Hydropower has been around for more than a century and is currently one of the nation’s largest sources of domestic renewable electricity. In certain parts of the country, it is the primary source of electrical power. It’s clean, stable, and reliable in a way several other competing forms of energy simply aren’t able to compete with. The future of hydropower is an impressive one. If you are interested in exploring a career in hydropower, there is really a lot to look forward to.
Hydropower currently provides about 7% of the nation’s electricity. That’s hydropower supporting more than 143,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing, construction, and utility operations and maintenance. And those are all considered green jobs, actively improving the environment and strengthening our economy at the same time. Additionally, pumped-storage hydropower represents 97% of all energy storage in the United States, offering the flexibility and reliability the electricity grid needs to deliver affordable clean energy to American homes and businesses. That’s the type of energy generation that communities and politicians alike want to get behind.
To get a better look at what the future of hydropower holds for the country, the Energy Department collaborated with more than 300 experts from more than 150 hydropower industry companies, environmental organizations, state and federal governmental agencies, academic institutions, electric power system operators, research institutions and other stakeholders to explore how the industry could evolve in the coming decades. According to the experts, hydropower has the potential to support more than 195,000 jobs across the nation in 2050. Within the same time frame, hydropower can save 30 trillion gallons of water, equivalent to roughly 45 million Olympic-size swimming pools. Furthermore, by 2050 hydropower could reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 5.6 gigatonnes. That’s the equivalent of nearly 1.2 billion passenger vehicles driven in a year. Through hydropower, we could be saving $209 billion from avoided global damages from climate change. That’s a future we can all invest in.
However, that potential must be protected. Although hydropower is the nation’s oldest form of renewable electricity, many actions and efforts remain critical to further advancement of domestic hydropower as a key energy source of the future. These include continued technology development that lowers costs and the availability of market mechanisms that take into account the value of the grid reliability services, air quality, and reduced emissions that hydropower provides. That potential is something that agencies and private sector companies are eager to tap and protect. They will do so by hiring committed and talented experts in engineering and power generation to help fulfill the full potential of the industry. That means big opportunities for you in the coming years.
For more advice on how to build your career in the hydropower industry, connect with the recruiting team at ESGI today.