WASHINGTON, April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As the National Hydropower Association's annual conference continues in Washington, DC, Voith is excited about the future of hydropower and its promise to bring clean energy to homes and businesses across the U.S. The conference takes place on the heels of the renewed Federal Hydropower Agreement / Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to align hydropower priorities between the Department of Interior, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and provides a great opportunity for the industry to encourage regulators and legislators to take the next steps toward a smoother and more efficient federal licensing process for hydropower.
"Though hydropower has seen significant progress at the federal level over the last several years, we know there is more work to be done," said Bob Gallo, Voith Hydro U.S. President and CEO. "Voith looks forward to joining with our industry allies as hydro maps out its agenda for the future. One thing is clear: we all share in the goal of producing more reliable, affordable, clean, and job-producing hydropower."
Last month, the agencies renewed an MOU credited with increasing interest in non-federal development at federal facilities, as well as developing new tools for and research into hydropower. Over the next five years, the MOU will build on its initial progress by focusing on new technologies for hydropower that will make the renewable resource more efficient and environmentally-friendly, and ensuring hydropower is an important part of President Obama's goal to double renewable energy generation by 2020.
Building on landmark legislation passed in 2013 designed to streamline and shorten the licensing process for smaller hydropower facilities, the hydro industry is now focusing on how to improve the regulatory process across the hydropower spectrum. While a significant portion of the estimated 65,000 megawatts of U.S. hydropower potential comes in the form of small hydro and efficiency upgrades, an efficient licensing process is needed across the board.
To that end, one of hydropower's strongest champions in Congress – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) – has released a draft bill that attempts to address many of the issues that have long slowed the growth of the industry. Her bill could be a starting point for a renewed legislative push for additional hydropower regulatory reforms.
A smoother process is important for both new and existing facilities; for instance over the next 10 years, 250 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses for hydropower projects will be up for relicensing, representing over 11,000 MW of installed capacity. Without a better regulatory process, there will continue to be disincentives for expanded deployment of hydropower.
Hydropower's benefits extend beyond energy generation. In addition to supporting the development of other renewables, flood control, recreation, and irrigation, hydropower also creates jobs. By one estimate, hydropower development could lead to 1.4 cumulative million jobs by 2025 – from York, PA to the West Coast.
About the Company
Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, Voith today has more than 39,000 employees, sales of €5.3 billion and locations in more than 50 countries, making it one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe.
The Importance of Hydropower
Hydropower is the largest, oldest and also 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. At the same time, hydropower significantly contributes to climate-protecting energy generation. Voith has been a leading supplier of this technology since the early beginning, and continuously develops it further.
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SOURCE Voith Hydro