If you own, or are proposing to develop a hydroelectric project you may require a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Section 23(b)(1) of the Federal Power Act requires an entity to file with the Commission either a hydropower license application for a proposed project, or a Declaration of Intention to determine if the proposed project requires a license. If the hydropower project is operating, the owner should file a Petition for Declaratory Order.

Unless a project has a valid pre-1920 federal permit, non-federal hydroelectric projects are subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction if:

  1. The project is located on navigable waters of the United States.
  2. The project occupies public lands or reservations of the United States.
  3. The project utilizes surplus water or waterpower from a federal dam.
  4. The project is located on a body of water over which Congress has Commerce Clause jurisdiction, project construction occurred on or after August 26, 1935, and the project affects the interests of interstate or foreign commerce.

Part 24 of the Commission’s Regulations outlines the necessary information required by the Commission in order to determine if a project is required to be licensed. Project owners/developers should use the regulations as a reference guide to file a Declaration of Intention or Petition for Declaratory Order. To assist in preparing the filing, a template is available. There are no fees for filing a Declaration of Intention or requesting a Petition for Declaratory Order.

In making a filing for jurisdiction determination, all documents should be filed eFiled. If you don’t have internet access, please mail one copy of your filing to:

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20426

This page was last updated on July 08, 2020