Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP)
A lease of power privilege (LOPP) is a contractual right given to a non-federal entity to use a Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) facility (e.g. dam or conduit) 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 purpose. A LOPP is used on Reclamation dams authorized for Federal hydropower development and all Reclamation conduits. In addition, a LOPP is used on all water resource projects (i.e. dams and conduits) constructed pursuant to the Water Conservation and Utilization Act (WCUA).
Non-Federal Hydroelectric Power Development
Pursuant to the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act (Public Law 113-24), all development of non-federal hydropower on Reclamation conduits requires a LOPP. The Act further requires LOPPs be offered first to the irrigation district(s) or water users association(s) operating or receiving water from the Reclamation conduit.
The development of non-federal hydropower on Reclamation dams requires either a LOPP or a License issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Permitting authority is mutually exclusive; each Reclamation dam is either within Reclamation's or FERC's jurisdiction. Accordingly, development proceeds through either a LOPP or FERC License - but not both.
To ensure the timely development of non-federal hydropower on Reclamation dams, FERC and Reclamation have established a cooperative process for determining the appropriate permitting authority. The process is outlined in the two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) documents available below. In accordance with the two MoUs, Reclamation dams authorized for Federal hydroelectric power development are eligible to be developed through a Reclamation LOPP. Likewise, those Reclamation dams not authorized for Federal hydroelectric power development are eligible to be developed through a FERC License.
In addition, pursuant to Section 3087 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (Public Law 113-291), all development of non-federal hydropower on WCUA projects (i.e. dams and conduits) requires a LOPP. WCUA projects are not 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 non-federal hydropower development on a Reclamation conduit or WCUA project, developers are instructed to submit a Formal Request to the appropriate Reclamation Regional Director. Once the Formal Request is received, the developer will be notified and the project will proceed through the LOPP process.
To initiate non-federal hydropower development on a Reclamation dam, 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 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||Dale Lentz||
|Upper Colorado||Rick Clayton||
|Lower Colorado||James Stauffer||
|Pacific Northwest||Robert Ross||
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 (D&S) establishes the process requirements and charges associated with the non-federal development of hydropower at Reclamation facilities and WCUA projects authorized through a LOPP. The Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP) Processes, Timelines, and Charges Directive and Standard - and appendixes - are available below.
The initial D&S was published in September 2012 and revised in February 2014 to reflect Public Law 113-24 process requirements. The February 2014 revision was released as a Temporary Reclamation Manual Release with a concurrent public comment period. The current D&S, published in September 2014 incorporates internal and external comments submitted to Reclamation. Thank you to those parties that submitted comments.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Denver Power Resources Office||Clark Bishop||
LOPP Flowcharts, Example and Guidance Documents
To guide developers through the LOPP process on Reclamation facilities - 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 D&S. Each flowchart references supplemental example and guidance documents that may be accessed below:
Current LOPP Development Catalog
A catalog of all online LOPP projects is available here: LOPP Development Spreadsheet.
A catalog of all Federal and non-federal renewable energy projects currently online or in development on Reclamation land, facilities, and water bodies - including LOPP projects, is available in the Bureau of Reclamation Renewable Energy Update on the Reclamation Hydropower Program homepage.
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.
|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.|
|1939||Water Conservation and Utilization Act||Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to develop water conservation and utilization projects in the Great Plains and arid and semiarid areas of the United States.|
|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.|
|2014||Carl Levin and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015||Section 3087 of Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to lease power privileges at projects constructed pursuant to the Water Conservation and Utilization Act.|
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