Hydroelectric power is the largest source of renewable electricity in the United States, allowing the nation to avoid 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year. In 2017, hydropower plants produced roughly 7 percent of America's electricity — about 40 percent of the nation's renewable energy.  AdobeStock_147390926.jpeg

Roughly two-thirds of those 303,000 gigawatts came from conventional dams with reservoirs behind them. The last 29 percent, however, came from what are called run-of-river projects, where running water in a river or canal spins a turbine. Run-of-river hybrid storage systems, irrigation modernization and pumped-storage hydropower are a few areas ripe for innovation in water power technology. 

Idaho National Laboratory works with the U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office to enable research, development and testing of emerging technologies to advance next-generation hydropower and pumped storage systems for a flexible, reliable grid. 

Send feedback and questions about our work to waterpower@inl.gov.