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 (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.

Featured Work

HydroWIRES Initiative
The U.S. electricity system is rapidly evolving, bringing both opportunities and challenges for hydropower and pumped storage hydropower (PSH).
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Hydropower Vision: A New Chapter for America’s 1st Renewable Electricity Source
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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