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Balancing Environmental Protection and Energy Production in the Federal Hydropower Licensing Process

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Abstract

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) must balance environmental protection of riverine resources with the nation’s growing demand for power production every time it issues a hydroelectric license. This paper models the bureaucratic agency’s decision-making process in issuing these licenses. Data on nearly 500 hydropower licenses issued from 1983 to 2005 are utilized. It is discovered that legislative and institutional constraints are, by far, the largest influences on FERC’s regulatory decisions, implying that if the current allocation of surface water in the United States is considered inefficient, the most effective way to alter this allocation is by passing new legislation, or by implementing institutional reform at FERC.

Suggested Citation

  • Lea Kosnik, 2010. "Balancing Environmental Protection and Energy Production in the Federal Hydropower Licensing Process," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(3).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:86:y:2010:iii:1:p444-466
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ignacio Guisández & Juan I. Pérez-Díaz & José R. Wilhelmi, 2016. "The Influence of Environmental Constraints on the Water Value," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(6), pages 1-1, June.
    2. Jie Yang & Yijing Huang & Kenji Takeuchi, 2020. "Does Drought Increase Carbon Emissions? Evidence from Southwestern China," Discussion Papers 2015, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    3. Guisández, Ignacio & Pérez-Díaz, Juan I. & Wilhelmi, José R., 2016. "Approximate formulae for the assessment of the long-term economic impact of environmental constraints on hydropeaking," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 629-641.
    4. Juan I. Pérez-Díaz & José I. Sarasúa, 2015. "Failures during Load-Frequency Control Maneuvers in an Upgraded Hydropower Plant: Causes, Identification of Causes and Solution Proposals," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(10), pages 1-21, September.
    5. Borisova, Tatiana & Bi, Xiang & Hodges, Alan & Holland, Stephen, 2017. "Is the tide is changing? Assessing costs and benefits of dam removal and river restoration: a case study in Florida," 2017 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2017, Mobile, Alabama 252833, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    6. Pérez-Díaz, Juan I. & Wilhelmi, José R., 2010. "Assessment of the economic impact of environmental constraints on short-term hydropower plant operation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 7960-7970, December.
    7. Megan Hansen & Randy T. Simmons & Ryan M. Yonk, 2016. "The Regulatory Noose: Logan City’s Adventures in Micro-Hydropower," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(7), pages 1-1, June.
    8. Kosnik, Lea-Rachel, 2014. "Determinants of contract completeness: An environmental regulatory application," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 198-208.
    9. Kosnik, Lea, 2008. "Consolidation and ownership trends of nonfederal hydropower generating assets, 1980-2003," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 715-731, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources

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