U.S. Hydro Sector Could Create 700,000 Jobs by 2025


"Current hydropower capacity alone helps us avoid 225 megaton of carbon dioxide emissions annually."

The National Hydropower Association (NHA) commissioned Navigant Consulting to conduct a study on the hydroelectricity industry's potential for job creation and capacity growth. The results rely on information from industry experts, government officials and existing data, and suggest that the U.S. industry could increase its current installed capacity of 100GW by adding 60GW of capacity through new technologies, efficiency improvements and research and development.

"The hydropower industry is prepared to double its current capacity of clean, domestic, renewable waterpower resources," says NHA president Andrew Munro. "Hydropower offers tremendous potential for America to double its renewable energy production, provide reliable electricity for American families, and create thousands of new jobs."

The additional capacity could serve 17 million homes, the equivalent of all homes in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago combined. The domestic hydropower industry currently employs 300,000 people and, as it grows, every region will see additional jobs and new economic opportunities, the report notes.

The study examined the hydropower industry's potential under two different scenarios: 'business as usual' where renewables generate 10% of total U.S. electricity and 'accelerated case' where national policies mandate 25% generation from renewable energy. Both scenarios assume that hydropower continues to provide 7% of total U.S. electricity, and that demand for power grows by 2% a year.

Under the BAU scenario, 23.3GW of new capacity is added and 238,000 jobs are created in 15 years. Under the accelerated scenario, 60GW is added and 700,000 jobs are created.

"Both hydropower and pumped storage serve the country in many different ways," adds NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci. "Current hydropower capacity alone helps us avoid 225 megaton of carbon dioxide emissions annually, so the contributions are significant."

NHA wants the U.S. Congress to enact a national renewable energy standard that recognizes and supports hydropower; support long-term tax incentives that give hydro parity with other renewable energy; accelerate licensing for pumped storage and small hydro; and expand federal R&D funding for hydropower technologies.

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