Developing new hydropower is limited by the customized and site-specific approach to construction, powerhouse design/installation, and environmental mitigation. The remaining new hydropower resources—including non-powered dams, new stream-reaches, and conduits—are smaller, lower-energy density and expensive to develop with existing technologies. In addition, there are uncertain and complex socio-environmental impacts associated with existing hydropower designs that could require difficult or expensive mitigation measures. Finally, developing new hydropower is constrained by a lack of infrastructure and limited capabilities to test and validate new technologies and designs.
Through its Innovations for Low-Impact Hydropower Growth Activity Area, WPTO aims to address these challenges through the following approaches:
- Enable new technology development for both existing water infrastructure and new stream-reach applications that incorporate ecological and social objectives
- Leverage advancements in manufacturing and materials to dramatically lower costs of components and systems designs
- Support testing of new technologies, including development of necessary testing infrastructure
- Explore opportunities for new development in which hydropower is a critical enabler of a larger suite of benefits.