Hydropower, FERC Licensing

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published Feb. 26, 2015
Updated: Sept. 26, 2023


Licensing of a privately-owned hydropower project on federal property.


The project was proposed to be located at Upper St. Anthony Falls lock and dam, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, issued license 11175 to Crown Hydro, LLC in 1999 granting it the rights to develop a hydropower facility in the Mill Ruins Park area in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Unable to secure the real estate agreements, Crown Hydro submitted a draft license amendment to the commission April 30, 2015, relocating the project to federal property at Upper St. Anthony Falls. The proposed project was to consist of an operations building located behind the upper guide wall of Upper St. Anthony Falls lock housing two 1.7-megawatt turbines discharging into the Mississippi River.


On April 17, 2020, the commission issued a rejection of Crown Hydropower’s project financing plan and dismissal of Crown Hydropower’s amended license application. In August 2020, the commission denied a request for a rehearing. In October 2020, Crown Hydro filed an appeal to the District of Columbia circuit court. Friends of the Falls filed a motion for termination in

January 2021. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, city of Minneapolis, Friends of the Riverfront and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources subsequently filed comments in support of the motion for termination. Friends of the Falls renewed their motion for termination on Jan. 13, 2022. No other actions have been documented on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission website.

Pertinent correspondence, filings and meeting transcripts are posted on the FERC eLibrary (https://elibrary.ferc.gov/eLibrary/search) under docket number P-11175.


Licensing by FERC of hydropower facilities is governed by Part I of the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791(a)–825(r). Coordination between the FERC and the Corps regarding FERC licensing of hydropower at Corps facilities is also governed by a July 20, 2016, memorandum of agreement between the agencies.


A fixed amount, generally $7,000 per year, is funded under the “investigations” account for FERC-related administrative activities and permit review. More in-depth activities such as pre-licensing, coordination during construction and relicensing are funded under the “Operation and Maintenance” program. These costs are reimbursed by the licensee to the U.S. Treasury Department through annual charges by FERC.