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Source: US Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 3361 would amend existing law regarding incentive payments made by the Department of Energy (DOE) to nonfederal owners or operators of certain hydroelectric facilities. DOE currently is authorized to provide two types of incentives to eligible projects: payments based on the amount of hydroelectricity generated by the facility and payments that defray some of the cost of measures that improve the efficiency of existing facilities.

H.R. 3361 would authorize the appropriation of $10 million annually through 2036 for payments based on hydropower generation and another $10 million per year over that period for payments based on investments in hydropower efficiency measures. In addition, the bill would modify the deadlines and eligibility criteria for receiving such assistance.

In 2020, DOE allocated $7 million for generation-based payments; no funding was provided for hydroelectricity efficiency payments. Because CBO estimates the budgetary effects under continuing resolutions on an annualized basis, in 2021 CBO assumes that the same amounts will be available under the current continuing resolution (Public Law 116-159). As a result, CBO estimates that the bill would authorize an increase in spending subject to appropriation in 2021 for generation-based payments of $3 million, the difference between the authorized amount and the annualized amount provided under the continuing resolution.

Based on historical spending patterns for similar activities, and assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3361 would cost $69 million over the 2021-2025 period and $169 million over the 2021-2030 period. The costs of the legislation (detailed in Table 1) fall within budget function 270 (energy).