WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friday, Representatives Don Young (R-AK-AL), Annie Kuster (D-NH-02), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) introduced the Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectricity and River Restoration Act. This bipartisan legislation creates new federal tax incentives to bolster the long-term integrity of hydropower dams across the country. By implementing tax incentives, this bill also helps ensure that existing hydropower operations can continue to provide clean, emissions-free electricity to ratepayers.
The Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectric and River Restoration Act utilizes the U.S. tax code by providing a 30% federal investment tax credit, with a direct payment option, to encourage investments in dam safety, environmental enhancements, and grid versatility. The list of possible investments is numerous and includes:
- Implementing fish-friendly turbines.
- Better managing river sediment.
- Upgrading floodgates and spillways.
- Developing more effective methods to aid fish passage through existing dams.
“The state of Alaska has tremendous hydroelectric potential, and through it, we can provide our rural and remote communities with reliable, renewable energy,” said Congressman Don Young. “We must keep up Alaska’s hydropower momentum so that we can not only diversify our energy portfolio, but also secure clean, affordable energy for our communities. Today, I am proud to introduce the Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectric and River Restoration Act. This bill will help move Alaska forward by providing the resources necessary to increase the number of hydropower operation in Alaska and upgrade dams in desperate need of improvements. I have often said that not one more drop of diesel needs to be burned in many parts of Alaska if we can harness the renewable resources we have right here at home. This legislation is critical to helping our small, rural communities transition from diesel by aiding in the development of their own hydropower projects. I am grateful for the support of Congresswoman Kuster, and call on my friends on both sides of the aisle to help us get this bill across the finish line.”
“Building the clean energy economy of the future requires we adopt a new, innovative approach to how we think about power generation and conservation,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “By embracing renewable energy sources and removing outdated hydropower dams, we can restore our nation’s rivers while making critical investments in our sustainable energy infrastructure. I’m proud to join my colleague Congressman Don Young to introduce the Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectric and River Restoration Act today and I will continue working in Congress toward bipartisan solutions to protect our environment and foster a clean energy future.”
“Hydropower’s existing fleet plays a significant role in America’s clean energy infrastructure, and will play a critical role in achieving President Biden’s goal of a zero-carbon electricity grid,” said Malcolm Woolf, CEO & President of the National Hydropower Association. “We applaud Congressman Young for his leadership in recognizing that with the right tools, we can optimize generation efficiency and output, make environmental enhancements, and bolster dam safety – outcomes that will lead to more clean energy and healthier rivers. The hydropower industry, along with the river and climate communities, have found common ground to address the nation’s 90,000 dams, and we urge Congress to pass a final bill that would increase funding for dam safety and removal of dams determined by their owners to have reached the end of their useful life.“
“Hydropower is Alaska’s principal renewable energy resource delivering low-cost baseload electricity in Alaska for over a century. Like the Bipartisan Murkowski-Cantwell Senate bill, Congressman Young and Congresswoman Kuster’s legislation opens the opportunity and pathway with innovative tax credits to support existing and sustainable hydropower while helping restore river systems,” said Duff Mitchell, Managing Director of Juneau Hydropower, Inc. “This legislation promotes our waterpower future by ensuring that Alaska and America’s hydropower is safe, secure, fish-friendly, promotes recreation opportunities, and promotes grid reliability and resiliency. I praise this effective legislation that delivers a great opportunity benefitting Alaska, a wide range of hydropower stakeholders, and America’s hydropower industry, including muni and non-profit utilities.”
“Hydropower is an important generation resource in Alaska that provides clean and reliable power in many parts of the state. With support from Congress and the federal government, Alaska’s hydropower resources will benefit from financial incentives that make projects more economically feasible. APA appreciates the support of Alaska’s congressional delegation for the continued investment toward maximizing the state’s energy potential,” said Crystal Enkvist, Executive Director of the Alaska Power Association.