Nonpowered dams could be a help in expanding the country's renewable-energy supply, according to a report from the Department of Energy. Of the more than 80,000 nonpowered dams in the country, 54,000 of the largest ones could generate more than 12 gigawatts of electricity. "Adding power to the existing dam structure can often be achieved at lower cost, with less risk, and in a shorter timeframe than development requiring new dam construction," the report notes.

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