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Hydropower Investment and Public-Private Ecosystem Assessment

Hydropower Investment and Public-Private Ecosystem Assessment

Full Title: Hydropower Investment and PublicPrivate Ecosystem Assessment
Author(s): Greg Stark, Tessa Greco, Aaron Levine, Michael Ingram, and Stuart Cohen
Publisher(s): National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Publication Date: March 19, 2024
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

Hydropower plays a key role in the United States energy generation mix, representing nearly a third of U.S. renewable energy generation today. Pumped storage hydropower (PSH) currently represents 96% of utility-scale energy storage capacity and 70% of grid storage capacity and supports grid stability and reliability across the country. Despite the potential of these technologies to support the U.S. clean energy transition, new public and private investment in hydropower projects of all sizes lags other renewable energy generation sources such as wind and solar). Between 2005 and 2022, the United States substantially increased its solar and wind generation capacity, adding 71.7 gigawatts (GW) and 132.2 GW, respectively. In contrast, hydropower and PSH capacity increased by 2.5 GW and 1.7 GW, respectively, between 2005 and 2022.
The 2016 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydropower Vision report (DOE 2016) estimated that U.S. combined hydropower and PSH generating and storage capacity could increase by 49 GW from 2016 to 2050, significantly adding to the approximately 100 GW of existing capacity. To move closer to achieving this vision, the DOE Water Power Technologies Office commissioned this report to both understand the current hydropower investment landscape and review the primary challenges in raising investment within the United States for medium-sized hydropower and PSH; “medium-sized” is defined here as projects with 5 to 30 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity.
DOE and other government agency support for the activities above could help address the challenges inhibiting medium-sized hydropower and PSH investment. It is a unique time for the industry, given the hydropower incentives included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. This report is an initial step for DOE in identifying opportunities to support investment in medium-sized hydropower and PSH deployment.

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