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Although it is the oldest form of electricity generation in the country, there has historically been limited publicly available or easily accessible centralized data on the makeup, performance, costs, market participation, or regulatory best practices of the U.S. hydropower and pumped storage fleet. Accessibility and the ability to analyze a variety of other river and water data—including river ecology, flood control, hydrography, recreation, other socioeconomic uses, water quality, and water use—are limited. This limitation hinders the ability of diverse stakeholders to engage in integrated energy-water systems planning, particularly at the river-basin level. Improved access to existing data and new analytical capabilities that bridge multiple disparate sectors are also necessary to inform a well-designed, long-term research strategy to support the maintenance and expansion of the U.S. hydropower fleet; reduce its impacts; and identify ways to increase its contributions to grid reliability and resilience. DOE-funded research continually generates a large amount of new information, and this data must be transparent and made publicly available in a timely manner.

Through its Data Access and Analytics Activity Area, WPTO aims to address these challenges through the following approaches:

  • Develop systems and standards to improve access to integrated water data and information relevant to hydropower stakeholders
  • Improve capabilities to analyze multifaceted types of hydropower and water data to better identify opportunities and weigh potential trade-offs across multiple objectives at basin-scales
  • Support the development of new educational resources where gaps currently exist, including curricula and training, to support an evolving hydropower workforce and increase awareness of hydropower opportunities.

Featured Publications & Projects

DOE Publishes Hydropower and Pumped Storage Data
WPTO published the U.S. Hydropower Market Report, which compiled data from public and commercial sources as well as DOE R&D projects.
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HydroSource is the most comprehensive National Water-Energy digital platform that accomplishes data stewardship and dissemination for U.S. hydropower.
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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit (RAPID)
Navigating the complex system of federal and state regulations and permits can be one of the biggest hurdles hydropower developers face.
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STEM Portal: Hydropower
Hydropower is the process of harnessing flowing water to power turbines or generators to generate electricity to power homes, transport & industries.
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Hydropower Memorandum of Understanding 2020
The MOU and resulting action plan will detail overarching topics to increase sustainable hydropower generation and flexibility.
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