Hydropower Licensing
Ecological Services
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photo of hydropower dam

Hydropower in the United States can generate enough electricity for 28 million households, the equivalent of nearly 500 million barrels of oil - or just over 7 percent of the Nation's electricity needs. Hydro is the Nation's leading renewable energy resource and is free of greenhouse gas emissions. It has long been a dependable source of electricity and serves a vital role in the Nation's energy portfolio. Approximately 54 percent of the hydropower produced in the United States is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC authorizes the initial construction of non-Federal hydropower projects and reconsiders licenses every 30 to 50 years. The remainder is produced by the Federal Government, largely by the Corps of Engineers, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation.

Hydropower is not free of environmental impacts, and while it is an important source of energy, hydropower projects need to include environmentally sound measures that provide for the protection and enhancement of the Nation's natural resources. The Fish and Wildlife Service conserves, protects, and enhances fish and wildlife resources through a variety of programs, including environmental review of Federal and non-Federal hydropower licenses, to incorporate appropriate environmental protection and enhancement measures.

Future Opportunities - Hydropower is a component of a national energy strategy that seeks to rely on clean, efficient, and safe energy sources. To meet this need, hydropower projects designed in an environmentally sound manner will ensure that the Nations natural resources are protected. The Service continues to work with licensees, applicants, FERC, and other agencies in the design and licensing of hydropower projects. The public also has a role in this process. Comprehensive watershed planning in cooperation with State and local agencies and private organizations are essential to the future conservation and development of the Nations rivers and fish and wildlife resources.


Commission Narrows Scope of Protected CEII Information Improves Process

Cushman Hydroelectric Project

The New Wave of Hydropower – Tidal and Ocean Energy

Trial Type Hearing

Communication Protocols

Federal Resource Laws


White House Report/Renewable Energy Production on Federal Lands

FERC - Manual of Standard Special Articles

DOI - Typical License Articles


Decommissioning and Dam Removal

Interagency Task Force

Interagency Task Force Letter to Congress

Joint Statement of Committment for an Improved Hyropower Licensing Process

Interagency Task Force Policy Documents

Federal Power Act

FERC Intervention Questionnaire

Prescriptions and Conditions Summary Sheet


Last updated: April 29, 2013
Fisheries and Habitat Conservation
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