Currently, small hydropower (systems less than 10MW, or less than 40MW if built in conduit) may be an untapped resource in rural America. Beyond traditional deployments, there are substantial opportunities to integrate hydropower with other cooperative and community assets.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) sought to understand how the office can best support rural electric utilities with evaluating and integrating small hydropower systems. As a result, NRECA held two events with electric cooperative leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities of small hydropower.

This report explores the substantial opportunities for electric cooperatives, irrigation districts, municipal water systems, developers, and other rural stakeholders to derive value from small hydropower, and how barriers can be overcome with successful collaboration.