The Secretary is authorized to make loans to any municipality, electric cooperative, industrial development agency, nonprofit organization, or other person of up to 75 percent of the project costs of a small hydroelectric power project. No such loan may be made unless the Secretary finds that—
(1) the project will be constructed in connection with an existing dam or dams,
(2) all licenses and other required Federal, State, and local approvals necessary for construction of the project have been issued,
(3) the project will have no significant adverse environmental effects, including significant adverse effects on fish and wildlife, on recreational use of water, and on stream flow, and
(4) the project will not have a significant adverse effect on any other use of the water used by such project.
The Secretary may make a commitment to make a loan under this subsection to an applicant who has not met the requirements of paragraph (2), pending compliance by such applicant with such requirements. Such commitment shall be for period 1 of not to exceed 3 years unless the Secretary, in consultation with the Commission, extends such period for good cause shown. Notwithstanding any such commitment, no such loan shall be made before such person has complied with such requirements.
The Secretary shall give preference to applicants under this section who do not have available alternative financing which the Secretary deems appropriate to carry out the project and whose projects will provide useful information as to the technical and economic feasibility of—
(1) the generation of electric energy by such projects, and
(2) the use of energy produced by such projects.
Every applicant for a license for a small hydroelectric power project receiving loans pursuant to this section shall furnish the Secretary with such information as the Secretary may require regarding equipment and services proposed to be used in the design, construction, and operation of such project. The Secretary shall have the right to forbid the use in such project of any equipment or services he finds inappropriate for such project by reason of cost, performance, or failure to carry out the purposes of this section. The Secretary shall make information which he obtains under this subsection available to the public, other than information described as entitled to confidentiality under section 796(d) of title 15.
(d) Joint participation
In making loans for small hydroelectric power projects under this section, the Secretary shall encourage joint participation, to the extent permitted by law, by applicants eligible to receive loans under this section with respect to the same project.
REFERENCES IN TEXT The Secretary, referred to in text, and the Commission, referred to in subsec. (a), mean the Secretary of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, respectively, see section 2602(3), (14) of this title.
16 U.S.C. § 2703 (2018)