H.R. 2842, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act of 2011, has been referred to the House of Representatives. The bill, introduced by Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), would call on the Bureau of Reclamation to develop small conduit hydropower at Bureau facilities.

The bill would require that power privilege leases be offered to local irrigation districts or water users associations. The bill would prohibit altering existing water management and altering existing small conduit projects or outlays.

“At a time when our country needs to focus on domestic energy production and job creation, hydropower can play a critical role in providing clean renewable energy while expanding job opportunities in rural America,” said Rep. Tipton in a press release. “If enacted, this legislation will streamline the regulatory process and reduce administrative costs for small hydropower development at Reclamation’s facilities while supporting the creation of badly needed rural jobs.” According to the press release, the bill has been endorsed by The Family Farm Alliance, the National Water Resources Association and the American Public Power Association.

Does small-scale hydropower require government support? Do you support this bill? What role does small-scale hydropower play in the energy mix? What its potential?