RAPID/Hydropower/California/Power Plant

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California Hydropower Facilility Licensing, Certification, Safety, & Regulation(7-CA)

In California, a hydropower developer may need to obtain a dam safety Certification of Approval from the California Division of Safety of Dams for projects that will include a dam or reservoir. The developer may also need to obtain a Renewable Portfolio Standard Certification from the California Energy Commission confirming that the hydropower project constitutes an eligible resource of renewable energy.

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Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Certificate of Public Good/Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (Certificate): California does not have a state specific comprehensive facility licensing process for hydropower development.
Small Hydropower Program: California does not currently have a small hydropower program.
Renewable Portfolio Standard Process (RPS): "California requires all electric utilities procure 50% of their retail sales from eligible renewable energy resources by 2030. The California Energy Commission is also required to certify certain electric generation facilities as eligible renewable resources for RPS purposes. Cal. Pub. Res. Code §§ 25740-25751; Cal. Pub. Util. Code §§ 399.11-399.16; Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook, at p.1 California also requires a facility to become RPS certified. A facility must be capable of producing electrical generation that may be used by a retail seller or publicly owned electric utility to satisfy its RPS procurement requirements. To qualify for RPS certification, a facility must use one or more eligible renewable energy resources identified by the California Energy Commission. Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook, at p.5.
RPS Eligible: "California defines renewable resources to include ""small hydroelectric generation of 30 megawatts or less, ...ocean wave,... or tidal current, and any additions or enhancements to the facility using that technology."" ""A small hydroelectric generation facility is not an eligible renewable electrical generation facility if it will cause an adverse impact on instream beneficial uses or cause a change in the volume or timing of streamflow."Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook, at p.14.
RPS Regulatory Agency: Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS)

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