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Federal FERC Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Authorization (7-FD-f)

To qualify as a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, the project must have an installed capacity that does not exceed 5 MW. A qualifying conduit hydropower facility is not required to be licensed or exempted by FERC. 16 USC § 823a(a)(1), see also Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013. However, FERC must give authorization to the developer in order to qualify.

(See FERC Compliance Handbook, section 2.11)


FERC Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Authorization Process

7-FD-f.1 – Notice of Intent to Construct a Qualifying Facility

The developer must provide notice to FERC of their intention to construct a qualifying conduit hydropower facility. The Notice of Intent (NOI) must include sufficient information to demonstrate that the facility meets the qualifying criteria. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(A).

7-FD-f.2 – Make Initial Determination on Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility

FERC must make an initial determination as to whether the facility meets the qualifying criteria no later than 15 days after receipt of the notice of intent. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(B)(i).

FERC will make a determination based on “qualifying criteria.” “Qualifying criteria” means the following:

  • The facility is constructed, operated, or maintained for the generation of electric power and uses for such generation only the hydroelectric potential of a non-federally owned conduit. The term “conduit” means 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 not primarily for the generation of electricity;
  • The facility has an installed capacity that does not exceed 5MW;
  • On or before August 9, 2013, the facility is not licensed under, or exempted from FERC license requirements. 16 USC § 823a(a)(3)(B).

7-FD-f.3 to 7-FD-f.4 – Does FERC Determine that the Facility Meets the Qualifying Criteria?

FERC determines whether the project meets the qualifying criteria. If the project does not meet the qualifying criteria, then the developer must seek either an exemption or license from FERC.

FERC Hydropower Overview:
7-FD-e

7-FD-f.5 – Provide Notice of the NOI to Construct a Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility

If FERC determines that the facility meets the qualifying criteria, then it must provide public notice of the notice of intent to construct a qualifying conduit hydropower facility. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(B)(ii).

7-FD-f.6 – Comment on Notice of Intent

The public may comment on the notice of intent, and FERC’s determination that the facility meets the qualifying criteria for 45 days. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(C).

7-FD-f.7 to 7-FD-f.9 – Has the Initial Determination been Contested?

If an entity contests whether the facility meets the qualifying criteria, then FERC must issue a written determination as to whether the facility meets the necessary criteria. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(C)(i). If no entity contests whether the facility meets the criteria, then the facility is deemed to meet the criteria without a written determination. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(C)(ii). If the project meets the qualifying criteria, then the developer is not required to obtain a license or exemption from FERC to continue with the project.




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