Thursday, March 14, 2013

US to focus more on hydro with new hydropower bill?

Hydropower Improvement Act of 2013 - this is the name of the bill introduced by senators from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Alaska. The purpose of this bill is to increase US hydropower capacity which should indirectly lead to growth in domestic job production.

Hydropower is very reliable, clean source of energy that today generates around seven percent of nation's total electricity, thus contributing to nation's energy security lot more than other more popular clean energy sources do (solar and wind).

Hydropower is environmentally friendly source of energy, the one that helps reduce total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and global warming. It has been said that the US hydropower power plants avoid approximately 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year.

The US seems to have plenty of untapped hydropower resources at its disposal. The latest DOE assessment says that the U.S. has the potential for 300 gigawatts of additional hydropower. Many states have excellent hydropower potential- Alaska, for instance, has identified 200 promising sites for further hydropower development.

Many energy experts also say that hydropower is the most cost-effective clean energy option. This because hydropower has very long history of use and thus it doesn't require time to mature like solar, wind and other renewables.

Hydropower is certainly one of the best options if nation really wants to ensure low carbon economy in years to come. Hydroelectric power plant emit negligible amount of carbon emissions when compared with fossil fuel fired power plants. The overall low carbon footprint is of course beneficial for environment, especially because the climate change threat looms larger with each new day.

For starters, US should focus on streamlining the hydropower relicensing process and retrofitting existing structures for energy production because the major goal of this bill is to increase nation's hydropower capacity without spending too much and thus increasing the country's out-of-control deficit.