Really, Dam Every River For Hydropower?


The Secretary of Energy recently publicly stated that our nation could produce an additional 65.5 gigawatts of hydropower capacity based on the Department of Energy (DOE) report which estimates the technical potential of the US. However, the problem with that number is that every river stretch that hasn’t been utilized for power generation would need to be constructed upon, including building new dams.

While the report may be accurate in terms of technical feasibility, it notes that “not all areas identified in this assessment will be practical or feasible to develop for various reasons.” The Secretary ignored to note the capacity that is practically feasible to develop. As noted above, developing the capacity the Secretary noted would require that we dam the currently free flowing rivers or build in our national parks and wild and scenic rivers as well as weaken many of the existing environmental laws.

Read these articles by American Rivers and American Whitewater on this issue.

Click here to see which streams and rivers in your region could be developed for hydropower, according to the DOE.