Our Clean Energy Future

Hydropower plays a critical role in America’s clean energy future.

However, compared to emissions-generating sources of energy, it takes considerably longer to license a new or existing hydropower plant. Why? Hydropower is handicapped by an outdated licensing process, which lacks coordination between federal and state agencies, resulting in duplicative reviews, conflicting priorities, and deferred decision-making that delays real environmental improvements. These roadblocks are pushing the licensing process for some plants to nearly a decade.

Under normal circumstances, the current process takes approximately 5 years to complete – including the pre-license activity and licensing filing period. If a license is not issued at the conclusion of the filing period the license term expires.

Today, for new hydropower plants awaiting regulatory approval, nearly 50 percent are past the license process deadline. And of the dozens of relicensing applications that are currently awaiting regulatory approval, nearly 40 percent of project relicensings have been delayed at least 5 years past the license expiration date.

On top of that, nearly 20 percent have been delayed at least 8 years past the license expiration date.

Now consider the fact that on average it takes 18-24 months to license a Natural Gas Combined Cycle Plant. 10 years compared to 24 months. 

As the nation’s largest producer of renewable energy, we need an improved process that protects the nation’s existing valuable hydro resources, while ensuring new development isn’t delayed by unnecessary red tape.

Take Action

The licensing process can be modernized in a way that protects and preserves natural resources and environmental values. Contact your congressman and tell them to support legislation to #UnlockHydro.