Hydropower Advancement Project
The sum of U.S. hydropower nameplate capacity (not including pumped storage) is approximately 78 GW and generated 260 TWh of electricity in 2010. Half of hydropower plants in the U.S. are using major equipment, such as turbines, that were designed and installed over 50 years ago. The efficiency and capacity of aging turbine units have declined as their physical condition deteriorate over time. Advances have been made in materials and hydro-mechanical designs that improve efficiency and performance of turbine and other components of hydropower systems since these aging plants and equipment were commissioned. Many plants in the U.S. hydropower fleet are operating under a different set of constraints than those existing at the time of commissioning, resulting in reduced energy production and services for the electric power system. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognizes there is significant opportunity to increase the capacity, annual generation and value of hydropower at existing U.S. hydropower facilities through the identification and implementation of improvements.
The overarching objective of the Hydropower Advancement Project (HAP) is to accelerate increases in U.S. hydropower asset performance and value. Performance in this broad context includes hydropower asset reliability, availability, production, capacity, and water-use efficiency. The specific objectives of the HAP are as follows:
- Provide a fact-based quantitative estimate of additional energy available through improvements and expansions of all U.S. hydropower assets
- Identify barriers to implementation of hydropower asset improvement and expansions
- Prioritize research that would accelerated increases in hydropower asset performance and value
- Develop and disseminate Best Practices, Assessment, and Analysis Tools to stimulate and accelerate increases in hydropower asset performance and value