• HOME
  • TOOL
  • About


    This tool is developed to analyze the feasibility of retrofitting existing non-powered dams (NPDs) with generation and energy storage technologies. The tool provides development feasibility ratings based on adding generation paired with energy storage (batteries, hydrogen, pumped storage hydro) to existing NPDs.

    This web-based interactive tool lets the user choose from a wide range of features to define each of the benefits through a user-friendly graphical user interface. These features are related to dam operation, hydropower opportunity, power market economy, social vulnerability and risk, proximity to critical infrastructure and energy generating facilities, environmental concerns (air, water, and critical habitat), and natural hazard potential. The overall priority score of NPDs is calculated based on user-defined weights for each of the benefits.

    Besides ranking NPDs, the tool can also be used to estimate the energy-storage feasibility (battery, hydrogen, and pump-storage hydro) at each of the potential sites.

    Why the NPD Hydro Tool?

    Currently, there are more than 80,000 non-powered dams (NPDs) in the United States. These NPDs provide a variety of non-energy benefits, including flood control, water supply, navigation, and recreation.

    Approximately 500 of these NPDs are identified as having the potential to add hydropower generation. A large share of investment costs and environmental impacts of dam construction have already been incurred at these NPDs. Hence, adding power to the existing dam structure is hypothesized to be achieved at a lower cost, with less risk, and a shorter timeframe than the development required for new dam construction.

    To assess the NPDs to hydropower conversion potential (retrofitting), we developed a GIS-based multi-criterial decision analysis tool, which allows users to rank these NPDs retrofits based on the grid, community, industry, and environmental benefits.

    Contact us:
    Research | Site Administrator | Department of Energy Vulnerability Disclosure Program