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Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP)

General Information

A lease of power privilege (LOPP) is a contractual right given to a non-federal entity to use a Reclamation facility for electric power generation consistent with Reclamation project purposes. A LOPP project must not impair the efficiency of Reclamation generated power or water deliveries, jeopardize public safety, or negatively affect any other Reclamation project purposes. A LOPP is used when Reclamation has authority to develop power on any or all features of a Federal project.

Non-Federal Hydroelectric Power Development

The development of non-federal hydroelectric powerplants on existing Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) facilities (e.g. dams or conduits) requires either a Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP) issued by Reclamation or a License issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Permitting authority is mutually exclusive; each Reclamation facility is either within Reclamation's or FERC's permitting jurisdiction. Accordingly, development proceeds through either a LOPP or FERC License - but not both.

To ensure the timely development of non-federal hydroelectric powerplants on existing Reclamation facilities, FERC and Reclamation have established a cooperative process for determining the appropriate permitting authority for non-federal development. The process is outlined in the two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) documents available below.

In accordance with the two MoUs, Reclamation facilities authorized for Federal hydroelectric power development are eligible to be developed through a Reclamation LOPP. Likewise, those Reclamation facilities not authorized for Federal hydroelectric power development are eligible to be developed through a FERC License.

Date Memorandum of Understanding Purpose
1981 MoU between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the Department of Energy and the Water and Power Resources Service (Reclamation) of the Department of the Interior MoU establishes a process to promote the non-Federal development of hydroelectric energy at existing Water and Power (Reclamation) facilities.
1992 MoU between the Federal Regulatory Commission and the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation MoU establishes procedural steps and a set of rebuttable presumptions to guide the analysis of the agencies' respective jurisdiction over hydro development at Reclamation sites.
 

Initiating Non-Federal Development

To initiate a project, developers are instructed to submit either a "Formal Request" to the appropriate Reclamation Regional Director or a "Notice of Intent" to FERC. Developers are free to choose which agency to contact. Once the "Formal Request" or "Notice of Intent" is received, the two agencies will convene to determine the appropriate permitting authority. Once the appropriate permitting authority is determined, the developer will be notified and the project will proceed through either the Reclamation LOPP or FERC License process.

Reclamation Regional Director contact information is available here.
Information regarding the FERC "Notice of Intent" submission process is available here.
Information regarding the FERC License process is available here.

The Reclamation regional contacts provided below are able to assist with questions related to Reclamation facilities and projects. Note that a "Formal Request" example document is provided in the LOPP Flowcharts, Example and Guidance Documents section.

Reclamation Regional Contacts

Reclamation Region Representative Contact Information
Great Plains Jeffrey Ticknor

Email: jticknor@usbr.gov
Phone: 406-247-7648

Upper Colorado Rick Clayton

Email: rclayton@usbr.gov
Phone: 801-524-3710

Lower Colorado James Stauffer

Email: jstauffer@usbr.gov
Phone: 702-293-8205

Mid-Pacific Paul Landry

Email: plandry@usbr.gov
Phone: 916-979-0255

Pacific Northwest Robert Ross

Email: rross@usbr.gov
Phone: 208-378-5332

 

Regional maps and office information is available here.

LOPP Process, Responsibilities, Timelines, and Charges Directive and Standard

The Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP) Processes, Responsibilities, Timelines, and Charges Directive and Standard establishes the process requirements and charges associated with the private development of hydropower at Bureau of Reclamation facilities authorized through a LOPP. The Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP) Processes, Timelines, and Charges Directive and Standard - and appendixes - are available below.

Note that the Directive and Standard has been revised to incorporate new process requirements set forth in Pub.L. 113-24: Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, and has been released as a Temporary Release. Public comment period closed March 28, 2014. Reclamation is currently compiling comments. The Temporary Release can be viewed at on the Temporary Reclamation Manual Releases website. See FAC TRMR-61.

 
TRMR-61 Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP) Processes, Responsibilities, Timelines, and Charges
Appendix A Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation
Appendix B Lease of Power Privilege Study Considerations
Appendix C Example of a Categorical Exclusion Checklist
Appendix D Standard Lease of Power Privilege Rate Methodology
 

General questions related to general LOPP policy and the Directive and Standard may be directed to:

Reclamation Office Representative Contact Information
Denver Power Resources Office Michael Pulskamp Email: mpulskamp@usbr.gov
Phone: 303-445-2931
Denver Power Resources Office Clark Bishop

Email: cbishop@usbr.gov
Phone: 303-445-2908

 

LOPP Flowcharts, Example and Guidance Documents

To guide developers through the LOPP process - from the "Formal Request" for non-federal hydropower development through project construction - LOPP flowcharts are available below. Each flowchart reflects the LOPP process as outlined in the Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP) Processes, Timelines, and Charges Directive and Standard. Each flowchart references supplemental example and guidance documents that may be accessed from within the flowchart or below:

Document Type Title
LOPP Flowchart* Formal Request for Development through Award of Preliminary Lease
Award of Preliminary Lease through Award of Lease of Power Privilege
Award of Lease of Power Privilege through End of Construction
Example Document Formal Request for Development
Federal Register Notice
Acceptance Letter
Guidance Document Proposal Checklist
 

*Additional documents referenced in LOPP flowcharts, Preliminary Lease,Cost Recovery Agreement, and Lease are forthcoming

Current LOPP Development Catalog

A catalog of current LOPP development is available here. The catalog is to be updated to reflect new development, as necessary. For additional information regarding federal and non-federal renewable energy projects (including LOPP development) currently online or in development on Reclamation land, facilities, and water bodies, see the Bureau of Reclamation Renewable Energy Update on the Reclamation Hydropower Program homepage.

Guiding Legislation

The basic policies governing Reclamation's right to contract a LOPP are set forth in a number of laws. These laws are shown below. Note that project and/or facility - specific legislation may apply. A catalog of all Reclamation projects and facilities, including specific authorizing legislation, is available here.

Date Act Purpose
1902 Reclamation Act Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to develop irrigation and hydropower projects in the 17 Western States.
1906 Town Sites and Power Development Act Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to lease surplus power or power privileges.
1939 Reclamation Project Act Act extends the contract term to 40 years for sale of power or lease of power privileges, giving preference to public entities.
2013 Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act An act to authorize all Bureau of Reclamation conduit facilities for hydropower development under Federal Reclamation law, and for other purposes.
 

Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the documents hosted on this website. Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at the Adobe website here.

Revised: September 2, 2014