. These include:

• Making small hydropower and conduit projects (less than 5MW) completely exempt from the regulatory process.

• Giving FERC the option to exempt 5-40MW conduit projects from the permitting process.

• Giving FERC the ability to extend preliminary permits.

• Getting FERC to investigate the feasibility of a two-year licensing process for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed loop pumped storage projects

• Asking the Department of Energy to study the hydropower potential at pumped storage and conduit projects across the country.

• Requesting a report on the memorandum of understanding on hydropower entered into on 24 March 2010.

“I’m so proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to celebrate the passage of this bill,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. “In Eastern Washington, hydropower plays a pivotal role – whether it’s conventional, small, or conduit hydro – it provides 75 percent of electricity to the Pacific Northwest and represents a unique opportunity for job creation and energy production. It’s clean, green, renewable and affordable. The future of American energy independence depends on the development of an ‘all of the above’ energy approach – and I’m proud that hydro is finally on its way to being part of it.”

“For a state like Colorado, and indeed the entire nation, this bipartisan legislation will expand renewable and affordable hydropower – far and away our Nation’s largest source of clean energy – and create good jobs for American families,” added Rep. Diana DeGette.

The national-hydropower-association applauded the House of Representatives for moving so quickly on this legislation. “The industry appreciates the hard work of Reps. McMorris Rodgers and DeGette on this legislation and urges the Senate to take immediate action to deliver supportive hydropower legislation to the President’s desk,” commented Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci.