Federal, state governments
streamline hydropower permitting

June 6, 2014

New policies and incentives make taking a look at hydroelectric projects worthwhile, especially for the agricultural sector.

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has streamlined the conduit exemption permitting process to fewer than 60 days.

  • The Colorado Legislature passed HB 14-030 to mirror the federal permitting process, so that projects obtain both federal and state permitting in under 60 days.

  • The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has indicated it will fund agriculture-based hydro projects, covering up to 65 to 75% of project costs up to $300,000.

The hydropower industry is also seeing technological innovation and lower costs in low-head ditch drop turbines and pressurized pipe turbines.

These factors combine to make hydropower projects easier, quicker and produce a return on investment within acceptable periods of time.  

NRCS is the place to start with a farm or ranch-based hydropower project. NRCS provides the following services for hydro:

  • Free site assessment
  • Feasibility study drafting
  • Application of FERC notice of intent
  • Penstock design (NRCS will not specify turbine hardware or tailrace design)
  • Construction scope
  • Plan view drawings & location map

Contact info

U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
EQIP: Environmental Quality Incentives Program for on-farm energy
Scott Knutson
(970) 945-5494 x103
scot.knutson@co.usda.gov

Colorado Dept of Agriculture
ACRE:
Advancing Colorado’s RE & EE
Sam Anderson
(303) 869-9044
sam.anderson@state.co.us

U.S. Department of Agriculture
REAP: Rural Energy for America Program
Pattie Snidow
(970) 874-5735 x132
pattie.snidow@co.usda.gov

Free energy coaching for Garfield County farmers and ranchers:
Garfield Clean Energy
Matthew Shmigelsky
(970) 704-9200
matt@cleanenergyeconomy.net