July 20, 2015--Blue Gold: tapping existing potential (Water Power Magazine)

In 2014, as the single largest source of renewable power in the US, hydropower accounted for more than 50% of all renewable generation - 6.5% of the country's total electric production. However, in sharp contrast to these rousing figures, is the growing realisation that for the past 15 years US hydropower generation has almost flat lined with less than a 2% total increase. With power supplies being affected by fluctuating water supplies, data from the Energy Information Administration shows a 3.7% decrease in conventional hydro generation during 2014. The stark reality is that the amount of hydropower being installed each year is at a minimal level, in spite of the fact that recent legislative reform has helped to improve the efficiency and simplicity of regulatory approvals required for projects. However vast untapped potential does exists for further small hydropower development across the US. The key to this lies within existing infrastructure. While the National Hydropower Association has previously highlighted that only 3% of the US' 80,000 dams include provision for hydropower, the Department of Energy suggests that an additional 12,000MW of capacity could be sought from existing non-powered dams. Indeed with more than 400B gallons of water flowing through existing agricultural, industrial and power pipelines each year, there is ample of opportunity to recapture excess energy available in the country's water distribution system. To view the full article visit the Water Power Magazine.