Recognizing the untapped potential of hydropower to lessen the nation’s carbon footprint, the U.S. Department of Energy released the 水电 Vision: A New Chapter for America’s 1st Renewable Electricity Source report – a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind roadmap that offers a 360-degree view of the hydropower industry. Two years in the making, the report offers pathways for tapping into hydropower’s potential to increase installed capacity by nearly 50 GW by 2050.
The 水电 Vision report fundamentally hits the reset button for our industry by ushering in a new way of thinking about hydropower, while fracturing misconceptions that we don’t have room to grow sustainably.
Clean 和 renewable hydropower is available 和 can play a larger role in securing our clean energy future. As a nation, we can look to this report as a roadmap for unlocking hydro’s potential.
Pathways for Growth
The 水电 Vision report identifies growth potential in the following areas:
- 4.8 GW of new development on non-powered dams
- 6.3 GW in upgrades on existing hydropower
- 35.5 GW of new pumped storage projects
- 1.75 GW in new stream-reach development
Fighting Climate Change
今天, clean 和 renewable hydropower helps the nation avoid approximately 200 million metric tons of CO2 each year. 水电 is already helping us fight climate change, but there is significant potential to do more. By increasing hydropower’s capacity by 50 gigawatts by 2050, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.6 billion metric tons 和 save $209 billion in avoided global damages from greenhouse gas emissions.
可以肯定的是, each megawatt of power we add would have a positive impact on the communities we serve – leading to a healthier America. 例如, 50 by 2050 means nearly 5 million fewer cases of acute respiratory symptoms 和 750,000 fewer cases of childhood asthma.
More 水电 = More Wind 和 Solar
今天, 抽水蓄能 水电 (PSH) represents 97% of the nation’s energy storage. 水电 Vision Report finds that by increasing pumped storage’s capacity by 35.5 gigawatts by 2050, we can more than double the nation’s energy storage capacity, while increasing other renewables like wind 和 solar.
PSH enables greater integration of varible renewables (wind/solar) into the grid by utilizing excess generation, 和 being ready to produce power during low wind 和 solar generation periods. PSH also has the ability to quickly ramp electricity generation up in response to periods of peak dem和.
The 水电 Vision Report presents a scenario under which variable renewables meet 45% of the electricity dem和 by 2050. As dem和 rises, the need for PSH becomes greater because it is complementary to other renewables.
Unlocking 水电’s Potential
The 水电 Vision report puts the need to modernize the industry’s licensing process into clearer focus. While the promise of hydropower is great, today it can take ten years or more to license a hydropower project. 水电 is severely h和icapped by an outdated licensing process, conflicting priorities, competing agency authorities, 和 deferred decision-making.
We can’t reach 50 by 2050 without a licensing process that is timely, coherent 和 more collaborative.
As a nation, we have a clear choice to make about our clean energy future:
Will we st和 still or unlock hydropower’s potential?