The Hydropower Reform Coalition and the National Park Service have collaborated to produce an assessment of the recreational issues surrounding a proposed tidal energy project in the Kenai Peninsula near Nikiski Alaska.
The ability to identify renewable energy resources is of paramount importance in reducing fossil fuel dependency and addressing climate change. The Rapid Hydropower Assessment Model (RHAM) uses a Geographic Information System (GIS) to identify hydroelectric power opportunities. Using a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and regional hydrologic data, RHAM calculates the amount of hydroelectric power available on all streams in a study area, screening out sites within parks and environmentally sensitive areas, and estimates project costs. RHAM can also assess the suitability of hydroelectric development in a given area, taking into account economic, environmental and social factors, and can assess storage hydro and clustered developments.n 2007, RHAM was used to assess run-of-river hydroelectric potential for the Province of British Columbia, Canada, an area of approximately 95 million hectares. Over 8,000 potential hydroelectric opportunities were identified. The Consulting Engineers of British Columbia recognized RHAM with an Award of Merit in 2008. RHAM is being applied in other parts of the world to unlock hydroelectric potential, reduce carbon fuel dependence, and help ensure a sustainable energy future for the world.
This paper presents an overview and some of the key points of the 2009 Assessment of Waterpower Potential and Development Needs Report prepared by EPRI and can be found on their website www.epri.com. The assessment projects the amount of additional waterpower capacity that could be developed in the U.S. under conservative and aggressive scenarios. The middle ground or likely scenario is that with increased levels of research support and incentive programs, the U. S. can develop an additional 39,750 MW of waterpower capacity from existing conventional hydroelectric facilities and emerging waterpower technologies that access the energy potential of river, tidal, constructed waterway currents and the energy of ocean waves and thermal gradients.Existing conventional hydropower generation represents 70 percent of the U.S. renewable energy generation (over 248,312 GWH) and the opportunity exists to expand this resource. The potential for waterpower expansion, at existing hydroelectric facilities, at dams without powerhouses, and from the emerging next generation of waterpower technologies, represents a substantial increase to the nation’s renewable domestic power supply. The 2007 estimate for waterpower that could be developed by 2025 exceeds the total wind capacity brought on line over the past 30 years (20,152 MW).