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Hydropower is the United States’ oldest source of renewable electricity, comprising nearly 7% of U.S. generation. In 2018, hydropower accounted for roughly 40% of U.S. renewable electricity generation, while pumped storage hydropower remains the largest contributor to U.S. energy storage with an installed capacity of 21.6 GW, or roughly 95% of all commercial storage capacity in the United States.

To achieve the mission and realize the vision of the Hydropower Program, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has identified five core R&D activity areas: 

  1. Innovations for Low-Impact Hydropower Growth

  2. Grid Reliability, Resilience, Integration, & Storage (HydroWIRES)

  3. Fleet Modernization, Maintenance, & Cybersecurity

  4. Environmental & Hydrologic Systems Science

  5. Data Access & Analytics.

Through the revised hydropower strategy, WPTO aims to clearly communicate the rationale for and organization of possible DOE-supported hydropower R&D from now to 2030.

Hydropower Featured Work

View of a hydropower facility and river at sunset.

HydroWIRES aims to understand, enable, and improve hydropower’s contributions to reliability, resilience, and integration in the rapidly evolving U.S. electricity system. 

water flowing at dusk.

Hydropower Vision is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive analysis to evaluate future pathways for low-carbon, renewable hydropower in the United States.


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