On April 26, 2022 FERC held a Commission staff-led technical conference to discuss whether and, if so, how the Commission should require additional financial assurance mechanisms in the licenses and other authorizations it issues for hydroelectric projects. The purpose of this effort is to ensure that licensees have the capability to carry out license requirements and, particularly, to maintain their projects in safe condition. The technical conference followed, by over a year, the Commission’s January 26, 2021 notice of inquiry (NOI) seeking comments on potential changes to FERC’s rules relating to financial assurance for hydropower projects.
The genesis of FERC’s January 2021 NOI was FERC’s concern that inadequate financing of hydropower projects may result in threats to public safety and environmental resources, especially for nonoperational projects. FERC specifically noted recent experiences where a lack of funding for needed dam safety repairs led to several dam failures in 2020. Therefore, FERC is considering whether to take additional measures to ensure that licensees have the