Dec 03, 2015 / Energy/Environment

Hydro: Modern American Energy

“We could double hydropower—and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs—without building a single new dam, simply by updating the technology in our existing infrastructure.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) praised the passage of bipartisan legislation to modernize America’s energy system. H.R. 8 the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act passed the House, 249-174.

H.R. 8 includes important provisions authored by McMorris Rodgers to modernize hydropower licensing, which is another step forward in McMorris Rodgers’ bipartisan effort to advance hydropower.

It can take up to 10 years or longer to license a new hydropower project or relicense an existing facility. In comparison, it takes 18 months, on average, to license a natural gas facility.

“Our changes will establish realistic, enforceable timelines, and prevent expensive and redundant studies,” McMorris Rodgers said. “This is very timely, because in the next 15 years over 500 hydropower plants will need to be reauthorized.”

Hydropower is the largest source of renewable energy in the United States. It is clean, safe, reliable, renewable, and affordable. Studies show we could double hydropower without building a new dam. This legislation will make it easier to add power production capabilities to existing dams.

In 2013, McMorris Rodgers introduced H.R. 267, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, which passed Congress with unanimous support and was one of only 72 bills signed into law by President Obama that year. It facilitates the development of small hydropower and conduit projects, using emerging technologies that improve the capture of energy along irrigation canals, municipal water supply conduits, and other infrastructure.

Click here to watch McMorris Rodgers’ statement during Energy & Commerce Committee markup on September 30.