Washington DC, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 06 April 2011 – The U.S. Department of the Interior has released the results of an internal study that shows the department could generate up to one million megawatt hours of electricity annually, and create jobs, by adding hydropower capacity at 70 of its existing facilities.
The report, Hydropower Resource Assessment at Existing Reclamation Facilities, estimates that the additional hydropower capabilities could create enough clean, renewable energy to annually power more than 85,000 households.
Based on industry estimates for job potential associated with the kind of hydropower additions identified in this report, approximately 1,200 jobs could be created, including jobs in administration, manufacturing, construction, engineering, operations and maintenance.
“Adding hydropower capability at existing Reclamation facilities is a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable way to build our clean energy economy,” said Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle. “We can increase our renewable hydropower output without building new dams.”
This report highlights the exciting potential for substantial hydropower development and related jobs at existing facilities throughout the western United States. The Bureau of Reclamation developed the report as part of President Obama’s initiative to develop a comprehensive renewable energy portfolio and to meet 80% of energy needs with clean sources by 2035.
"Our report reflects Reclamation’s commitment to advancing renewable energy in a manner that promotes efficiency and sustainability through the use of existing resources,” Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor emphasised.
The report studied 530 sites throughout Reclamation’s jurisdiction, including dams, diversion structures, and some canals and tunnels. Of those sites, the assessment made a preliminary identification of 70 facilities with the most potential to add hydropower. These 70 facilities are located in 14 states.
Colorado, Utah, Montana, Texas and Arizona have the most hydropower potential. Facilities with additional hydropower potential are also found in California, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.
The Bureau of Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydro-electric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its 58 power plants annually produce, on average, 40 billion kilowatt-hours per year, enough to meet the needs of nine million people.