McMorris Rodgers leads proposal on maximizing nation’s hydropower resources

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) on Monday introduced a measure that would modernize America’s hydropower licensing process and promote next-generation hydropower projects.

“Hydropower is one of America’s top renewable energy sources and accounts for roughly 70 percent of our clean energy in Washington state,” Rep. McMorris Rodgers said. “Building a clean energy future doesn’t happen without prioritizing the continued development of hydroelectric energy resources.”

Rep. McMorris Rodgers sponsored the Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act, H.R. 7410, with original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), which would deem hydropower a renewable resource needed for all federal programs and an essential source of energy in the United States, according to the text of the bill.

“The United States should protect existing hydropower resources and increase substantially the capacity and generation of clean, renewable hydropower resources to address a changing climate and improve environmental quality in the United States,” according to the bill’s text.

If enacted, H.R. 7410 would update federal renewable purchase requirements to include hydropower; designate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency for all federal authorizations and reviews; provide special licensing terms for small hydropower projects; and would encourage “proper compensation” for all services that hydropower provides to the electric grid, including grid reliability and the integration of renewables, among other provisions.

“The way we solve the climate crisis is through free-market technological innovation, and in addition to expanding hydropower resources, this legislation supports the development of next-generation hydro technology that can increase clean energy production and further decrease environmental impact,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers.

ClearPath Action, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, the American Conservation Coalition, the National Hydropower Association, the Chelan County (Wash.) Public Utility District, and the Grant County (Wash.) Public Utility District endorsed the measure.