Press Releases

Kuster Fights To Modernize Aging NH Dams During E&C Hearing

**The full Subcommittee hearing is available HERE, Kuster’s full remarks are available HERE**

**In 2021, hydropower produced more than 6% of the nation’s electricity and 31.5% of its renewable energy**


Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee, participated in a hearing entitled, “Modernizing Hydropower: Licensing and Reforms for a Clean Energy Future.” During the hearing, Rep. Kuster highlighted the urgent need to address and reimagine the hydropower licensing process to support Granite State dam owners. She also spoke on her legislation, the Twenty-First Century Dams Act, a bill that makes a $25.8 billion investment in enhancing the safety, grid resilience benefits, and power generating capacity of America’s existing dams while also providing historic funding to remove dams that are no longer necessary.


“We have the opportunity to take bold, much-needed action to bolster our nation’s water infrastructure and hydropower systems and secure America’s energy future for generations to come,” said Rep. Kuster. “That’s why I am proud to be leading the Twenty-First Century Dams Act, forward-thinking legislation to rehabilitate, retrofit, or remove U.S. dams to bolster clean energy production while taking steps to conserve our waterways. I was glad to see the Committee take up this important issue, and I look forward to further action to deliver real results for our country and our communities on hydropower.”


Kuster continued, “I also want to honor the late Representative Don Young of Alaska who was an avid supporter of this legislation. I look forward to working with my colleagues from across the aisle to advance this bill on a bipartisan basis, as Rep. Young sought to do.”


Specifically, the Twenty-First Century Dams Act will:


  • Improve Public Safety: Invests in state dam safety capabilities, expands grant funding for the rehabilitation of existing dams, and makes available low-interest loans to rehabilitate non-federal dams. 
  • Enhance Clean Energy Production and Grid Resilience: Creates a 30% investment tax credit at qualifying dams for safety, environmental improvements, grid flexibility, and dam removals, and invests in existing federal dams to improve their safety and renewable energy generating capacity. 
  • Restore River Ecosystems: Authorizes an interagency and stakeholder advisory committee to help administer a public source of climate resilience and conservation funding to reconnect 10,000 miles of rivers through the removal of 1,000 dams with owner consent.


Rep. Kuster, along with Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08), sent a letter earlier this month urging the Committee to hold this oversight hearing on hydropower to learn more about the incredible potential of this clean, renewable energy source for our country. 


Background on the Twenty-First Century Dams Act:

In 2018, Stanford University’s Woods Institute initiated the “Uncommon Dialogue” process, which convened stakeholders from the hydropower industry, environmental groups, and Tribal Nations to discuss how to promote environmentally and socially responsible hydropower development. This process was the basis for Kuster’s legislation, the Twenty-First Century Dams Act.