The US national-hydropower-association has urged the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to include hydro power in any renewable energy provision.

In a letter, the NHA asked the Committee to specifically include hydro power in such measures as the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), or adopt incentive payments like those recently included in a hydro licensing reform bill.

Signed by the NHA’s executive director, Linda Church Ciocci, the letter said that hydro holds ‘equal merit’

to other renewables in seeking measures to overcome barriers in competitive markets. Hearings on electric industry restructuring were held in


Democrats are urging that renewable provisions be included in restructuring legislation, but they have only promoted non hydro renewable packages. Republicans, however, have rejected renewable incentive programmes that do not include hydro.

‘If policy makers continue to discount the importance of ensuring hydro power’s ability to compete, the nation will be in serious danger of losing the economic, air quality and

reliability benefits of our

country’s most significant renewable energy resource,’ Church Ciocci concluded in her letter.

In a recent development, NHA applauded a decision by the US Court of Appeals for recognising the failure of the current hydro power licensing process to balance energy objectives with other values, such as environmental protection. A joint statement released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and four federal agencies commits FERC and the departments of commerce, agriculture and interior to specific improvements in the licensing process.

The commitment is the

product of a two-year effort by the Interagency Task Force to improve the hydroelectric licensing processes.

(See article on pp18-19 of this issue).