U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 18, 2024

§ 4.90 - Applicability and purpose.

This subpart implements section 30(b) of the Federal Power Act and provides procedures for obtaining an exemption for constructed or unconstructed small conduit hydroelectric facilities, as defined in § 4.30(b)(30), from all or part of the requirements of Part I of the Federal Power Act, including licensing, and the regulations issued under Part I.

[Order 800, 79 FR 59110, Oct. 1, 2014]

§ 4.91 - [Reserved]

§ 4.92 - Contents of exemption application.

(a) An application for exemption for this subpart must include:

(1) An introductory statement, including a declaration that the facility for which application is made meets the requirements of § 4.30(b)(30), or if the facility qualifies but for the discharge requirement of § 4.30(b)(30)(iv), the introductory statement must identify that fact and state that the application is accompanied by a petition for waiver of § 4.30(b)(30)(iv) filed pursuant to § 385.207 of this chapter;

(2) Exhibits A, E, F, and G.

(3) If the project structures would use or occupy any lands other than federal lands, an appendix containing documentary evidence showing that the applicant has the real property interests required under § 4.31(b); and

(4) Identification of all Indian tribes that may be affected by the project.

(b) Introductory Statement. The introductory statement must be set forth in the following format:

Before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Application for Exemption for Small Conduit Hydroelectric Facility

[Name of applicant] applies to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for an exemption for the [name of facility], a small conduit hydroelectric facility that meets the requirements of [insert the following language, as appropriate: “§ 4.30(b)(30) of this subpart” or “§ 4.30(b)(30) of this subpart, except paragraph (b)(30)(iv)”], from certain provisions of Part I of the Federal Power Act.

The location of the facility is: State or Territory: County: Township or nearby town: The exact name and business address of each applicant are: The exact name and business address of each person authorized to act as agent for the applicant in this application are:

[Name of applicant] is [a citizen of the United States, an association of citizens of the United States, a municipality, State, or a corporation incorporated under the laws of (specify the United States or the state of incorporation, as appropriate)].

The provisions of Part I of the Federal Power Act for which exemption is requested are:

[List here all sections or subsections for which exemption is requested.]

[If the facility does not meet the requirement of § 4.30(b)(30)(iv), add the following sentence: “This application is accompanied by a petition for waiver of § 4.30(b)(30)(iv), submitted pursuant to 18 CFR 385.207.”]

(c) Exhibit A. Exhibit A must describe the small conduit hydroelectric facility and proposed mode of operation with appropriate references to Exhibits F and G. To the extent feasible the information in this exhibit may be submitted in tabular form. The following information must be included:

(1) A brief description of any conduits and associated consumptive water supply facilities, intake facilities, powerhouses, and any other structures associated with the facility.

(2) The proximate natural sources of water that supply the related conduit.

(3) The purposes for which the conduit is used.

(4) The number of generating units, including auxiliary units, the capacity of each unit, and provisions, if any, for future units.

(5) The type of each hydraulic turbine.

(6) A description of how the plant is to be operated, manually or automatically, and whether the plant is to be used for peaking.

(7) Estimations of:

(i) The average annual generation in kilowatt hours;

(ii) The average head of the plant;

(iii) The hydraulic capacity of the plant (flow through the plant) in cubic feet per second;

(iv) The average flow of the conduit at the plant or point of diversion (using best available data and explaining the sources of the data and the method of calculation); and

(v) The average amount of the flow described in paragraph (c)(7)(iv) of this section available for power generation.

(8) The planned date for beginning construction of the facility.

(9) If the hydroelectric facility discharges directly into a natural body of water and a petition for waiver of § 4.30(b)(30)(iv) has not been submitted, evidence that a quantity of water equal to or greater than the quantity discharged from the hydroelectric facility is withdrawn from that water body downstream into a conduit that is part of the same water supply system as the conduit on which the hydroelectric facility is located.

(10) If the hydroelectric facility discharges directly to a point of agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption, a description of the nature and location of that point of consumption.

(11) A description of the nature and extent of any construction of a dam that would occur in association with construction of the proposed small conduit hydroelectric facility, including a statement of the normal maximum surface area and normal maximum surface elevation of any existing impoundment before and after that construction; and any evidence that the construction of the dam would occur for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumptive purposes even if hydroelectric generating facilities were not installed.

(d) Exhibit G. Exhibit G is a map of the project and boundary and must conform to the specifications of § 4.41(h) of this chapter.

