Regulatory Approaches for Adding Capacity to Existing Hydropower Facilities

Aaron Levine, Taylor Curtis, Borna Kazerooni

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


In 2015, hydroelectric generation accounted for more than 6 percent of total net electricity generation in the United States and 46 percent of electricity generation from all renewables. The United States has considerable hydroelectric potential beyond what is already being developed. Nearly 7 GW of this potential is found by adding capacity to existing hydropower facilities. To optimize the value of hydroelectric generation, the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydropower Vision Study highlights the importance of adding capacity to existing facilities. This report provides strategic approaches and considerations for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensed and exempt hydropower facilities seeking to increase generation capacity, which may include increases from efficiency upgrades. The regulatory approaches reviewed for this report include capacity and non-capacity amendments, adding capacity during relicensing, and adding capacity when converting a license to a 10-MW exemption.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-70121


  • hydropower
  • hydropower facilities
  • regulatory
  • relicensing


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