Submitted by Rupak Thapaliya on Wed, 2008-01-09 10:33
This paper reviews the AWARE™ software distributed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The program is designed to facilitate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license renewal process for US hydropower installations. The discussion reviews the regulatory, legal, and social contexts that give rise to the creation and distribution ofAWARE™. The principal legal impetus for AWARE™ is the Electric Consumer Protection Act (ECPA) of 1 986 that directs FERC to give equal consideration topower and nonpower resources during relicensing. The software is reviewed in this paper from several perspectives including those of natural resource economics, systems modeling, and the social context within which FERC licensing decisions are made. We examine both the software and its underlying methodology and find significant problems with each. Because of its flaws, AWARE™ does little to further ECPA's equal consideration requirement. We And that the conservation and restoration impact of ECPA for US fisheries could be seriously hampered by the widespread use of AWARE™.
The Science Guide entitled Scientific Approaches for Evaluating Hydroelectric Project Effects published by HRC is now available online. This guide discusses the range of studies available to evaluate the effects of a typical hydropower project, advising on the advantages and disadvantages of an approach.
Most recent instream flow studies used one of three approaches. (1) PHABSIM remains popular but has major flaws, including the failure to establish and appropriate spatial resolution and use it throughout the method: a decision variable, Weighted Usable Area, that lacks biological meaning; and lack of a sound conceptual basis, which encourages ad hoc and poorly conceived methods for applying the approach. Some of PHABSIM
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