NHA: U.S. report shows hydro’s value to curb emissions

The National Hydropower Association is using a U.S. government report to illustrate the importance of hydropower in holding down emissions of greenhouse gases by the United States.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration published the report in December, �Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2007,� finding an 86 million metric ton increase in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions between 2006 and 2007.

NHA emphasized the report noted much of the CO2 increase was due to �a drop in hydropower availability that led to greater reliance on fossil energy sources (coal and natural gas) for electricity generation, increasing the carbon intensity of power supply.�

The report said a 14 percent decrease in hydropower generation over the last year, mainly attributed to drought in the South, more than offset increases in generation from wind and nuclear power plants.

�This should be a huge wake-up call to policymakers,� NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci said. �The decrease in hydropower generation in 2007 amounted to losing less than 1 percent of our total electric generation, yet utilities had to turn to fossil plants to replace it. That created a 2.9 percent increase in CO2 emissions. We must expand our hydropower resources to avoid having this kind of emissions multiplier short-circuit our climate policy.�

The NHA official said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other organizations see the potential to double hydropower capacity in the next 30 years. Much of that growth would come from new applications that can harness hydrokinetic energy from moving water at sites throughout the country. NHA noted the new technologies often can generate power with less water, helping mitigate the effects of drought and other conditions.

�EIA’s report shows that we don’t have time to wait,� Church Ciocci said. �We must move hydropower onto the grid as fast as we can, if we are to have any hope of meeting our environmental goals as a nation.�

The EIA report may be obtained from the Department of Energy Internet site at ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oiaf/1605/cdrom/pdf/ggrpt/057307.pdf.

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