United States Hydropower Resource (February 2013)
Survey Finds U.S. Rivers Could Provide 3% of Nation’s Electricity
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently completed a mapping and assessment of hydrokinetic resources in continental U.S. rivers and found that these undeveloped resources could provide 3% of the nation’s annual use of electricity. The assessment is part of an effort by the Energy Department to characterize U.S. hydrokinetic waterpower resources, including river, wave, tidal, ocean thermal, and ocean current.
The assessment analyzed 71,398 river segments across the 48 contiguous states and additional river segments in Alaska. It yielded a total theoretical resource estimate of 1,381 terawatt-hours per year (TWh/yr) for the continental United States, which is equivalent to approximately 25% of annual U.S. electricity consumption. Because there are constraints on developing many sites, the study found that the technically recoverable resource estimate for the continental United States is 120 TWh/yr, or approximately 3% of annual U.S. electricity consumption.
The results show that the Lower Mississippi region contributes almost half (47.9%) of the technically recoverable resource estimate; Alaska, 17.1%; the Pacific Northwest region, 9.2%; and the Ohio region, 5.7%.
Clay C. Perry
Senior Media Relations Manager
Environment and Renewables Communications Manager