Changing Legal Issues Regarding Transfer of a Plant Up for Relicensing

by Douglas E. Keats, STS Hydropower Ltd, Northbrook, United States,
M. Curtis Whittaker, STS Hydropower Ltd, Northbrook, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


Part I of the Federal Power Act ('FPA') includes a little understood, but potentially powerful mechanism for encouraging the efficient development and prudent operation of this nation's privately held hydroelectric plants: a competitive relicensing program. This feature of the FPA is not well understood mainly because, prior to this year, there have not been a large number of hydropower licenses expiring under Part I of the FPA. However, most people familiar with the hydroelectric industry in the United States are aware of the upcoming 'licensing bubble' caused by the expiration in 1993 of over 150 hydroelectric facility licenses issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ('FERC') and its predecessor, the Federal Power Commission. This circumstance in large part lead to the enactment of the Electric Consumers Protection Act of 1986 ('ECPA'), which amended several important FPA provisions, and clarified certain elements of the relicensing process. The purpose of this paper is not to provide a comprehensive review of ECPA or the federal relicensing regulations. Rather, its purpose is to present a case study depicting actual decision making in the context of newly emerging trends in federal and state regulatory programs affecting hydropower development.

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