10 Apr '11, 11am

How America could easily add 6 nuclear reactors’ worth of hydro power

A new analysis by Oakridge National Laboratory (ORNL) says that America could generate 12.6 gigawatts of always-on peak baseload power just by adding electrical generation capacity to existing dams that don't already have it. That's 12 6 (big) nuclear reactors' worth -- the average reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant produced only 0.78 GW . [Update: Jesse Jenkins at The Breakthrough Institute points out that the capacity factor for most hydroelectric projects hovers around 50%. This means that on average they can only produce half the electricity they are rated for, mostly because of variability in their energy supply -- water. On the other hand, hydroelectric plants are often useful for balancing out other renewables, as they can often produce more power on-demand. The headline of this piece has also been changed to reflect this.] Much of that power-generating capacity...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/list/how-america-could-easily-add-6-...

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