Friday, September 13, 2013

Stunning Fact: 60,000 Megawatts of New Hydro Projects Pending Approval By Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

You have heard about the oil, gas, solar boom, and wind booms.  But, how about hydro? In fact, a hydro boom is getting started. Here are the stunning numbers.

There are 60,000 megawatts of hydro projects in 45 states awaiting final approval at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  That's a huge number, nearly as much as all wind capacity.  Additionally, last year, the highest number of licenses--25--were issued for new hydro projects since 2005.

The emerging boom in hydropower is a big deal because hydropower is a big source of energy, accounting for 7%-8% of America's power, even before any new growth.  It is the biggest source of renewable energy, but its production has ebbed or flowed, depending on precipitation levels.  Even with hydro treading water, renewable energy surpassed nuclear power in total energy provided and increased its share of all energy provided.

Hydro's renewed growth, however, would boost further the market share of renewable energy in the USA, and shorten the time before all renewables together provide more total energy than coal.

More hydropower will reduce pollution and help to keep power prices affordable for consumers. While hydropower does impact river systems, it offers more economic benefits and less environmental impact than most other sources of energy. And so the emerging hydro power boom is good news, indeed!

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