Pursuant to section 23(b)(1) of the Federal Power Act (FPA), hydropower projects must be licensed, or granted an exemption from licensing, pursuant to the FPA (unless the applicant has a valid pre-1920 federal permit) if the project:

  • Is located on a navigable waterway of the United States;
  • Occupies lands of the United States;
  • Uses surplus water or waterpower from a government dam; or
  • Is located on a stream over which Congress has Commerce Clause jurisdiction, is constructed or modified on or after August 26, 1935, and affects the interests of interstate or foreign commerce.

If you are developing a new site and are unsure whether your project meets any of the above criteria, contact FERC staff assigned to your region. You may also file a Declaration of Intention and the Commission will determine if your proposed project must be authorized. If you have an existing project or dam, you may request a Declaratory Order from the Commission to determine whether your project is jurisdictional and must be licensed or exempted pursuant to the FPA. There are no fees for filing a Declaration of Intention or requesting a Declaratory Order.

For a Declaration of Intention template, see: Declaration of Intention Template

For a Declaratory Order template, see: Declaratory Order Template

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This page was last updated on April 02, 2024