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By Zachary T. Williamson

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Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which, in turn, activates a generator to produce electricity. Current hydropower technologies can have undesirable environmental effects, such as fish injury and mortality from passage through hydropower systems, and negative impacts on the quality of water downstream. DOE has been working with industry to improve the environmental and operational performance of hydropower systems. DOE’s goal is to demonstrate advanced turbine technologies that will enable a 10 percent growth in generation at existing hydropower plants and enhance environmental performance by 2010.

Recently, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Chicago issued studies comparing nuclear power’s costs with other forms of generating electricity. [29] Both studies concluded that, assuming no unexpected costs or delays in licensing and construction, nuclear power is only marginally competitive with conventional coal and natural gas and, even then, only if the nuclear power industry significantly reduces anticipated construction costs. The nuclear power industry has proposed constructing modular plants based on a set of reference designs in the hopes of reducing construction costs.

For example, while Minnesota has more types of financial incentives for renewable energy than California, California’s rebate programs have a collective budget over 500 times greater than the budget for the single rebate program administered by Minnesota. Figure 5. Distribution of State Incentives and Policies for Renewable Energy. 42 GAO In addition to specific incentives and policies, some states have implemented statewide programs to stimulate the deployment of advanced renewable energy technologies.

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