(e) Exhibit E. This exhibit is an Environmental Report. It must be prepared pursuant to § 4.38 and must include the following information, commensurate with the scope and environmental impact of the facility's construction and operation:

(1) A description of the environmental setting in the vicinity of the facility, including vegetative cover, fish and wildlife resources, water quality and quantity, land and water uses, recreational use, socio-economic conditions, historical and archeological resources, and visual resources. The report must give special attention to endangered or threatened plant and animal species, critical habitats, and sites eligible for or included on the National Register of Historic Places. The applicant may obtain assistance in the preparation of this information from State natural resources agencies, the State historic preservation officer, and from local offices of Federal natural resources agencies.

(2) A description of the expected environmental impacts resulting from the continued operation of an existing small conduit hydroelectric facility, or from the construction and operation of a proposed small conduit hydroelectric facility, including a discussion of the specific measures proposed by the applicant and others to protect and enhance environmental resources and to mitigate adverse impacts of the facility on them.

(3) A description of alternative means of obtaining an amount of power equivalent to that provided by the proposed or existing facility.

(4) Any additional information the applicant considers important.

(f) Exhibit F. Exhibit F is a set of drawings showing the structures and equipment of the small conduit hydroelectric facility and must conform to the specifications of § 4.41(g) of this chapter.

[Order 76, 45 FR 28090, Apr. 28, 1980, as amended by Order 413, 50 FR 11686, Mar. 25, 1985; Order 533, 56 FR 23153, May 20, 1991; Order 2002, 68 FR 51121, Aug. 25, 2003; Order 699, 72 FR 45324, Aug. 14, 2007; Order 800, 79 FR 59110, Oct. 1, 2014]

§ 4.93 - Action on exemption applications.

(a) An application for exemption that does not meet the eligibility requirements of § 4.30(b)(30)(iv) may be accepted, provided the application has been accompanied by a request for waiver under § 4.92(a)(1) and the waiver request has not been denied. Acceptance of an application that has been accompanied by a request for waiver under § 4.92(a)(1) does not constitute a ruling on the waiver request, unless expressly stated in the acceptance.

(b) The Commission will circulate a notice of application for exemption to interested agencies and Indian tribes at the time the applicant is notified that the application is accepted for filing.

(c) In granting an exemption the Commission may prescribe terms or conditions in addition to those set forth in § 4.94, in order to:

(1) Protect the quality or quantity of the related water supply for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption;

(2) Otherwise protect life, health, or property;

(3) Avoid or mitigate adverse environmental impact; or

(4) Conserve, develop, or utilize in the public interest the water power resources of the region.

(d) Conversion to license application. (1) If an application for exemption under this subpart is denied by the Commission, the applicant may convert the exemption application into an application for license for the hydroelectric project.

(2) The applicant must provide the Commission with written notification, within 30 days after the date of issuance of the order denying exemption, that it intends to convert the exemption application into a license application. The applicant must submit to the Commission, no later than 90 days after the date of issuance of the order denying exemption, additional information that is necessary to conform the exemption application to the relevant regulations for a license application.

(3) If all the information timely submitted is found sufficient, together with the application for exemption, to conform to the relevant regulations for a license application, the converted application will be considered accepted for filing as of the date that the exemption application was accepted for filing.

[Order 76, 45 FR 28090, Apr. 28, 1980, as amended by Order 413, 50 FR 11687, Mar. 25, 1985; Order 533, 56 FR 23153, May 20, 1991; Order 2002, 68 FR 51121, Aug. 25, 2003; Order 800, 79 FR 59110, Oct. 1, 2014]

§ 4.94 - Standard terms and conditions of exemption.

Any exemption granted under § 4.93 for a small conduit hydroelectric facility is subject to the following standard terms and conditions:

(a) Article 1. The Commission reserves the right to conduct investigations under sections 4(g), 306, 307, and 311 of the Federal Power Act with respect to any acts, complaints, facts, conditions, practices, or other matters related to the construction, operation, or maintenance of the exempt facility. If any term or condition of the exemption is violated, the Commission may revoke the exemption, issue a suitable order under section 4(g) of the Federal Power Act, or take appropriate action for enforcement, forfeiture, or penalties under Part III of the Federal Power Act.

(b) Article 2. The construction, operation, and maintenance of the exempt project must comply with any terms and conditions that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and any state fish and wildlife agencies have determined are appropriate to prevent loss of, or damage to, fish or wildlife resources or otherwise to carry out the purposes of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, as specified in exhibit E of the application for exemption from licensing or in the comments submitted in response to the notice of exemption application.

