Turlock Irrigation District Board President Ron Macedo’s dedication to the District does not end with the adjournment of each weekly Board meeting and it is certainly not restricted to city limits.
Macedo has just returned from Washington D.C., where he not only attended the National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, but also devoted his time lobbying for a recently-introduced bill that will hopefully streamline the relicensing processes for hydropower projects like Don Pedro Reservoir under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
According to Macedo, it can take approximately 12 years to obtain a 50-year license and the cost of securing such can be even more drastic.
“We have spent 16 million dollars to date already on the Don Pedro relicensing project,” said Macedo, “and we are still years away from obtaining a license.”
Macedo reports that during his “visits on the Hill” he attended eight different meetings, including one with Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), to share the story of the District and hopefully get them to see the need to improve current relicensing processes.
“A lot of hydropower projects take a lot of time to get relicensed and we’re always looking to be smart with the District’s money,” said Macedo. “We want to be able to move it along a little quicker in order to cost less for the public. We want to be part of the process of speeding it up.
“We have to keep putting pressure and continue to tell our story and share our concerns,” continued Macedo.
In the time not spent lobbying, Macedo also attended the NHA Annual Conference for the first time, where he participated in several meetings and sessions to discuss the future of hydropower with industry leaders, state and federal regulatory officials, and key legislative staff.
Over the course of three days at the conference, Macedo was given the opportunity to attend various sessions, such as “Hydro’s Value in Today’s Energy Market,” “Hydro Relicensing: What Does the Future Hold?” and “Role of Dams in a Water-Constrained World.”
“I definitely think it was time well spent and all the sessions we attended were very informative,” said Macedo. “It was great to hear stories from different parts of the country and to share out story as well.”