The Department of Energy has released its 2014 Hydropower Market Report. The study quantifies the current size, scope and variability of U.S. hydropower supplies. Today, the renewable energy source provides nearly 7 percent of the U.S. electricity supply – enough to power more than 20 million homes – and its growing with federal support. The report also highlights how hydropower can be rapidly integrated with other renewable energy sources into the electric grid.
“This 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 Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David 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.”
The 2014 Hydropower Market Report also highlights the critical investment of more than $6 billion throughout the last decade to strengthen the existing hydropower fleet and the economic benefits that have resulted from support of the industry. Today, the hydropower manufacturing supply chain spreads across 38 states, with more than 170 companies producing one or more of six major hydropower components: turbines, generators, transformers, penstocks, gates, and valves according to the study.
Presenting a unique analysis of the current project development pipeline in the hydropower sector, this report shows that America has more than 77 GW of untapped hydropower resource potential. By making use of existing water resources and infrastructure, the vast majority of new hydropower projects built over the last decade have added electric generating equipment to dams that were previously not powered. The current hydropower development pipeline contains a diverse mixture of projects proposed at non-powered dams, conduits, and previously undeveloped rivers and streams.