With all the talk about renewable energy in America, we have heard little about one old reliable source — hydropower. Fortunately, though hydroelectricity seems to have been sidelined by emphasis on technologies including wind and solar power, it has not been forgotten.
More than a year ago, U.S. Rep. McKinley, R-W.Va., introduced HR 3361 — the RIVER Act — in the House of Representatives. Finally, earlier this month, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the bill.
HR 3361 would increase the stream of federal funding to aid hydropower projects. As McKinley’s office noted, in fiscal 2016, Congress provided a drop-in-the-bucket “up to $3.9 million” for hydropower incentives. The Department of Energy used just $3.5 million of that, despite applications for $9.9 million.
Pumping billions of dollars into support for solar and wind power projects while limiting hydropower incentives to seven figures is ridiculous.
Good for McKinley for recognizing the problem and addressing it through HR 3361.
The full House, then the U.S. Senate, should approve the bill expeditiously — without the one-year delay it took for the measure to get through a committee.