Friday, October 19, 2012

Hydropower Modern Concepts and Future Role

Hydropower does not discharge pollutants into the environment; however, it is not free from adverse environmental effects. Considerable efforts have been made to reduce environmental problems associated with hydropower operations, such as providing safe fish passage and improved water quality in the past decade at both Federal facilities and non-Federal facilities licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Efforts to ensure the safety of dams and the use of newly available computer technologies to optimize operations have provided additional opportunities to improve the environment. Yet, many unanswered questions remain about how best to maintain the economic viability of hydropower in the face of increased demands to protect fish and other environmental resources.

Reclamation actively pursues research and development (R&D) programs to improve the operating efficiency and the environmental performance of hydropower facilities.

Hydropower research and development today is primarily being conducted in the following areas:

Fish Passage, Behavior, and Response

Turbine-Related Projects

Monitoring Tool Development


Water Quality

Dam Safety

Operations & Maintenance

Water Resources Management

Reclamation continues to work to improve the reliability and efficiency of generating hydropower. Today, engineers want to make the most of new and existing facilities to increase production and efficiency. Existing hydropower concepts and approaches include:

ü  Uprating existing power plants

ü  Developing small plants (low-head hydropower)

ü  Peaking with hydropower

ü  Pumped storage

ü  Tying hydropower to other forms of energy

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