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
U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
EQIP: Environmental Quality Incentives Program for on-farm energy
(970) 945-5494 x103
Colorado Dept of Agriculture
Advancing Colorado’s RE & EE
U.S. Department of Agriculture
REAP: Rural Energy for America Program
(970) 874-5735 x132
Free energy coaching for Garfield County farmers and ranchers:
Garfield Clean Energy