HydroSource: Revolutionizing Hydropower Landscape with Advanced Data Tools

by | Aug 22, 2023

Hydropower is becoming a major player in renewable energy, using the energy from flowing water to generate electricity. To optimize hydropower and minimize environmental impact, understanding data and using innovative tools are crucial. HydroSource, an online platform developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), aims to revolutionize the management and analysis of hydropower data. With a focus on safety, sustainability, and efficiency, HydroSource is reshaping the industry.

At the heart of HydroSource is the Existing Hydropower Assets (EHA) Plant database, which provides detailed information on current hydropower plants in the U.S. This data empowers stakeholders to assess infrastructure and make informed decisions. But HydroSource goes further by offering tools to manage and analyze complex hydrology data. The HydroSource Data Explorer allows users to explore available data, aiding research and assessment of untapped hydropower potential.

Collaboration is a key part of HydroSource’s strategy. The platform engages with hydropower users and potential stakeholders, partnering with the Internet of Water (IoW) Coalition. By sharing and integrating data on hydropower resources, development, and operations, HydroSource becomes a valuable resource for the water data community. The platform’s commitment to open science and data accessibility is evident through its adherence to the FAIR principles, ensuring users can easily navigate and understand the information provided.

With climate change in mind, HydroSource is developing a model-data integration platform to understand the risks associated with water availability and the resilience of hydropower assets. Stakeholders can use high-resolution downscaled hydroclimate projections to mitigate the effects of climate change on hydropower generation.

HydroSource also benefits beyond hydropower. By collaborating with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hydro Network-Linked Data Index, the platform ensures that data and metadata are discoverable through web and hydrologic searches. This centralized access to integrated products and tools enhances understanding of energy-water systems and supports sustainable water resource management.

Environmental stewardship is a key focus for HydroSource. The platform provides resources for assessing new hydropower developments and identifying untapped streams in the U.S., enabling stakeholders to make informed decisions that minimize environmental impacts. By mitigating negative effects on waterways and ecosystems, HydroSource demonstrates its dedication to sustainable energy generation.

The U.S. hydropower sector has significant growth potential, with projections indicating capacity could increase from 101 GW to nearly 150 GW by 2050. HydroSource’s data-driven approach will play a crucial role in supporting the maintenance and potential expansion of the U.S. hydropower fleet, ensuring reliable electricity production while mitigating climate change.

In conclusion, HydroSource is transforming the future of hydropower. By providing access to comprehensive data, advanced tools, and collaborative partnerships, the platform is reshaping hydropower operations. With its focus on innovation, environmental stewardship, and open science, HydroSource is driving the industry towards safer, more sustainable, and efficient energy generation. The potential for growth is immense, and HydroSource is leading the way in revolutionizing the hydropower sector for a greener future.