Clean Currents 2023

A4b: Lessons Learned and Emerging Tools to Support Development at Existing Infrastructure

Fewer than 3% percent of existing dams in the U.S. generate power. Globally, only 1/3rd of the largest dams are used for hydropower. Existing dams and water control infrastructure represent a major opportunity for hydropower development because of already-incurred capital costs, little to no additional environmental impacts, and the potential to address a variety of water and infrastructure management challenges.

Over the past two decades, nearly 600 MW of new capacity has been installed at 42 projects. Efforts to evaluate potential at remaining infrastructure have identified a variety of additional opportunities.

Through extensive review of successful (and unsuccessful) infrastructure retrofits we highlight the variety of barriers facing these types of projects as well as innovative approaches to overcoming technical, economic, environmental, and social/policy challenges. Additionally, we propose emerging datasets, tools, and methods that enable links between descriptive datasets and lead to improved assessments of potential development.

Ultimately, these lead to better understanding of the development opportunity space and can inform R&D efforts and development decisions.

Presenter Information

Mirko Musa

Mirko Musa
Water Resources Engineer - Research Scientist
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), U.S. Department of Energy
Poster Presenter

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