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TRI-CITY RECORD: Bipartisan Hydropower Bill Supports Jobs, American Energy

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Washington, DC, August 22, 2013 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761) | comments

By Rep. Fred Upton -

America is in the midst of an energy renaissance. Thanks to vast new energy discoveries that can be utilized by combining tried-and-true techniques with exciting new technologies, America is shedding old ideas of energy scarcity and entering an era of energy abundance. All we need are the policies in place to embrace this opportunity.

From conventional sources to renewables, the need for an “all of the above” energy policy that moves us closer to North American energy independence is made all the more urgent by the high energy prices facing Michigan families and employers today. 

Hydropower is the nation’s largest renewable energy resource, representing nearly 8 percent of the nation’s electricity generation portfolio.  New hydropower development has the potential to produce thousands of megawatts of affordable power and create countless new jobs in the process. In fact, estimates project that new hydropower development could produce up to 60,000 megawatts of new hydropower capacity and create over 700,000 jobs by 2025.

Earlier this month, President Obama signed into law H.R. 267, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013. Passed by my Energy and Commerce Committee, this bipartisan legislation will help facilitate the development of new hydropower projects across the country by reducing red tape, making it easier for this renewable resource to come online to power our communities.

H.R. 267 streamlines the permitting process for conduit hydropower projects under 5 megawatts, such as projects located on canals and tunnels, as well as for certain other small hydropower projects under 10 megawatts.

This in turn will stimulate job growth as new hydropower resources are constructed and operated, while the electricity produced by these new projects will provide low-cost power to American homes and businesses.

Now law, this bipartisan legislation has great promise for increased hydropower development, including here in Michigan, which has significant potential for small hydro projects. In addition, Michigan manufacturers produce many of the components vital to the hydropower industry, enhancing the positive economic benefits.

This is what “all of the above” is all about: keeping energy costs down, creating jobs, and achieving energy independence.


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