Hydropower for the Future

Reinvigorating Hydropower

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Hydropower is the nation's premier renewable energy resource from a cost, emissions and reliability perspective. However, due to its quiet, long history and relative success it has been taken for granted in public policy debates. 

In a whitepaper released on April 2, 2019, the National Hydropower Association and Chelan PUD issued a call to action, identifying six recommendations, covering a range of issues including market design, public policy and regulatory processes: 

  • Design markets that value hydropower services
  • Choose technology-neutral policies that achieve societal goals for carbon reduction
  • Improve the hydropower licensing process
  • Improve hydro project performance
  • Expand the options for state contracting practices to improve long-term hydropower life-cycle planning

Read the full whitepaper: Reinvigorating Hydropower

Hydropower, America's first renewable electricity source, has room to grow.

Through the Hydropower Vision Report, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office has led a first-of-its-kind comprehensive analysis to evaluate future pathways for low-carbon, renewable hydropower (hydropower generation and pumped storage) in the United States, focused on continued technical evolution, increased energy market value, and environmental sustainability.

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Read the report from the U.S. Department of Energy

It finds that U.S. hydropower could grow from 101 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2015 to nearly 150 GW by 2050. Under this scenario, a combined $209 billion in savings from avoided global damages from greenhouse gas emissions is possible, including $185 billion in savings from continuing to operate the existing hydropower fleet through 2050. With this deployment level, more than 35 million average U.S. homes could be powered by hydropower in 2050.