Alternative Opportunities for Hydropower Workshop

Tapping into the potential of small hydropower projects

A graphic showing the different sectors of alternative opportunities for hydropower.

Areas identified as promising for alternative opportunities in hydropower.

(Image: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

June 27-28

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) held the Alternative Opportunities for Hydropower Workshop on July 27-28, 2022, a meeting that engaged attendees from a wide range of stakeholders, including resource owners, hydropower developers, government entities, utilities, irrigation districts, NGOs, tribes, and industry professionals.

Funded by WPTO, over the past few years researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory have been investigating New Value Propositions for small hydropower in the Innovations for Low-Impact Hydropower Growth portfolio. The team has identified five core opportunities where small hydropower can provide unique benefits:

During the workshop, the team shared more about these opportunities and heard from attendees about how to best study, communicate, and implement hydropower projects that enable a broader suite of benefits. You can find more information on the project website.

The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss:

  • Identified alternative opportunities
  • New value propositions that can make them feasible
  • Challenges in developing these projects
  • Future research needed to encourage wider implementation.

The goals of the workshop were to:

  • Spark discussion about how WPTO can best support these opportunity areas moving forward, based on stakeholder needs
  • Identify partnerships and resources needed to implement these projects
  • Chart pathways to broaden deployment.

The workshop was held virtually on June 27th and 28th, 2022, from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm PT. Recorded presentations and materials will be made available after the workshop.

For more information about the Alternative Opportunities for Hydropower project, watch the recorded webinar, “Alternative Opportunities for Hydropower – Advancing hydropower’s unique, untapped value beyond traditional electricity production and distribution,” which was part of the WPTO Research and Development Deep Dive Webinar Series held on May 19, 2022. Click the link below to view a pdf of the webinar presentation: 

Please direct any questions to Lara Aston.

Workshop Recordings and Presentations



Presentation from Douglas County Public Utility District:

Water supply and treatment discussion:

Irrigation modernization discussion:

Environmental restoration and clean-up discussion:

Deferable loads discussion: