Hydropower Program


Screenshot of new hydropower video.
Reclamation's New Hydropower Video
- Hydropower is a renewable and reliable resource providing clean energy to the western United States. It is the nation's largest renewable energy resource and the Bureau of Reclamation is the second largest producer in the United States. Watch the new Reclamation video on hydropower. Video...

Lease of Power Privilege
A Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP) is a contractual right given to a non-federal entity to use a Bureau of 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 purposes.

The Lease of Power Privilege (LOPP) Processes, Responsibilities, Timelines, and Charges Directive and Standard (D&S) provides clear guidance and timelines on LOPP requirements, assigns roles and responsibilities within the organization for LOPP development, sets a standard methodology across Reclamation for the LOPP charges and identifies all potential charges for developers.

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 D&S was updated in September 2014, given comments received. The D&S was revised again in December 2016 to clarify – but not modify - LOPP development timeframes, cyber security requirements, and annual charge methodology to ensure consistent LOPP program administration and external communications.

For additional information, visit the Lease of Power Privilege Website. The website offers guidance for potential developers, stakeholder groups, and Reclamation staff.

Quoting Max Spiker, Senior Advisor Hydropower, “This website makes the Lease of Power Privilege process accessible to potential developers and stakeholder groups. This effort builds on Reclamation’s commitment to sustainable hydropower development and environmental stewardship.” 

Lease of Power Privilege Website

Bureau of Reclamation Hydropower Generation Summary
Reclamation’s hydropower program supports Administration and Department domestic energy security initiatives – facilitating the development of untapped hydropower potential on federal water resource projects through a number of activities, including collaborative regulatory reform; operational and technological innovation; and stakeholder outreach. Collectively, these activities derive additional value and revenue from existing public infrastructure.

The Bureau of Reclamation Hydropower Generation Summary identifies federal and non-federal hydropower facilities and associated generating capacity currently online or in development on Reclamation projects – and reports on incremental hydropower capability installed within the reported quarter(s), as applicable. The current release is available below. Previous releases - detailing federal and non-federal hydropower facilities and associated generating capacity currently online or in development on Reclamation projects - are available on the Hydropower Program Reports and Data page.

Bureau of Reclamation Hydropower Generation Summary (FY2020 Q3)







For More Information:

Federal Hydropower Memorandum of Understanding
To help position Federal hydropower to meet the Nation’s need for reliable and affordable renewable hydropower, the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technology Office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a Federal Hydropower Generation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at Hoover Dam August 24, 2020. The MOU provides for a collaborative working relationship that prioritizes similar goals and aligns ongoing and future renewable energy development efforts among the three agencies.

“Reclamation continues to invest in strategies that improve and increase the stability and value of the hydropower for states, Tribes, and customers. This MOU strengthens our collective commitment to provide affordable, environmentally sustainable hydropower for America’s energy needs today and, in the future.” - Commissioner Brenda Burman.

Hydropower Resource Assessments
Reclamation is committed to facilitating the development of non-federal hydropower on Reclamation projects. Acting on this commitment, Reclamation has undertaken a number of activities including the completion of two resource assessments, identifying technical hydropower potential at existing Reclamation facilities.

A number of Resource Assessment sites have been developed by non-federal entities and currently in operation, with many more sites in some stage of active development.

The two assessments and file identifying those Resource Assessment sites available for development are linked below:

Non-Hydro Renewable Energy (N-HRE) Projects on Bureau of Reclamation Lands, Facilities, and Waterbodies
Reclamation Manual Directive and Standard (D&S), Non-Hydro Renewable Energy (N-HRE) Projects on Bureau of Reclamation Lands, Facilities, and Waterbodies (FAC 04-16) was last updated on January 11, 2019. The D&S defines standard procedures for issuing land use authorization documents that allow non-federal entities to use Reclamation lands for the siting of N-HRE projects. In defining these procedures, the D&S supports Presidential Executive Order 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth and domestic energy security objectives identified in the Department’s Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2018– 2022 related to expanding the production of energy resources through efficient permitting, appropriate standards, assessment and oversight.

To support FAC 04-16, Reclamation has developed the Use Authorizations for Non-Hydro Renewable Energy on Reclamation Lands guidebook. The guidebook assists Reclamation personnel in screening, processing, and administering use authorizations for N-HRE projects on Reclamation lands consistent with FAC 04-16. Reclamation has designed the guidebook to avoid “reinventing” authorization methodology and help promote consistency among Department of Interior agencies handling N-HRE projects on Federal lands. Please see both the D&S and guidebook linked below:




Last Updated: 8/24/20