Hydroelectric power makes big comeback at US dams

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Decades after it fell out of favor with utilities, hydroelectric power is making a comeback.

Hydroelectric power development stagnated in the 1980s and 1990s as environmental groups lobbied against it and a long regulatory process required years of environmental study.

But for the first time in years, power companies are now proposing new projects. They want to take advantage of state and federal financial incentives, policies that promote renewable energy over fossil fuels and efforts to streamline the government permit process.

Most of the potential projects are at existing dams that do not yet have generators. The interest in hydropower is so intense that some utilities are competing to build plants at the same dams.

Hydroelectricity currently provides about 7 percent of the nation’s power.

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