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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing, permitting, and compliance processes for hydropower projects can be complex and difficult to navigate. Understanding the unique operational parameters and environmental resources of each project makes the difference. As a leading environmental consulting firm, SWCA specializes in helping hydropower owners evaluate sites and seek licenses for new pumped storage projects.

Hydro Leader Magazine recently featured SWCA’s own Nuria Holmes, a principal FERC team lead, and Bill Spain, a principal environmental planner. In the interview, they discuss how the company’s extensive permitting and technical experience enables its teams to guide clients through the licensing process efficiently.

The two discuss their path to hydropower, cover SWCA’s range of hydropower services, and share their industry insights on pumped storage projects.

“Over the 20 or so years that I have been working in the field, hydropower has been increasingly embraced as a renewable resource. Its use is also shifting… Today, people look to hydropower to fill the gaps when solar and wind generation drop out. That means it will be a critical part of the energy transition,” Spain said on the changing landscape of hydropower. 

On the capability of SWCA to support these initiates, Holmes added, “SWCA has the people to lead and support all types of hydropower projects from an environmental consulting perspective…With a dedicated hydropower regulatory team, we can now be the lead environmental consultant for our clients throughout the life of a [hydropower] project.”