RAPID/Best Practices/Tips for Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Developers
Tips for Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Developers
- A conduit is any tunnel, canal, pipeline, aqueduct, flume, ditch, or similar manmade water conveyance that is operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption, and is not primarily for the generation of electricity;
- The facility generates electric power using only the hydroelectric potential of a non-federally owned conduit;
- The facility has as installed capacity that does not exceed 5 MW; and
- The facility was not licensed or exempted from licensing by FERC on or before August 9, 2013.
FERC GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS AND TOOLS
The FERC website provides users with a number of Web-based tools designed to help developers understand the qualifying conduit hydropower facility process and to complete the process more quickly and efficiently.
FERC’s Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Process
FERC’s Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Process web page outlines FERC’s process for determining whether a hydropower facility meets the criteria required for a qualifying conduit.
How to File a Notice of Intent to Construct a Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility
FERC’s How to File a Notice of Intent to Construct a Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility web page provides a template of the required notice and sample drawings for the developer’s Notice of Intent to Construct a Qualifying Conduit Facility.
FERC’s eFiling web page links to FERC’s eRegister web page where the developer can create a FERC online account and to FERC’s Online Home Page where the developer can access online applications and submit hydropower documents electronically.
STATE GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS AND TOOLS
Some states have developed guidance materials and tools designed to assist users to develop small/low-impact hydropower projects, to navigate the permitting processes and to avoid unnecessary delays and costs.
State Small-Low Impact Hydropower Assistance Program
Small-low impact hydropower projects may be eligible for streamlined federal permitting assistance from the Colorado Energy Office. The Colorado Small-low Impact Hydropower Assistance Program coordinates resource agency reviews and provides a single point of contact for developers in order to help developers complete permitting requirements more quickly and efficiently. To qualify for assistance, the proposed hydropower project must utilize existing infrastructure; present no significant changes to current operation of infrastructure; create no new stream diversions; and present only minimal or easily mitigated effects on water quality, fish passage, threatened or endangered species, and cultural or recreational resources.
Colorado Small Hydropower Handbook
The Colorado Energy Office’s Small Hydropower Handbook provides a resource for developers, utilities, agricultural businesses and other stakeholders that are interested in the development of small hydropower projects in Colorado. For the purposes of this handbook, “small hydropower” is defined as development on existing infrastructure or hydropower with generating capacity of 2 MW or less. This handbook examines the various steps involved in developing a small hydropower project, including site assessment; feasibility assessment; permitting, financing and interconnection; final design and construction; and commissioning and communication.
In Vermont, new hydroelectric projects meeting certain criteria for limited resource impacts may qualify for the Vermont Small Hydropower Assistance Program, which is designed to assist developers with state and federal permitting processes and to provide an expedited review process in accordance with the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.
Vermont's Small Hydropower Assistance Website
Vermont’s Vermont Small Hydropower Assistance Program Website links users to useful resources, forms and instructions.
Vermont Hydropower Facility Licensing Factsheet
The Vermont Agency for Natural Resources’ Hydropower Facility Licensing Factsheet identifies the state and federal agencies likely to be involved in permitting a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, outlines the permitting process and answers frequently asked questions.