Overhauling dams built for flood control and irrigation may generate 12 gigawatts of electricity in the U.S. without carbon emissions, increasing water power capacity 15 percent, the Energy Department said in a report.
Expanding hydroelectric capacity can “help diversify our energy mix, create jobs and reduce carbon pollution nationwide,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.
President Barack Obama has set a goal of producing 80 percent of the U.S. electricity from clean-energy resources by 2035. Using existing dams to increase hydroelectric power is quicker and cheaper than building dams, according to the report.
The federal government has awarded some $2.3 billion in tax credits for more than 183 clean energy projects in 43 states. The companies estimate that the credits will help them to create more than 17,000 jobs building more energy-efficient appliances and cars and exploring solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. The Obama administration considered more than 500 applications and released a list of their selections.
Using a Colorado Air Force base as a backdrop, President Barack Obama will tout an "all of the above" energy approach that includes opening up public lands for clean-energy private investments, spurring the military to go green and doling out tax incentives to the domestic clean-energy sector.
Colorado is not a bad locale to showcase energy, both in traditional form and its alternatives. The state is a large producer of natural gas and clean coal. There are wind farms and hydroelectric power plants.
Colorado is leading the way in shifting government vehicle fleets to natural gas, according to the governor's office.
"There are solar panels in the San Luis Valley, wind turbines, natural-gas plants, coal-fired plans, hydroelectric power," said George Douglas at the Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The president's stop in Aurora is part of a three-day swing through five states critical to his re-election this fall.