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National Hydropower Asset Assessment Program (NHAAP)

Topic: Clean Energy

The National Hydropower Asset Assessment Program (NHAAP), is a comprehensive data service effort to support the DOE Water Power Program for various U.S. hydropower research and development (R&D) data needs. The main objectives of NHAAP are to (1) provide a variety of U.S. hydropower information related to existing hydropower assets, undeveloped resources, future water availability, and environmental attributes to support various hydropower R&D research; (2) continually update and expand NHAAP data to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of U.S. hydropower statistics; and (3) promote U.S. hydropower market acceleration and deployment and provide publicly accessible hydropower data through dedicated outreach and coordination efforts. 

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) NHAAP team uses an innovative approach with state-of-the art geospatial database capabilities to assimilate and model data from multiple disparate sources to deliver consistent and up-to-date hydropower information that is critical for stimulating U.S. hydropower market acceleration, deployment, technology-to-market activities, and environmental impact assessment. Through ongoing development efforts, the NHAAP team aims to increase the quality, functionality, and depth of details of the NHAAP database and to build on its analysis capabilities to enable more effective and efficient support for DOE Water Power Program activities. 

Scope of the Project

Because of the dispersed regulatory responsibilities of hydropower among various agencies (e.g., Federal Regulatory Energy Commission [FERC], Bureau of Reclamation [Reclamation], U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [USACE], and the Tennessee Valley Authority), a nationally comprehensive U.S. hydropower database was not available, hindering various national hydropower R&D efforts. This data gap motivated the creating of NHAAP, with the initial objective to assemble and maintain a complete U.S. existing hydropower assets (EHA) data set that captures main hydropower dam, plant, and generator characteristics for all federal and non-federal projects across the country. The NHAAP scope was later expanded to include the potential resources of national hydropower non-power dams (NPDs) and new stream-reach development (NSD) that provide reconnaissance-level estimates of undeveloped U.S. hydropower resources based on multiple state-of-the-art national geospatial data sets related to topography, hydrology, and environmental characteristics. To provide the broader hydropower community with more clarity on the potential environmental impacts and market barriers, during FY14–FY16 NHAAP put a a target="_blank" href="link" emphasis on expanding its hydropower environmental information through a series of environmental attribution (EA)mitigation prediction tool, and stream classification tool (SCT) research. These efforts assimilated a wide variety of environmental geospatial data, as well as summarizing mitigation options from issued FERC licenses. To date, NHAAP has collected a comprehensive set of U.S. hydropower asset, resource, and environmental information, and has provided fundamental information to support multiple DOE R&D activities, including the DOE Water Power Vision, U.S. Hydropower Market Report, SECURE Water Act Section 9505 report to Congress, and other projects.

A wide variety of data is needed to support U.S. hydropower R&D activities.

To ensure the usefulness of NHAAP to the broader U.S. hydropower stakeholder groups, including hydropower developers, environmental stakeholders, legal and policy authorities, research organizations, and other energy-water federal agencies, during FY14–FY16 NHAAP was also dedicated to outreach and external data support activities. In response to frequent external user data requests and suggestions, the NHAAP team has assembled multiple publicly accessible data layers such as the regional and state hydropower asset summaries and the National Hydropower Plant Data Set to support a wide variety of NHAAP data usage. In addition, the team also produced visualizations such as the National Hydropower Map to support public outreach and communication needs. New NHAAP website data search and retrieval functions will also be provided to help public users access NHAAP data more efficiently.