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Study Breaks Down Hydro Potential State-by-State

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) has published a state-by-state survey of renewable energy resources, including the impact hydropower has in terms of capacity and generation.

The free report, titled “Renewable Energy in the 50 States,” utilizes data from the previous year to provide a highlight of renewable energy in each state. Designed as an online tool rather than a static paper, the report will be updated regularly and new work in the industry will be added, ACORE says.

According to the report, the state leading in hydropower electricity generation is Washington, with a total installed capacity of 20,864 MW. Not only does Washington have a wide range of conventional, small and tidal hydro projects, the state ranks 10th in the U.S. for availability of clean energy jobs, due in part to state incentives for utilities and manufacturers.

Each state’s “Policies” section provides an overview of what is in place in each state to encourage and support hydropower development and operation. For example, South Carolina provides a corporate or personal tax credit for 25% of purchasing and operating costs for small hydropower systems.

The report also demonstrated that the industry is growing and new sites are being developed. In Alaska, which currently boasts a 420-MW capacity, the report says a 600 MW, US$5.4 billion project is underway that will provide power to meet half of the Rainbelt region’s needs when complete in 2023. The completed project, located on the Susitna River will significantly contribute to the state’s goal of utilizing 50% renewable energy by 2025.

Released annually, the 2012 edition shows that the total installed capacity of energy from renewable sources exceeded 145 GW, with 78.19 GW from hydropower. Growth was widespread for the sector as a whole throughout the states, including significant rehabilitation and facility improvement work in the Northeast.

According to the report, state initiatives have played a significant role in supporting the development of renewable energy resources because of the congressional deadlock. ACORE intends the report to demonstrate the importance and untapped potential of renewable resources and their use for electricity generation in the U.S., while providing an educational snapshot of the value of the sector as a whole.

ACORE is a non-profit membership organization committed to promoting clean renewable energy through educational publications and events, leadership forums, and energy industry partnerships.

In June, the House of Representatives voted to advance legislation through Congress to streamline the regulatory process and tap into the remaining hydropower potential not reported here. previously reported on the effect President Obama’s reelection could have on the hydropower industry, which has been supported and encouraged in many states through tax credits and other governmental incentive programs.

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