Hydropower continues to receive strong support in U.S. Congress

Legislation to expand hydro production in the United States sails through House of Representatives

Feb 13, 2013, 14:19 ET from Voith Hydro

YORK, Pa., Feb. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kevin Frank, President and CEO of York, PA-based Voith Hydro, praised the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013, which was passed by the House of Representatives today by a unanimous 422-0 vote.  Sponsored by Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act would boost small hydro and conduit projects in the U.S. and help to reduce the timeline for FERC's licensing process for non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects.  The legislation passed through the House of Representatives last year by a unanimous margin, and it is the first energy legislation considered by the House in 113th Congress.

"Congress continues to show its strong bipartisan support for hydropower with House passage of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, and I applaud Reps. McMorris Rodgers and DeGette for their continued leadership on this legislation," said Voith Hydro US President and CEO Kevin Frank"This bill takes direct aim at two of the biggest goals for the hydropower industry as a whole: streamlining the regulatory process and expanding pumped storage and small hydro across the United States.  By making these small but significant changes, we can create thousands of jobs across the country while expanding our use of clean and renewable energy, one of President Obama's top second term goals.

"Though passing this legislation is an important step, we must complete the process," Frank continued.  "I urge the Senate to act on and the President to sign this legislation to increase the use of hydropower across the United States."

Hydropower also finds itself in a strong position in the Senate, as the Energy and Natural Resources Committee is led by hydropower advocates in Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).  In the last Congress, the Senator Murkowski's Hydropower Improvement Act passed out of the committee.  Both Senator Murkowski and Senator Wyden (D-OR) have cited hydropower as a focus area for the committee in the 113th Congress.  In addition, Senator Murkowski outlines many of the proposals included in the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act in her recently-released energy blueprint, Energy 20/20.

Specifically, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act will:

  • Increase the small hydro exemption to 10 MW (currently at 5MW)
  • Remove conduit projects under 5 MW from FERC jurisdiction and increase the conduit exemption to 40 MW for all projects
  • Provide FERC the ability to extend preliminary permits
  • Require FERC to examine a 2-year licensing process for non-powered dams and closed loop pump storage

In his second inaugural address, President Obama expressed a commitment to expand the United States' use of clean energy, saying "The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But Americans cannot resist this transition. We must lead it."  Expanded use of hydropower can be a key component of increasing our use of sustainable energy sources. In fact, with the right policies in place, the United States can create 1.4 million cumulative jobs by 2025 by maximizing these non-powered dams and existing hydropower infrastructure and developing pumped storage and new marine and hydrokinetic technologies, adding 60,000 MW of clean and renewable electricity to the nation's electric grid.

Voith issued a press release on the legislation when it passed last year.  That release, which included quotes from Reps. McMorris Rodgers and DeGette, can be viewed here.

About the Company

Voith sets standards in the markets energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transportation & automotive. Founded in 1867, Voith employs almost 42,000 people, generates 5.7 billion euro in sales, operates in about 50 countries around the world and is today one of the biggest family-owned companies in Europe.

Voith Hydro is a Group Division of Voith and - with a workforce of over 5,000 employees and a sales volume of more than 1.3 billion euro in the business year 2011/2012 – belongs to the world-wide leading companies for hydro power equipment. In the United States, Voith Hydro is headquartered in York, PA and employs over 500 people.

The Importance of Hydropower

Hydropower is the largest, oldest and most reliable form of renewable energy generation. Worldwide, it makes an indispensable contribution to stable power supplies and hence to economic and social development - both in industrial countries and in emerging markets. Hydropower also makes a significant contribution to climate-protecting energy production. Voith has been a leading supplier of this technology from the early beginning and continuously develops it further. 

CONTACT: Lewis Lowe, +1-202-333-2234, lewisl@strategies360.com

SOURCE Voith Hydro