U.S. DOE releases first-of-its-kind Hydropower Market Report

The U.S. Department of Energy announces availability of its 2014 Hydropower Market Report, the first ever report to quantify the current size, scope and variability of hydropower supplies in the U.S.

This new report was unveiled at the National Hydropower Association Annual Conference by Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency David Danielson.

America has more than 77 GW of untapped hydropower resource potential, the report indicates. By making use of existing water resources and infrastructure, the vast majority of new hydropower projects built over the past decade have added electric generating equipment to dams that were previously not powered.

The report shows that within the past decade, the hydropower industry has supported more than 55,000 direct domestic jobs across the country and helped offset 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year. It also highlights how hydropower can be rapidly integrated with other renewable energy sources into the electric grid — contributing to the Obama administration’s goal of doubling renewable energy supply again in the U.S by 2020.

“The report outlines the diversity of our nation’s hydropower fleet, shows its tremendous contribution to the U.S. clean energy mix and points to promising future growth,” said Danielson. “With an expanding industry and continued investment, hydropower remains one of our nation’s most cost-effective and reliable sources of renewable energy and provides an important tool for boosting our clean energy supply.”

More than $6 billion has been invested throughout the past decade to strengthen the existing hydropower fleet, the report indicates, and today the manufacturing supply chain spreads across 38 states, with more than 170 companies producing one or more of six major hydroelectric components: turbines, generators, transformers, penstocks, gates and valves.

“For more than 100 years, hydropower has delivered a source of clean, renewable electricity n almost every state,” DOE says. “Today, it plays a key role in providing flexibility to the nation’s power grid, allowing utility operators to quickly fulfill spikes in electrical demand … making hydropower a vital asset to many states’ energy portfolios.”

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality and economic vitality.

The complete report is available here.  

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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