Prepared By: United States Department of Interior, Bureau Reclamation Services, Power Resources Office
Recent Federal policies and legislation focus on moving the nation towards a cleaner energy economy that includes developing environmentally appropriate renewable energy projects involving solar, wind and waves, geothermal, biofuels, and hydropower. The 2010 Federal Memorandum of Understanding for Hydropower and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 direct Reclamation to evaluate development of new hydropower projects at Federally-owned facilities and upgrade or rehabilitate existing hydropower generation facilities, as a contribution to the nation’s clean energy goals. State policies are also starting to encourage renewable energy development. Some states have adopted renewable portfolio standards that require electricity providers to obtain a minimum percentage of their power from renewable energy resources by a certain date.
Recognizing the current national emphasis on renewable energy and its extensive existing water infrastructure systems, Reclamation is undertaking the Hydropower Resource Assessment at Existing Reclamation Facilities(Resource Assessment) to assess hydropower development at existing facilities to contribute to nationwide renewable energy strategies. Reclamation identified 530 sites, including reservoir dams, diversion dams, canals, tunnels, dikes and siphons, in Reclamation’s five regions, comprised of the 17 western states, for analysis in the Resource Assessment. All 530 sites were considered in the analysis, of which, 191 sites were determined to have some level of hydropower potential.