Providing project permitting process information for hydropower developers.

Navigating the complex system of federal and state regulations to secure project approvals can be one of the biggest hurdles hydropower developers face. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydropower Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop (RAPID) Toolkit offers a solution.

The Hydropower RAPID Toolkit makes permitting information easily accessible from one online location. The Hydropower RAPID Toolkit:

  • Features links to permit applications, processes, manuals, and related information
  • Presents information on federal and state permits and regulatory approvals required for the development of hydropower projects
  • Provides best practices to help navigate the regulatory process
  • Helps potentially reduce the permitting timeline by facilitating communication among all project stakeholders—project developers, permitting agency personnel at all jurisdiction levels, and the public
  • Helps potentially lower total project costs and investor risk by clarifying the permitting process, which encourages future hydropower development.

Easy to Use

Using an Open Energy Information (OpenEI) wiki-based platform, the Hydropower RAPID Toolkit begins with a clickable map. Simply select a state from the map to explore federal, state, and local permitting processes and regulations.

The Hydropower RAPID Toolkit also features an overview of federal regulations that apply to all states, as well as documentation for other technologies including solar, geothermal, and transmission. 

States selected for inclusion in the Hydropower RAPID Toolkit are evaluated based on:

  • Resource potential (including non-powered dam potential)
  • The number of active Federal Energy Regulatory Commission preliminary permits and expected relicenses
  • State policies and initiatives already in place to assist in the hydropower regulatory process.

Future state and regional expansion will focus on locations where use of the Hydropower RAPID Toolkit can make the largest impact.

Developed by Experts

The Hydropower RAPID Toolkit is developed by a team of experts from DOE and its national laboratories, led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with input from stakeholders that can benefit from access to a hydropower permitting roadmap and best-practice documentation. These include:

  • Hydropower permitting agencies including those within the Federal Inland Hydropower Working Group and appropriate state agencies
  • Developers
  • Manufacturers
  • Consultants.

This collaborative process encourages federal and state regulatory agencies as well as other industry stakeholders to review and coordinate the permitting process for both small and large conventional hydropower, run-of-river hydropower, in-conduit, and pumped storage projects. 

Learn more with the Hydropower RAPID Toolkit Fact Sheet.

Video Url
Water Power Technologies Office Webinar: 2021 Hydropower RAPID Toolkit Annual Update
U.S. Department of Energy


Access the free Hydropower RAPID Toolkit on:


  • Regulatory Flowchart Library: Regulatory roadmaps outlining requirements for hydropower projects
  • Reference Library: Links to permit applications, processes, manuals, and related information
  • Best Practices: Descriptions, case studies, templates, and how-to information.


  • Offers easily accessible permitting information from one location
  • Clarifies the permitting process, which can help lower total project costs and investor risk
  • Facilitates communication among stakeholders at all levels, which can help reduce permitting time
  • Encourages future hydropower development.