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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and California State Water Resources Control Board have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to coordinate the review of pre-application activities for hydropower proposals in California.

According to FERC, examples of pre-application activities include consultation, environmental scoping, study planning and commenting on an applicant's preliminary licensing proposal.

FERC reports the MOU will create a more efficient and coordinated process for license applications and water-quality certifications.

"This MOU will provide for a more coordinated process that will benefit not only FERC and the California water board, but stakeholders associated with hydropower development in California," comments Jeff Wright, director of FERC's Office of Energy Projects.

FERC says it and the state water board have agreed to establish deadlines to ensure a timely process. In addition, the state water board will participate in FERC's environmental scoping process and engage in study plan development.

The MOU focuses on conventional hydropower projects, including pumped storage projects, and does not pertain to offshore hydrokinetic projects, FERC notes.

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