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American Bar Association
American Bar Association Energy and Resources Committees

Hydro Power Committee

2010-2011 Committee Chair:

Charles Sensiba, Van Ness Feldman, Washington, DC

Hydro Power Committee News Update

Hydropower—Especially Pumped Storage and Low-Head—Gaining Visibility

A Wall Street Journal article by Stephanie Simon on September 13, 2010, highlighted the “comeback” being staged by hydropower in the United States and elsewhere. The article points out that, according to the Electric Power Research Institute (“EPRI”), “[e]ven without building large dams, expanding efforts to draw power from water could add 40,000 megawatts to the grid by 2025 . . . That’s the equivalent of putting at least two dozen new nuclear power plants online.”  FERC preliminary permit applications for small hydro are up more than 300% since 2007. Although the time required for permitting and the high capital costs still make hydropower less attractive to some utilities and investors than other energy sources, like natural gas, developers are continuing with plans to add power plants to some of the 80,000 existing dams that don’t have hydroelectric capacity. In addition to advancing low-head turbines and technologies that are gentler on fish and oxygen-injection systems, Simon also highlights the international attention focused on pumped storage facilities: although permit applications for new facilities has lagged in the United States, “China has 2,200 projects under construction,” and other countries including Romania, India, Ukraine, Thailand, Switzerland, Italy, and South Africa are “moving heavily into pumped-storage construction.”

For more on this story, see the full text of Stephanie Simon’s article: “Water Surge.”

Posted: 9/16/10


Joining is easy - if you are already a member of the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, you can join up to five of the Section’s committees at no additional cost. Make the Hydro Power Committee one of your five! Just complete the Section’s Committee Preference Form and select the Hydro Power Committee.

If you are not yet a member of the Section, you must first join the Section before you can join the Hydro Power Committee. Please review the multiple benefits described on the Section’s Membership page or contact the Hydro Power Committee Membership Vice to hear more about the benefits of joining the Section and the Hydro Power Committee. As stated in the Message from the Chair, the committee leadership wants to encourage as much of your participation as possible so that we all have the benefit of hearing the diversity of perspectives within the committee membership.

We look forward to your participation!

Committee Resources

Basic Practice Series: FERC Basic Practice Series: FERC

FERC regulates discrete components of the natural gas, electric utility, hydroelectric, and oil pipeline industries. Together these industries comprise a substantial portion of the economy and infrastructure of the United States. Not a mere spectator or passive referee in the industries it regulates, FERC initiates much of what is colloquially called "deregulation" or, more accurately, "restructuring." FERC's restructuring of the natural gas industry, for example, made pipelines into common carriers, providing open access transportation mostly to third parties. Almost all natural gas is now sold by unregulated or lightly regulated third parties who use pipelines to ship their gas to buyers. Similarly, FERC's restructuring of the electric utility industry sought first to require utilities to provide open access transmission of electricity and now seeks to establish Regional Transmission Organizations.

Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy

The country's ocean and coastal laws and policies in many ways mirror the very resources they were created to manage, restore, and protect: they are complex, intertwined, and fluid. Newly published by the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy provides an authoritative yet practical resource for practioners, government officials, and scholars to understand and build upon the current legal framework of our ocean and coastal policies.


Charles Sensiba

Vice Chairs:
Committee Newsletters
David Montgomery Moore

James H. Hancock, Jr.

Jennifer E. Simon

Public Service
Sonya L. Baskerville

William W. Kinsey

The Year in Review
Julia S. Wood

Additional (At Large)
Chad T. Marriott

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