July 15, 2010

Jobs Created In Hydropower Improvement Act

Crapo a part of bipartisan effort to produce clean energy at more dams

Washington, D.C. - Idaho could benefit through the job creation and increase in renewable energy production expected if Congress approves the bipartisan Hydropower Improvement Act of 2010. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has joined Senators Patty Murray (D-Washington), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) to introduce the legislation that would bring technology upgrades and energy production capabilities to existing dams.

"There are estimates that this legislation could create 1.4 million jobs over the next 15 years," Crapo said. "In addition to putting people to work, we can continue to broaden our alternative energy portfolio and move closer to ending our dependence on energy provided by foreign oil. This legislation is another step in the process, and I am pleased to see it introduced by a bipartisan coalition in the Senate."

Currently, hydropower provides about 7 percent of the nation's energy needs, avoiding 225 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year. Only 3 percent of the country's dams are electrified. The Hydropower Improvement Act would establish a competitive grant program and direct the U.S. Department of Energy to produce and implement plans to research, develop and demonstrate increased hydropower capacity at existing facilities.

Industry observers say the plan can bring new technologies to market and increase the pool of skilled workers to expand the benefits of pollution-free hydropower. The legislation could create more than 75,000 megawatts of clean energy.