President Obama on August 9 signed into law two bills aimed at boosting development of small U.S. hydropower projects. The bills, H.R. 267, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, and H.R. 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, are expected to help unlock some of the estimated 60,000 megawatts of untapped U.S. hydropower capacity.
H.R. 267 promotes the development of small hydropower and conduit projects and aims to shorten regulatory timeframes of certain other low-impact hydropower projects, such as projects that add power generation to the nation’s existing non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects.
H.R. 678 authorizes small hydropower development at existing canals, pipelines, aqueducts, and other manmade waterways owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Such development could provide enough power for 30,000 U.S. homes. See the National Hydropower Association press release .