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The potential for small scale hydropower development in the US


  • Kosnik, Lea


In an earlier paper (Kosnik, 2008), the potential for small scale hydropower to contribute to US renewable energy supplies, as well as reduce current carbon emissions, was investigated. It was discovered that thousands of viable sites capable of producing significant amounts of hydroelectric power were available throughout the United States. The primary objective of this paper is to determine the cost-effectiveness of developing these small scale hydropower sites. Just because a site has the necessary topographical features to allow small scale hydropower development, does not mean that it should be pursued from a cost-benefit perspective, even if it is a renewable energy resource with minimal effects on the environment. This analysis finds that while the average cost of developing small scale hydropower is relatively high, there still remain hundreds of sites on the low end of the cost scale that are cost-effective to develop right now.

Suggested Citation

  • Kosnik, Lea, 2010. "The potential for small scale hydropower development in the US," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 5512-5519, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:10:p:5512-5519

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alonso-Tristán, C. & González-Peña, D. & Díez-Mediavilla, M. & Rodríguez-Amigo, M. & García-Calderón, T., 2011. "Small hydropower plants in Spain: A case study," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 2729-2735, August.
    2. Kumar Sharma, Ameesh & Thakur, N.S., 2017. "Assessing the impact of small hydropower projects in Jammu and Kashmir: A study from north-western Himalayan region of India," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 679-693.
    3. Xu, Jiuping & Ni, Ting, 2017. "Integrated technological paradigm-based soft paths towards sustainable development of small hydropower," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 623-634.
    4. Kaldellis, J.K. & Kapsali, M. & Kaldelli, El. & Katsanou, Ev., 2013. "Comparing recent views of public attitude on wind energy, photovoltaic and small hydro applications," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 197-208.
    5. Zhang, Jin & Xu, Linyu & Li, Xiaojin, 2015. "Review on the externalities of hydropower: A comparison between large and small hydropower projects in Tibet based on the CO2 equivalent," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 176-185.
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    7. Adamantia Zoi Vougioukli & Eleni Didaskalou & Dimitrios Georgakellos, 2017. "Financial Appraisal of Small Hydro-Power Considering the Cradle-to-Grave Environmental Cost: A Case from Greece," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(4), pages 1-1, March.
    8. Bazmi, Aqeel Ahmed & Zahedi, Gholamreza, 2011. "Sustainable energy systems: Role of optimization modeling techniques in power generation and supply—A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(8), pages 3480-3500.
    9. Cheng, Chuntian & Liu, Benxi & Chau, Kwok-Wing & Li, Gang & Liao, Shengli, 2015. "China׳s small hydropower and its dispatching management," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-55.
    10. Jurasz, Jakub & Mikulik, Jerzy & Krzywda, Magdalena & Ciapała, Bartłomiej & Janowski, Mirosław, 2018. "Integrating a wind- and solar-powered hybrid to the power system by coupling it with a hydroelectric power station with pumping installation," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 549-563.
    11. Mark W. Rosegrant & Claudia Ringler & Tingju Zhu & Simla Tokgoz & Prapti Bhandary, 2013. "Water and food in the bioeconomy: challenges and opportunities for development," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(s1), pages 139-150, November.
    12. Pang, Mingyue & Zhang, Lixiao & Ulgiati, Sergio & Wang, Changbo, 2015. "Ecological impacts of small hydropower in China: Insights from an emergy analysis of a case plant," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 112-122.
    13. Izadyar, Nima & Ong, Hwai Chyuan & Chong, W.T. & Leong, K.Y., 2016. "Resource assessment of the renewable energy potential for a remote area: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 908-923.
    14. Kumar, Deepak & Katoch, S.S., 2015. "Sustainability suspense of small hydropower projects: A study from western Himalayan region of India," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 220-233.
    15. Seung Hyo Baek & Byung Hee Lee, 2019. "Optimal Decision-Making of Renewable Energy Systems in Buildings in the Early Design Stage," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(5), pages 1-1, March.
    16. Gaiser, Kyle & Erickson, Paul & Stroeve, Pieter & Delplanque, Jean-Pierre, 2016. "An experimental investigation of design parameters for pico-hydro Turgo turbines using a response surface methodology," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 406-418.
    17. Laghari, J.A. & Mokhlis, H. & Bakar, A.H.A. & Mohammad, Hasmaini, 2013. "A comprehensive overview of new designs in the hydraulic, electrical equipments and controllers of mini hydro power plants making it cost effective technology," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 279-293.
    18. Sandt, Christopher J. & Doyle, Martin W., 2013. "The hydrologic and economic feasibility of micro hydropower upfitting and integration of existing low-head dams in the United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 261-271.
    19. Wei, Hu & Hongxuan, Zhang & Yu, Dong & Yiting, Wang & Ling, Dong & Ming, Xiao, 2019. "Short-term optimal operation of hydro-wind-solar hybrid system with improved generative adversarial networks," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 250(C), pages 389-403.
    20. Kumar, Deepak & Katoch, S.S., 2014. "Harnessing ‘water tower’ into ‘power tower’: A small hydropower development study from an Indian prefecture in western Himalayas," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 87-101.
    21. Ferreira, Jacson Hudson Inácio & Camacho, José Roberto & Malagoli, Juliana Almansa & Júnior, Sebastião Camargo Guimarães, 2016. "Assessment of the potential of small hydropower development in Brazil," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 380-387.
    22. Elham Hoominfar & Claudia Radel, 2020. "Contested Dam Development in Iran: A Case Study of the Exercise of State Power over Local People," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(13), pages 1-1, July.
    23. Song, Cuihong & Gardner, Kevin H. & Klein, Sharon J.W. & Souza, Simone Pereira & Mo, Weiwei, 2018. "Cradle-to-grave greenhouse gas emissions from dams in the United States of America," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 945-956.
    24. Arias-Gaviria, Jessica & van der Zwaan, Bob & Kober, Tom & Arango-Aramburo, Santiago, 2017. "The prospects for Small Hydropower in Colombia," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 204-214.


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