The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the largest operator of hydroelectric power plants in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The 75 Corps plants have a total installed capacity of 20,474 megawatts and produce nearly 100 billion kilowatt-hours a year. This is nearly a third of the nation's total hydropower output: enough energy to serve about ten million households, or roughly ten cities the size of Seattle, WA.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issues preliminary permits and licenses to non-federal entities for the development of hydropower projects, including projects utilizing federal dams or other federal facilities. The Corps operates water resources projects throughout the Nation where potential exists for the development of hydropower and can allow the development of hydropower at suitable projects.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate the development of hydropower at the Corps' federal facilities by synchronizing each agency's permitting process.
"This strengthened collaboration between FERC and the Army Corps of Engineers advances the Obama Administration's work to transition to a clean energy economy, and reduce carbon pollution," Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, said. "This synchronized approach will shorten the time it takes the private sector to develop and construct new hydropower, and will help us more efficiently use our existing infrastructure. It is also advancing our efforts to find alternative ways to finance new infrastructure."