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House subcommittee hears support for bills to promote small hydro


From the March 8, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published March 8, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power heard support at a March 5 hearing for two bills to promote hydro power: H.R. 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, and H.R. 254, the Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation Act.
 
Both bills have bipartisan support, although Democrats at the hearing questioned exemptions to the National Environmental Policy Act contained in H.R. 678. Testifying on behalf of the Irrigation & Electrical Districts Association of Arizona, Robert Lynch called for prompt action on H.R. 678, which would authorize hydro power development at all Bureau of Reclamation conduit facilities and streamline the process for development of small hydro facilities in conduits managed by the bureau.

"Recent improvements and innovations in the development of small hydro power generating turbines have made the idea of installing multiple small turbines in these systems a potentially attractive source of electric energy," Lynch said, adding that one key "to making this happen is to reduce bureaucratic process, and its associated costs."

"There is an enormous amount of energy being wasted every day as water flows through these conduits to their ultimate destinations," Lynch told the subcommittee. H.R. 678 would provide "a clear incentive to begin working aggressively toward using flowing water in these conduits for electrical generation instead of having to let that energy go to waste."

"These bills could increase our nation's hydro-electric capacity by up to 150,000 kilowatts--or the equivalent generating capacity of the four hydro-electric dams on the Klamath River," said subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock, R-Calif. "They do so at no cost to taxpayers--indeed, these projects will produce millions of dollars of new revenue for taxpayers by leasing existing federal facilities."

H.R. 254 would authorize the secretary of the Interior to facilitate the development of hydroelectric power on the Diamond Fork System of the Central Utah Project.

 

 

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