Three major US departments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ramp up hydro-power production across America whilst also reducing environmental impacts and enhancing ecosystem viability.
Under the deal the Department of Energy (DoE), Department of the Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers will all seek to escalate levels of communication between themselves and other federal agencies in an attempt to establish long-term relationships in generating and developing hydro-power.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said of the MoU: "While hydro-power is the largest source of renewable electricity in the nation, hydro-power capacity has not increased significantly in decades. As the single largest owner of hydro-power generation in the United States, it is important for the federal government to tap this valuable asset so it can continue to contribute to our clean energy portfolio and energy security."
"More clean power for our economy"
Hydro-power accounted for 7 percent of US electricity supplies last year, with almost half of that hydroelectric generation occurring in Washington, Oregon and New York, according to the Energy Department. The Interior Department and the US Army Corps of Engineers already operate federal water projects that represent about half of US hydro-power capacity, or close to 34,000 megawatts.
Up to 60,000 megawatts of additional electricity capacity could come from hydro-power, Chu said.
As reported by Renewable Energy Focus, The MoU will identify specific Federal facilities that will be well-suited as sites for sustainable hydro-power and will upgrade facilities and demonstrate new technologies at existing hydro-power locations. It will coordinate R&D on advanced hydro-power technologies and increase hydro generation through low-impact and environmentally sustainable approaches.
It is hoped that the deal will open up a "new approach" to developing hydro-power
DoI Secretary Ken Salazar said, "with better coordination among federal agencies, a common-sense approach, and a focus on low-impact hydro-power projects, we can supply more clean power for our economy."
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