After hearing from stakeholders at a technical conference in December 2009, FERC will now offer web-based tools that would ease the licensing process for development of small hydropower in the United States.
According to FERC, such tools will be available by August 2010 and will help developers understand the FERC licensing process, help improve coordination with other agencies, and help license applicants complete the process more quickly and efficiently.
The federal licensing or relicensing of a hydroelectric project involves long and convoluted processes that can be very daunting. Those who carefully plan and organize a projected licensing effort in a comprehensive manner will face less difficulty. Managers of licensing projects and key decision makers participating on a hydro licensing team need to appreciate the various nuances and challenges they could face through the multi year process in order to adjust their approach as circumstances change through the process.
Each licensing project is unique and each prospective license applicant has a different management structure and company business philosophies. The planned licensing project needs to be adapted to work within these constraints. The size and complexity of the hydro project also can significantly affect the approach and level of effort needed to get the job done. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how to take these variables into consideration when tailoring a licensing organization that is best adapted to suit the situation. The author will draw from his experience to present a variety of large and small licensing project examples.