Instream Flow Program

Hydroelectric Projects

Hydroelectric damMany hydroelectric projects in Alaska are licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The Instream Flow Program serves as the department lead in the FERC licensing process, coordinating and providing comments to FERC and the project applicant. Staff also play an important role in assisting the applicant with the process and developing study plans on fish, wildlife, and water resources in the project area.

FERC administers the Federal Power Act (FPA), which governs the regulation of non-federal hydroelectric projects in the United States. FERC issues licenses that specify how projects will be constructed and operated, including any protection, mitigation, and enhancement requirements. FERC licenses specify how streamflows will be allocated between energy generation and other beneficial uses. The FPA affords considerable weight and due deference to ADF&G as the state’s fish and wildlife agency. If FERC does not accept all of ADF&G’s recommendations, they must attempt to resolve any such inconsistency, giving due weight to the department’s authority and expertise. Each project is unique, requiring reviews and analyses specific to affected resources.