A key Senate committee plans to advance bills to revitalize the nation\u2019s hydropower industry--including potential expansion of some plants in California--and bring the fledgling hydrokinetic ocean power industry to maturity in the weeks ahead. The hearing was held the same day a California company held a meeting to air plans for a giant wave energy project off the coast of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The two bills, written by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and supported by lawmakers across the aisle, received hearty endorsements in the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee March 31. Committee chair Senator Jeff Bingaman (R-NM) said the panel would approve the bills in the next couple of weeks. \u201cSignificant amounts of hydropower remain undeveloped,\u201d Steven Chalk, acting deputy assistant secretary of energy, told the committee. Today, the nation gets about 7 percent of its electricity from hydro. Murkowski explained her bill seeks to \u201cspur\u201d efficiency improvements and capacity additions at existing facilities, electrification of non-powered dams, conduit generation at irrigation districts, small hydro, and pumped storage facilities. It does so, she said, by giving \u201cfederal assistance\u201d for environmental studies and required environmental mitigation measures. The hearing on S. 629 came the same day that the Bureau of Reclamation released a study assessing potentially economic hydropower expansion opportunities in the West. It shows that many small projects in the Sierra Nevada look promising, as do a number of existing projects along the lower Colorado River. The committee also took up Murkowski\u2019s Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act, S. 630. It provides more direction and resources for new Department of Energy hydrokinetic energy test centers set up to serve as incubators for perfecting ocean energy technology. Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition president Sean O\u2019Neill lauded the bill, saying that \u201cyoung\u201d ocean energy companies need federal \u201csupport.\u201d Chalk said hydrokinetic ocean energy technology could provide 13,000 MW of new generating capacity by 2025. Pointing to its promise, he compared hydrokinetic technology to the state of wind power 20 years ago. In recent years, wind power has been the fastest growing source of new electricity generating capacity in the nation. The hearing came as a California developer, JD Products, is planning to study a two square mile area off the coast of the San Onofre nuclear plant as a potential location to set up a 3,186 MW ocean power plant that employs 11,443 separate ocean wave power production units. The power would enter the grid onshore where the nuclear plant now interconnects. The company applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the study last year. It held a public meeting on the project in Dana Point on March 31.