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New Stream-reach Development Resource Assessment

The New Stream-reach Development Resource Assessment (NSD) project uses an innovative geographic approach to analyze the potential for new hydropower development in US stream segments that do not currently have hydroelectric facilities. NSD is one among other types of untapped hydropower potential such as non-powered dams, existing hydropower facilities, pumped storage, and small conduits. The NSD project considers “new stream-reach development” (assessments conducted for the conterminous US) and "new site development" (assessments conducted for Alaska and Hawaii) distinct from other hydropower resource classes identified by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Program.

Developed and implemented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the DOE Water Power Program, the assessments leverage recent advancements in various geographic datasets on topography, hydrology, and environmental characteristics to develop the highest resolution and most rigorous national evaluation of US hydropower potential to date. NSD assessments are not intended to determine economic feasibility or to justify financial investments in individual site development. The NSD project does, however, identify high-energy intensity stream-reaches and classify new potential areas for hydropower development using a range of technical, socio-economic, and environmental characteristics. The primary goal of this initiative is to produce and disseminate information and data that are applicable to multiple types of assessments, scenarios, and assumptions, ultimately leading to improved decision making and strategic planning by various organizations and individuals.


Information & Data:



[Citation] Kao, S.-C., R. A. McManamay, K. M. Stewart, N. M. Samu, B. Hadjerioua, S. T. DeNeale, D. Yeasmin, M. F. K. Pasha, A. A. Oubeidillah, and B. T. Smith (2014), New Stream-reach Development: A Comprehensive Assessment of Hydropower Energy Potential in the United States, GPO DOE/EE-1063, Wind and Water Power Program, Department of Energy, Washington, DC.

[Citation] Hadjerioua, B., S.-C. Kao, R.A. McManamay, M.F.K. Pasha, D. Yeasmin, A.A. Oubeidillah, N.M. Samu, K.M. Stewart, M.S. Bevelhimer, S.L. Hetrick, Y. Wei, B.T. Smith (2013), An Assessment of Energy Potential from New Stream-reach Development in the United States: Initial Report on Methodology, Technical Manual 2012/298, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.

Figure 1. Download a printable map


Download Full NSD Datasets for the Conterminous United States

Note: Data are PROVISIONAL and subject to revision.

Click any region from one of the tables below to access detailed assessment information and data.

Summary of NSD Findings by Region for the Conterminous US

Region Total Potential in Undeveloped Stream-reaches Potential Capacity (MW) Potential Annual Generation (MWh) Capacity Factor
New England (HUC-01) Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 1,050 6,161,000 67%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 1,093 6,272,000 66%
Mid Atlantic (HUC-02) Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 3,043 16,711,000 63%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 1,667 9,234,000 63%
South Atlantic-Gulf (HUC-03) Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 1,389 7,785,000 64%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 1,172 6,420,000 63%
Great Lakes (HUC-04) Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 265 1,538,000 66%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 1,160 6,906,000 68%
Ohio (HUC-05)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 3,043 16,304,000 61%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 1,714 8,984,000 60%
Tennessee (HUC-06)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 747 4,383,000 67%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 616 3,612,000 67%
Upper Mississippi (HUC-07)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 1,055 5,979,000 65%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 1,026 5,567,000 62%
Lower Mississippi (HUC-08)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 1,741 10,395,000 68%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 331 1,679,000 58%
Souris-Red-Rainy (HUC-09)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 68 375,000 63%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 82 412,000 57%
Missouri (HUC-10)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 8,659 51,826,000 68%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 3,027 17,185,000 65%
Arkansas-White-Red (HUC-11)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 4,442 25,865,000 66%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 1,571 8,129,000 59%
Texas-Gulf (HUC-12)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 395 1,917,000 55%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 388 1,749,000 52%
Rio Grande (HUC-13)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 1,336 7,705,000 66%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 301 1,605,000 61%
Upper Colorado (HUC-14)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 1,942 11,845,000 70%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 1,091 6,387,000 67%
Lower Colorado (HUC-15)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 2,166 13,577,000 72%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 447 2,696,000 69%
Great Basin (HUC-16)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 148 845,000 65%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 416 2,260,000 62%
Pacific Northwest (HUC-17)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 15,997 96,756,000 69%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 9,228 52,244,000 65%
California (HUC-18)
Larger Stream-reaches (>1MW per reach) 4,029 22,108,000 63%
Smaller Stream-reaches (<1MW per reach) 3,025 15,879,000 60%


Summary of Findings for Alaska and Hawaii Assessments

Region Potential Capacity (MW) Potential Annual Generation (MWh) Capacity Factor
Alaska (HUC-19) 4,723 Not Applicable Not Applicable
Hawaii (HUC-20) 145 699,005 53%