Full Title: New Stream-reach Development: A Comprehensive Assessment of Hydropower Energy Potential in the United States
Author(s): Shih-Chieh Kao et al.
Publisher(s): Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Publication Date: 4/2014


The rapid development of multiple national geospatial datasets related to topography, hydrology, and environmental characteristics in the past decade has provided new opportunities to refine and more accurately characterize the nation’s hydropower resource potential in undeveloped stream-reaches. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Program tasked Oak Ridge National Laboratory with evaluating the new stream-reach development (NSD) resource potential of more than 3 million U.S. streams in order to help individuals and organizations evaluate the feasibility of developing new hydropower sources in the United States. A methodology was designed to identify and characterize stream-reaches with high energy density and, most importantly, to compile and spatially join the energy potential of stream-reaches with information related to natural ecological systems; sensitive species; areas of social and cultural importance; and policy, management, and legal constraints. Additionally, this assessment focuses specifically on undeveloped stream-reaches, unlike previous assessments that covered all types of streams (i.e., including river segments with existing hydropower plants or non-powered dams). An initial report on methodology (Hadjerioua et al., 2013) was reviewed and revised based on comments gathered from two peer review workshops.