Hydro is generating power in every region of the country and is America’s largest source of clean, renewable electricity. Hydropower accounts for 52 percent of the nation’s renewable electricity generation and 7 percent of total electricity generation.
A domestic energy source, hydropower requires only the power of America’s moving waters – rivers, streams and ocean tides – to generate electricity. That means much of the money invested in hydropower stays here in America.
Much of hydropower’s future growth will be focused on facilities and infrastructure already built and in use, which represent opportunities for increasing renewable energy generation without constructing new, large dams.
Hydropower is 1.4 Million Jobs
According to a study from Navigant Consulting, America’s hydropower industry has the potential to create more than 1.4 million cumulative jobs by 2025. These are good-paying engineering, manufacturing, construction and operations jobs that can revitalize American communities. With the right federal policies, the hydropower industry has the potential to create jobs in every state, building a 21st century clean energy infrastructure.
Hydropower has tremendous generation potential
Over the past few years, the Department of Energy has been exploring the untapped hydropower generation that exists across the United States. These findings demonstrate one of the ways the United States can further diversify its energy portfolio with sustainable and clean domestic power generation from the nation’s oldest and leading renewable resource: hydropower.
Maximizing existing water infrastructure
The Energy Department in 2012 detailed the potential to develop electric power generation at existing dams across the United States that aren’t currently equipped to produce power. The report estimates that without building a single new dam, these available hydropower resources, if fully developed, could provide an electrical generating capacity of more than 12 gigawatts (GW), equivalent to roughly 15 percent of current U.S. hydropower capacity.
Exploring new, sustainable development
The Energy Department released a renewable energy resource assessment in April 2014 detailing the potential to develop new electric power generation in waterways across the United States. The report estimates over 65 gigawatts (GW) of potential new hydropower development across more than three million U.S. rivers and streams – nearly equivalent to the current U.S. hydropower capacity.