COLUMBUS, OH: Yesterday, American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) President and CEO Marc S. Gerken testified before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations about the need to streamline and improve the infrastructure licensing and permitting process.
AMP has a unique perspective on infrastructure development and regulatory processes as it just completed the largest development of new run-of-the-river hydropower generation in the United States today with four new run-of-the-river projects at existing dams on the Ohio River. AMP also is the sponsor of one of the initial projects included in the recently established Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council inventory -- the potential RC Byrd Hydropower Project.
“The siting and permitting processes for any new generating asset are not for the faint of heart,” said Marc Gerken, PE, President/CEO of AMP. “However, the licensing and permitting processes for hydropower are especially arduous and typically take more than a decade.”
Approvals for hydropower developments are required from multiple entities, including federal and state agencies. These agencies require separate, and often duplicative, licensing and permitting processes. This labyrinth of the approval process creates incredible uncertainty for hydropower developments.
“The regulatory process plays a critical role in a project schedule and ultimately can drive whether or not a project comes to fruition. It is imperative that more be accomplished to eliminate overlapping reviews and streamline the process to make it more predictable and economically viable.” said Gerken. “We are supportive of the efforts of U.S. Senator Rob Portman and his colleagues, which resulted in the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council coordination process and project dashboard, and it’s important that the council receive appropriate federal funding and leadership.”
Hydroelectric generation has long provided a number of benefits, including renewable energy, favorable capacity factors, low operation and maintenance costs, and an 80-100 year lifespan. The recent Hydropower Vision Report by the U.S. Department of Energy (report) indicated that the United States has the potential to increase capacity from hydro by nearly 50 percent by 2050.
Mr. Gerken’s written testimony can be viewed here.
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