Don’t be fooled: Water is an important part of the American climate solution

A recent article on The Hill calls for the role of hydropower as an important part of climate change in the United States. Do not be deceived. Hydro Power currently accounts for 37 percent of the total renewable energy generation in the United States, provides more than 90 percent of the world’s long-term energy storage, and provides approximately 30 million homes. In addition, as the first renewable resource in the United States, the flexibility of hydroelectric power will increase the reliability of the grid by combining growing wind and solar power.

Let’s put the record right: The life cycle of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for river runners and pump storage is the lowest of any energy resource, according to a report by the United Nations Climate Change Panel. Even when storing water with reservoirs, it is still slightly lower than solar power.

The author’s concerns about hydroelectricity do not apply, especially in the United States. While there are legitimate scientific questions about the release of new reservoirs, especially in tropical climates, this is not the case in the United States. In fact, one of the most significant recent development opportunities in our country is the construction of existing infrastructure. Currently, only about 3% of the existing dams use electricity for flood control, water storage, irrigation or recreation.

Many of these power dams are potential candidates for hydroelectric power plants. In fact, the US Department of Energy estimates that increasing the number of dams, upgrading existing facilities, and developing closed pump storage could add up to 50 gigabytes of clean energy to our grid.

That is why the hydroelectric industry, which is part of my organization, is proud of its historic partnership with the river community, local groups, and dam safety advocates to accelerate R&D. Power generation; Renovation of dams to address any security concerns; And the removal of dams determined by their owners to prevent a purpose. And our efforts are already bearing fruit.

The Senate Bilateral Infrastructure Act supports energy improvements, grid-based investments, and environmental improvements in existing hydropower facilities, dam safety, and outdated dams. This funding will accelerate the development of renewable energy sources, strengthen the safety of dams on power and inactive dams, and accelerate the removal of abandoned or no longer needed dams.

But the work is not finished. While the Senate Infrastructure bill represents a significant down payment, the US Congress has a historic opportunity to address the scale of the problem by incorporating bilateral 21st century dam legislation into a reconciliation package. The change we want must be dynamic, and this account will invest $ 25.8 billion in water, river rehabilitation and security.

In addition to program funding, the account will generate 30 percent investment tax credit (direct payment for public energy) and 50 percent of additional power investment to support 3R investments. Federal Government.

Without question, hydropower is an important part of climate change in the United States. Improper cherry-picking international data for the situation in the United States does not change that outcome. And in the next decade, with 13 gigabytes of hydropower available for expensive and uncertain recycling, Congress must take this opportunity to boldly take action to ensure that these facilities are not endangered.

Ultimately, this is whether we value our pure energy resources. Funding for the 3R framework will protect our country’s hydropower resources and improve the safety of communities and the health of our rivers.

We urge Congress to make the 21st century dam a part of reconciliation.

Malcolm Wool is the President and CEO of the National Hydroelectric Association.


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