NYPA Official Urges
Reform of Hydropower Relicensing
Mr. Berical's remarks
January 10, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALBANYWith the warning that the federal relicensing
process is "slowly, but steadily, turning off the tap on Americas hydropower
resources," a New York Power Authority (NYPA) official urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to significantly reform the process.
"Two-thirds of all hydropower projects relicensed since
1986 lost generation as a result of relicensing," said Daniel P. Berical, vice
president for Policy and Government Affairs for the Power Authority at a public meeting
conducted in Albany by FERC to review hydroelectric licensing policies, procedures and
He noted that the federal government is predicting the trend will continue: "The
U.S. Energy Information Administrations Annual Energy Outlook 2000 projects
that hydropower generation will decline through 2020, as regulatory actions limit
capacity at existing sites."
The New York Power Authority operates eight hydroelectric generating facilities in New
York State, including the Niagara Power Project in
Lewiston, the St.
Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project in Massena and the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power
Project in the northern Catskills.
In the next 15 years, over half of all federally regulated hydropower capacity must be
relicensed. Some 284 projects with nearly 29,000 megawatts of capacity will be undergoing
the relicensing process. The Power Authoritys St. Lawrence-FDR Project license
expires in 2003. The Niagara Project license expires in 2007.
Berical said reform is needed to preserve hydropowers benefits to the
nations "environmental quality, energy security and economic prosperity."
"Hydropower serves as the nations largest, emissions-free, renewable energy
resource. It is a predominantly domestic resource, largely free from foreign
disruption," the NYPA official noted.
"Reform of the hydropower relicensing process certainly should neither dilute nor
diminish the thorough analysis of environmental impacts. However," Berical said,
"the relicensing process requires a renewed sense of balance. As our nation seeks to
address an array of environmental, economic and energy challenges, we must act to assure
that the benefits offered by hydropower in all those areas are not sacrificed for the sake
of any single one of those interests. Meaningful reform of the hydropower relicensing
process is essential to achieving that balance."