State Models to Incentivize and Streamline Small Hydropower Development

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


In 2016, the hydropower fleet in the United States produced more than 6 percent (approximately 265,829 gigawatt-hours [GWh]) of the total net electricity generation. The median-size hydroelectric facility in the United States is 1.6 MW and 75 percent of total facilities have a nameplate capacity of 10 MW or less. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydropower Vision study identified approximately 79 GW hydroelectric potential beyond what is already developed. Much of the potential identified is at low-impact new stream-reaches, existing conduits, and non-powered dams with a median project size of 10 MW or less. To optimize the potential and value of small hydropower development, state governments are crafting policies that provide financial assistance and expedite state and federal review processes for small hydroelectric projects. This report analyzes state-led initiatives and programs that incentivize and streamline small hydroelectric development.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages53
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-70098


  • financial incentives
  • permitting
  • regulatory
  • small hydropower


Dive into the research topics of 'State Models to Incentivize and Streamline Small Hydropower Development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this