The United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses non-federal hydropower generation. The term of the license will not excede 50 years.
Five years prior to the expiration date, the licensee must inform FERC of its intention to file for a new license. The licensee opts to pursue the license through either the traditional or an alternative approach, see link below. The licensee solicits comments from federal and state agencies, local governments, indian tribes, non-government organizations and the general public.
Two years prior to the expiration date, the licensee must submit a license application. The contents of the licensee's application reflect the various requests for information, inventories and studies.
The relicensing process allows FERC the opportunity to re-evaluate the project. The FERC can issue the license with no changes, issue the license with new terms and conditions, issue the license to a competing applicant or decommission the project.