(c) Article 3. The Commission may revoke this exemption if actual construction of any proposed generating facilities has not begun within two years or has not been completed within four years from the effective date of this exemption. If an exemption is revoked under this article, the Commission will not accept from the prior exemption holder a subsequent application for exemption from licensing or a notice of exemption from licensing for the same project within two years of the revocation.

(d) Article 4. This exemption does not confer any right to use or occupy any federal lands that may be necessary for the development or operation of the project. Any right to use or occupy any federal lands for those purposes must be obtained from the administering federal land agencies. The Commission may accept a license application submitted by any qualified license applicant and revoke this exemption, if any necessary right to use or occupy federal lands for those purposes has not been obtained within one year from the date on which this exemption was granted.

(e) Article 5. In order to best develop, conserve, and utilize in the public interest the water resources of the region, the Commission may require that the exempt facilities be modified in structure or operation or may revoke this exemption.

(f) Article 6. The Commission may revoke this exemption if, in the application process, material discrepancies, inaccuracies, or falsehoods were made by or on behalf of the applicant.

(g) Article 7. Before transferring any property interests in the exempt project, the exemption holder must inform the transferee of the terms and conditions of the exemption. Within 30 days of transferring the property interests, the exemption holder must inform the Commission of the identity and address of the transferee.

[Order 76, 45 FR 28090, Apr. 28, 1980, as amended by Order 413, 50 FR 11687, Mar. 25, 1985; Order 413-A, 56 FR 31331, July 10, 1991; Order 800, 79 FR 59110, Oct. 1, 2014]

§ 4.95 - Surrender of exemption.

(a) To voluntarily surrender its exemption, a holder of an exemption for a small conduit hydroelectric facility must file a petition with the Commission.

(b)(1) If construction has begun, prior to filing a petition with the Commission, the exemption holder must consult with the fish and wildlife agencies in accordance with § 4.38, substituting for the information required under § 4.38(b)(1) information appropriate to the disposition and restoration of the project works and lands. The petition must set forth the exemption holder's plans with respect to disposition and restoration of the project works and lands.

(2) If construction has begun, public notice of the petition will be given, and, at least 30 days thereafter, the Commission will act upon the petition.

(c) If no construction has begun, unless the Commission issues an order to the contrary, the exemption will remain in effect through the thirtieth day after the Commission issues a public notice of receipt of the petition. New applications involving the site of the surrendered exemption may be filed on the next business day.

(d) Exemptions may be surrendered only upon fulfillment by the exemption holder of such obligations under the exemption as the Commission may prescribe and, if construction has begun, upon such conditions with respect to the disposition of such project works and restoration of project lands as may be determined by the Commission and the Federal and state fish and wildlife agencies.

(e) Where occupancy of federal lands or reservations has been permitted by a federal agency having supervision over such lands, the exemption holder must concurrently notify that agency of the petition to surrender and of the steps that will be taken to restore the affected federal lands or reservations.

[Order 413, 50 FR 11687, Mar. 25, 1985, as amended by Order 800, 79 FR 59111, Oct. 1, 2014]

§ 4.96 - Amendment of exemption.

(a) An exemption holder must construct and operate its project as described in the exemption application approved by the Commission or its delegate.

(b) If an exemption holder desires to change the design, location, method of construction or operation of its project, it must first notify the appropriate Federal and state fish and wildlife agencies and inform them in writing of the changes it intends to implement. If these agencies determine that the changes would not cause the project to violate the terms and conditions imposed by the agencies, and if the changes would not materially alter the design, location, method of construction or operation of the project, the exemption holder may implement the changes. If any of these agencies determines that the changes would cause the project to violate the terms and conditions imposed by the agencies, or if the changes would materially alter the design, location, method of construction or the operation of the project works, the exemption holder may not implement the changes without first acquiring authorization from the Commission to amend its exemption, or acquiring a license that authorizes the project, as changed.

(c) An application to amend an exemption may be filed only by the holder of the exemption. An application to amend an exemption will be governed by the Commission's regulations governing applications for exemption. The Commission will not accept applications in competition with an application to amend an exemption, unless the Director of the Office of Energy Projects determines that it is in the public interest to do so.

[Order 413, 50 FR 11687, Mar. 25, 1985, as amended by Order 699, 72 FR 45324, Aug. 14, 2007]