Certified Low Impact Hydropower Facilities

The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District is a certified provider of low-impact hydroelectric power. Central’s hydropower facilities were certified in 2008 by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI). The LIHI is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to reducing the impacts of hydropower generation through the certification of hydropower projects that have avoided or reduced their environmental impacts pursuant to the LIHI’s criteria.

To be certified by the LIHI, hydropower facilities must meet criteria in the following eight areas:

  1. River flows;
  2. Water quality;
  3. Fish passage and protection;
  4. Watershed protection;
  5. Threatened and endangered species protection;
  6. Cultural resource protection;
  7. Recreation, and;
  8. Facilities recommended for removal.

The standards for these criteria are typically based on the most recent and most stringent mitigation measures recommended by experts from state and federal resource agencies. Hydropower facilities satisfying all eight criteria – as did Central’s facilities — are eligible for certification by LIHI. The operators of certified facilities are able to use this certification when marketing renewable power. Certification is intended to provide potential consumers with assurances that an independent panel has determined that a hydropower facility is well sited and well operated in accordance with objective scientific and environmental criteria. Central also gained certification from Green-e Energy, an independent certification and verification program for renewable energy administered by the Center for Resource Solutions. Certification allows Central to market “Renewable Energy Certificates,” (RECs) which are the renewable attributes of the hydropower. An REC is the measure of the overall environmental benefits associated with the generation of one megawatt-hour of electricity from solar, wind, water and other renewable resources. These benefits include reductions in emissions and air pollution that would have been generated by burning fossil fuels. For more information or to inquire about opportunities to purchase RECs, contact Eric Hixson, engineering services manager, at (308) 995-8601.