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Title: Small Hydropower in the United States

Small hydropower, defined in this report as hydropower with a generating capacity of up to 10 MW typically built using existing dams, pipelines, and canals has substantial opportunity for growth. Existing small hydropower comprises about 75% of the current US hydropower fleet in terms of number of plants. The economic feasibility of developing new small hydropower projects has substantially improved recently, making small hydropower the type of new hydropower development most likely to occur. In 2013, Congress unanimously approved changes to simplify federal permitting requirements for small hydropower, lowering costs and reducing the amount of time required to receive federal approvals. In 2014, Congress funded a new federal incentive payment program for hydropower, currently worth approximately 1.5 cents/kWh. Federal and state grant and loan programs for small hydropower are becoming available. Pending changes in federal climate policy could benefit all renewable energy sources, including small hydropower. Notwithstanding remaining barriers, development of new small hydropower is expected to accelerate in response to recent policy changes.
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Telluride Energy, Telluride, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
WC0100000; CEWW099
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
13 HYDRO ENERGY Hydropower; Small Hydropower; Electricity Generation