Hydroelectric Capacity Predicted to Increase by 2050

On July 27, the United States Department of Energy released a report estimating that nationwide hydroelectric capacity could see a 50 percent increase by 2050.

The increase in new capacity is predicted to come as a result of Pumped Storage Hydropower (PSH). PSH is the process of pumping water into a tower or uphill reservoir during hours when electricity is in low demand, and releasing it during peak hours of the day when energy consumption is highest. Today, hydropower capacity in the United States totals 101 gigawatts, accounting for 6.2 percent of all U.S. capacity and 48 percent of total renewable capacity. By 2050, this number could grow to 150 gigawatts using PSH methods – and without having to dam new rivers.

Under the Department of Energy’s proposed plan, technology adoption would be combined with PSH to total 49 gigawatts. 13 gigawatts would come from enhancing existing dams by replacing old generators with new ones that consist of fewer parts, and the remaining 36 gigawatts would be directly produced by PSH. The increase in capacity would save the country an estimated 30 trillion gallons of water by lowering the need to cool power plants.

To spur interest in hydroelectric storage, the Department of Energy announced $9.8 million in funding for 12 projects. If adopted, hydropower is estimated to support approximately 195,000 jobs and create $150 million in economic benefits.

 

Read more here- “America’s Next Energy Solution: The Water Tank,” (Michael Kanellos, Forbes)

 

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