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 (FY2019 Q2)

For More Information:

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. The two assessments - as well as other developer resources - are available on the Hydropower Program Reports and Data page and linked below:

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 file linked below identifies those Resource Assessment sites currently available for development.

Hydropower Memorandum of Understanding
To promote reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable hydropower, the U.S. Department of the Interior (through Reclamation), the U.S. Department of Energy (through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy), and the Department of Army (through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for Hydropower (MOU), signed on March 24, 2010. The MOU provides for a long-term, collaborative working relationship, prioritizing similar goals and aligning ongoing and future renewable energy development efforts between the three agencies. In April 2012, the agencies published a two-year progress report to document MOU achievements.

To build upon the successes accomplished through this inter-agency partnership, the agencies renewed their MOU commitment on March 24, 2015 with a second phase of collaboration outlined in a Phase II Action Plan. The Action Plan details a second phase of collaboration, which seeks to support the Administration’s goals for doubling renewable energy generation by 2020 and improving federal permitting processes for clean energy as established in the President’s Climate Action Plan. Through continued collaboration and partnerships with other federal agencies, the hydropower industry, the research community, and numerous stakeholders, the agencies intend to continue working toward the objectives and goals of the MOU.

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: 5/8/19