The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hoping to encourage the non-federal development of hydroelectric power capacity at currently non-powered USACE sites with the release of a new agency report.
The study, titled Hydropower Resource Assessment at Non-Powered USACE Sites, identified 419 potential locations for hydro development. The number was then pared to 223, based on the criteria that the site must be capable of producing 1 MW or more of hydroelectric power.
The Corps also stipulated that the sites could not include a current Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license, and that there could be no obvious hindrances to project development.
According to the study, the sites combine for a cumulative output potential of 6,256 MW, though USACE said only 2,818 MW of those would likely be “feasible under economic assumptions made in the report”.
“Our goal was to assess the feasibility of hydropower potential at USACE sites using a broad set of energy and economic criteria,” Corps National Hydropower Program Manager Kamau Sadiki said. “This assessment does not take the place of a technically detailed site-by-site feasibility study, which would be required if hydropower development were to be undertaken at any of the sites.”
The Corps noted developers interested in conducting feasibility studies at any site identified in the report would need to acquire a preliminary permit from FERC and contact the USACE district that has jurisdiction over the project site.
Though the Corps said there is currently no federal interest in developing the identified sites, USACE is already the largest hydroelectric power producer in the United States. The Corps currently operates 353 generating units at 75 reservoirs, which produce about 70 billion kWh per year.