The remnants of our industrial past are now being used to make clean electricity

By Ben Schiller

Small hydro is like big hydropower, but without the environmental side-effects that come from damming rivers. Across the U.S., there are thousands of places where sites could generate clean, predictable, and affordable small-scale hydropower, often with benefits to local communities.

The sites are mostly existing dams that haven't been converted for power generation, or old hydro plants that have ceased production. A Department of Energy report says converting just 100 of them could produce eight gigawatts of capacity—about half the U.S.'s current solar base.


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