U.S. DOE releases third edition of Hydropower Market Report

The U.S. Department of Energy has released a new version of its Hydropower Market Report, previously published in 2015 and 2018.

This report combines data from public and commercial sources, as well as research findings from other DOE R&D projects, to provide a comprehensive picture of developments in the U.S. hydropower and pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) fleet and industry trends.

The report highlights developments in 2017 to 2019 (the years for which new data has become available since publication of the 2017 Hydropower Market Report), and contextualizes this information compared to evolving high-level trends over the past 10 to 20 years. Apart from presenting trends over time, the report discusses differences in those trends by region, plant size, owner type or other attributes.

DOE provides key messages from the report:

U.S PSH capacity grew over the past decade by almost as much as all other U.S. energy storage combined (almost all growth of other storage occurred over the past decade and was mostly all batteries)

Interest in PSH in the U.S. continues to grow significantly (doubling of project pipeline over five years)

Geographic interest in U.S. PSH has expanded as well (new projects being explored in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Ohio and New York)

Significant and growing interest in PSH internationally (53 GW of capacity across 50 projects were under construction globally at the end of 2019)

Hydropower generation (274 TWh) represented 6.6% of U.S. electricity generation and 38% of electricity from renewables in 2019 (Canadian imports contributed an additional 36 TWh of hydroelectricity in 2019)

Hydropower “punches above its weight” regarding provision of various ancillary services (compared to % of installed capacity, in nearly every region and metric analyzed, including black start, one-hour ramps, frequency regulation and reserves)

In 2019, hydropower capacity (80.25 GW) accounted for 6.7% of U.S. installed electricity generation capacity (hydropower capacity has increased by a net of 431 MW in 2017 to 2019 mostly through capacity increases at existing facilities, new hydropower in conduits and canals, and by powering non-powered dams)

670 MW of hydro (129 projects) have licensing completed but have not moved into construction (more than half of the projects had been in that state for three years or more)

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing activity is set to more than double in the coming decade (almost half of the PSH fleet)

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