FERC Hydropower Compliance

FERC Hydropower Compliance

August 17, 2021 | Online :: Central Time

“Tom Russo was great. He was very informative.” –Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority

“Tom was great and his slides were perfect in explaining everything. He was fantastic!” –Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority


This course will present a detailed overview of compliance and administration required at 1,000 active hydropower licenses and more than 600 projects that are exempted from licensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Attendees will learn how to administer and comply with conditions in licenses and exemptions, as well as compliance during construction and surrendering and transferring licenses. This course will provide attendees with insights on how to work with FERC staff to achieve good compliance while maximizing projects. It will also cover details on what licensees must consider and achieve when planning to add generating capacity and amending their existing licenses (including how FERC handles allegations of non-compliance of environmental conditions). Lastly, the program will cover hydropower security issues and annual filings required in the license. (Note: This course will not cover dam safety compliance issues.)

Learning Outcomes

  • Consider how to work with FERC’s Division of Hydropower Administration and Compliance (DHAC)
  • Review the NEPA and Endangered Species Act process when applying for a capacity-related amendment
  • Discuss what triggers or reopens a Section 401 Water Quality Certificate on a license
  • Discuss monitoring and Pre-filing consultation with Licensees and Exemptees
  • Evaluate the administration and filing of Project Exhibits and drawings
  • Explain differences between capacity and non-capacity amendments of license
  • Consider compliance with conditions and articles in licenses and exemptions
  • Assess the DHAC’s process when allegations of non-compliance are filed with FERC
  • Analyze self-reporting of Non-Compliance
  • Review how License Article Reopener Requests are handled
  • Distinguish how to transfer or surrender a license
  • Recap Article 5 – Property Rights and Eminent Domain
  • Discuss Security and Vulnerability Assessments; Plans and Annual Certification



Tuesday, August 17, 2021 Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

12:30 – 1:15 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Course Timing

Compliance and Licensing- Two Alternate Realities

  • Compliance vs Relicensing
  • FERC Compliance Staff
  • For the Next 40+ years
  • Compliance Handbook

Overview, Responsibilities, General Philosophy

  • Division of Hydropower Administration and Compliance (DHAC)
  • Major Duties and Scope of Work
  • Functional Responsibilities
  • Compliance and Penalties
  • Doing Business with FERC Compliance

What’s Compliance?

  • Environmental, Engineering, and Procedural Filings
  • Mandatory Compliance Filings on Licenses, Exemptions, and License Amendments
  • License Exhibits

Non-Compliance Issues and Allegations

  • How FERC Handles Allegations
  • Self-reporting of Non-Compliance
  • Operational/Implementation Requirements

Start of Construction Requirements

  • Meeting Start of Construction
  • Pre-Construction Requirements
  • On-Site Construction

Amendments to Licenses and Exemptions

  • Defining the Need for an Amendment
  • Non-capacity and Capacity Amendments of License
  • Procedural Steps and Contents of Applications for Amendments
  • Compliance with Other Federal Laws

License Article Reopener Requests

  • Mandatory Conditions Reopeners
  • FERC Reservation of Authority to Open License

Surrender, Transfer, and Termination of Licenses and Exemptions

  • Surrender
  • Transfer
  • Termination

Jurisdictional Determinations for Declarations of Intentions & Unlicensed Projects

Conduit Exemptions and Qualifying Conduit Exemptions

Federal Lands Review

  • Definition
  • Applications for Federal Lands Review

Compliance History for Relicensing

Headwater Benefits Assessments

Article 5 – Property Rights and Eminent Domain

Monitoring and Pre-filing Consultation with Licensees and Exemptees

  • Introductory Letter and Transition Meetings
  • Environmental Inspections
  • Recreation Monitoring

Initiatives that Strengthen Compliance

  • Shoreline Management
  • Commission-Approved Recreation Facilities
  • Understanding of Criteria for Meeting Construction Start Dates
  • Non-Operating Projects

Surrendering Non-Operating Projects

Q&A Session


Tom Russo, Principal, Russo on Energy LLC

Tom Russo is an Energy and Environmental expert with unique FERC regulatory skills in siting hydropower; natural gas and liquefied natural gas infrastructure; NEPA environmental impact assessment; and in how energy markets, prices, and physical/cybersecurity affect infrastructure investments.

Prior to founding Russo on Energy LLC in May 2015, Mr. Russo worked for over 30 years as a Manager and Sr. Energy Industry Analyst at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). During that time, he amassed experience in hydropower licensing, NEPA environmental impact assessment of energy projects, business process reengineering, and natural gas and crude oil market oversight.

Mr. Russo is a native of Brooklyn, New York. He earned a credential as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) in 2010. He also graduated with an MBA in Finance from the George Washington University and a MS in Biology from the University of Alabama.

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
  • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
    • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.


Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

Event Standard RateAttendees



EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.7 CEUs for this event.

Instructional Methods

PowerPoint presentations, Attendee Question/Answer period and classroom exercises will be used in the course.

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must login and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

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