Interior identifies additional 1.5 million MWh of hydro potential at existing Reclamation sites

By staff

The U.S. Department of Interior has identified 373 existing Bureau of Reclamation canals and conduits with the combined potential to generate an additional 365,219 MWh of hydroelectric power annually.

The finding builds on a 2011 Reclamation study, which identified 191 existing sites with a potential for 1.2 million MWh annually.

"Hydropower is an important part of President Obama's initiative to generate 80 percent of electricity in this country from a diverse set of clean energy sources by 2035," says interior secretary Ken Salazar. "Identifying and developing hydropower at existing facilities is one way we're putting the all-of-the-above strategy to develop American energy sources into practice."

The 2012 report, titled "Site Inventory and Hydropower Energy Assessment of Reclamation Owned Conduits", supplements the 2011 report, which was titled "Hydropower Resource Assessment at Existing Reclamation Facilities".

The newest report shows about 70 percent of the potential capacity is in Colorado, Oregon and Wyoming, although 13 of the 17 "western" states have new generation potential from conduits.

Reclamation says the assessment provides potential private developers with the information they need before considering a site for development. The report includes the capacity, site maps, energy potential, and proximity to distribution and transmission lines.

Development at the identified sites would proceed along Reclamation's Lease of Power Privilege process or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's licensing process, depending on which entity has jurisdiction over a particular project.

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