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Outlook for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydropower Program Published

Published June 4, 2011
Hydropower Outlook Report Cover Graphic

ALEXANDRIA, VA—June 4, 2011. IWR has published “Outlook for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydropower Program.” This paper examines the state of Federal hydropower in the U.S. in the context of contemporary requirements for multi-use operations and other water users. It describes various trends currently affecting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) hydropower business line, including aging infrastructure, environmental needs and revenue challenges. It also outlines opportunities to enhance hydropower as an important part of the Nation’s renewable energy portfolio.

This outlook paper advocates for a modernization strategy as the path forward that is most likely to succeed. The author argues that maintaining the status quo in the USACE hydropower business line will result in continually diminishing infrastructure performance and power generation. Privatizing Federal hydropower assets would address funding problems, but this strategy requires complex legislation to de-authorize hydropower operations and end existing power contracts. Modernizing the USACE hydropower program would enhance Federal and non-federal partnerships and make environmental considerations a key part of hydropower management. This report explains how modernization can lead to quality infrastructure that provides efficient energy and environmental benefits. The Water Resources Outlook series of papers was created to identify emerging issues and implications for the Nation.

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