Without building a single new dam, the Department of Energy says in a new report that equipping existing dams to produce power could provide an electrical generating capacity of more than 12 GW, which is equivalent to roughly 15 percent of current U.S. hydropower capacity.
The report - An Assessment of Energy Potential at Non-Powered Dams in the United States - analyzes more than 54,000 specific sites that could be developed to generate power. Those with the most potential were found at lock and dam facilities on the Ohio, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas Rivers – facilities owned by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. (You can access an interactive map showing all of the sites identified here.)
Also interesting is that the DOE's assessment found that many potential hydropower sites are located in areas of the country with fewer wind or solar resources, giving nearby communities access to renewable energy.
Download the full report >>