Hydropower is creating jobs
The U.S. hydropower industry currently employs up to 300,000 workers, from project development to manufacturing to facilities operations and maintenance.
With the right policies in place, hydropower can expand its American workforce. A recent study from Navigant Consulting found that 1.4 million cumulative jobs could be created by hydropower by 2025 when policies such as a renewable electricity standard are deployed.
The United States currently has the world’s second largest installed capacity of hydropower at approximately 100GW, a total that includes pumped storage facilities. But huge untapped potential remains for this resource: Navigant estimated that the U.S. could add 60,000 MW of new hydro capacity by 2025, out of a total estimated technical potential of 84GW at inland sites alone.
When developing technologies like wave, ocean current and tidal in-stream energy conversion are taken into account, hydropower’s potential is even larger. Technical capacity from wave power alone is estimated at a massive 90GW, and under a 25pc RES, approximately 14GW of ocean power capacity is realizable from the three technology types together.
To put this in perspective, in 2011, the Energy Information Administration estimates that total electric generating capacity for the country as a whole totaled approximately 1,051GW.
All of this means that by capitalizing on its huge potential for sustainable growth, the hydropower industry can add jobs along the supply chain, from manufacturers to construction workers to plant operations and maintenance.