NREL Is Building the Future of Hydropower (Text Version)

This is the text version of the video NREL is Building the Future of Hydropower.

Water is dependable, flowing both day and night, through summer and winter.

That's one reason why hydropower is key to a 100% clean energy world.

It can complement other renewable energy sources, like solar power and wind energy, or kick in to restore power during blackouts caused by extreme heatwaves, hurricanes, or cyberattacks.

And, today's hydropower looks a little different than it did at the start of its almost 100 years in the United States. Facilities old and new are getting modern updates, so they can keep pumping out energy while coexisting with ecosystems and wildlife.

So, what does this future look like? Glad you asked. Our researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are thinking big about hydropower's future role in the fight against climate change.

For example: Our lab's experts can model any grid in the world—to discover how hydropower facilities can best support an evolving renewable energy grid.

We also survey how and where to install new hydropower plants, especially smaller projects and those that add power to existing structures rather than building new dams. And we analyze how to upgrade older facilities while protecting river ecosystems and maximizing contributions to the grid.

To help solve clean energy storage, we're looking at where and how to build more pumped storage hydropower, which can store huge amounts of energy to power the grid when the sun doesn't shine and winds don't blow.

Without hydropower's flexible, on-demand power, renewable energy systems could amount to about $2 billion dollars more per year in energy costs. That's big.

We can do small, too. Some towns are getting drier, while others are getting wetter; our researchers are figuring out how to balance hydropower's energy production with other vital services, like water management and flood control, so we can get the most out of these valuable resources.

Hydropower will be a big part of tomorrow's clean energy world. And NREL researchers are charting a course to get us there.

Join us and help build the future of energy. Learn more about NREL's hydropower program at