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FERC Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Authorization (7-FD-f)

Information current as of 2019

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may authorize certain projects as a qualifying conduit hydropower facility. A qualifying conduit hydropower facility is not required to be licensed or exempted by the FERC. 16 USC § 823a(a)(1), see also Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 and America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. A qualifying conduit hydropower facility is:

  • A facility that generates electric power using only the hydroelectric potential of a non-federally owned conduit. A conduit is defined as any tunnel, canal, pipeline, aqueduct, flume, ditch, or similar manmade conveyance that is operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption, and is not primarily for the generation of electricity;
  • A facility that has an installed capacity that does not exceed 40 MW; and
  • A facility that was not licensed or exempted from licensing by FERC on or before August 9, 2013.

16 USC §§ 823a (a)(3)(A)-(C).



FERC Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Authorization Process


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7-FD-f.1 – Notice of Intent to Construct a Qualifying Facility

The developer must provide notice to FERC of their intention (Notice of Intent) to construct a qualifying conduit hydropower facility/project. The Notice of Intent (NOI) must include sufficient information to demonstrate that the facility meets the qualifying criteria. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(A).

7-FD-f.2 – Make Initial Determination on Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility

FERC must make an initial determination as to whether the facility meets the qualifying criteria no later than 15 days after receipt of the NOI. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(B)(i). FERC makes an initial determination based on “qualifying criteria.” “Qualifying criteria” means the following:

  • The facility is constructed, operated, or maintained for the generation of electric power and uses for such generation only the hydroelectric potential of a non-federally owned conduit. The term “conduit” means any tunnel, canal, pipeline, aqueduct, flume, ditch, or similar manmade water conveyance that is operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption and not primarily for the generation of electricity 16 USC § 823a(a)(3)(A);
  • The facility has an installed capacity that does not exceed 40 MW;
  • On or before August 9, 2013, the facility is not licensed under, or exempted from FERC license requirements.

16 USC § 823a(a)(3)(C).

7-FD-f.3 to 7-FD-f.4 – Does FERC Determine that the Facility Meets the Qualifying Criteria?

FERC determines whether the facility/project meets the qualifying criteria. If the project does not meet the qualifying criteria, then the developer must seek either an exemption or license from FERC. For more information, see: FERC Hydropower Authorization Overview:
7-FD-e

7-FD-f.5 – Provide Notice of the NOI to Construct a Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility

If FERC determines that the facility meets the qualifying criteria, then it must provide public notice of the NOI to construct a qualifying conduit hydropower facility. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(B)(ii).

7-FD-f.6 – Comment on Notice of Intent

The public may comment on NOI, and FERC’s determination that the facility meets the qualifying criteria for 30 days. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(C).

7-FD-f.7 to 7-FD-f.9 – Has the Initial Determination been Contested?

If an entity contests whether the facility meets the qualifying criteria, then FERC must issue a written determination as to whether the facility meets the necessary criteria. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(C)(i). If no entity contests whether the facility meets the criteria, then the facility is deemed to meet the criteria without a written determination. 16 USC § 823a(a)(2)(C)(ii). If the project meets the qualifying criteria, then the developer is not required to obtain a license or exemption from FERC to continue with the project.


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