Policy/Law

Hydro Licensing: Get Organized- Stay Organized

Source: 
Waterpower XVI
Year: 
2009
Abstract: 

The federal licensing or relicensing of a hydroelectric project involves long and convoluted processes that can be very daunting. Those who carefully plan and organize a projected licensing effort in a comprehensive manner will face less difficulty. Managers of licensing projects and key decision makers participating on a hydro licensing team need to appreciate the various nuances and challenges they could face through the multi year process in order to adjust their approach as circumstances change through the process.

Each licensing project is unique and each prospective license applicant has a different management structure and company business philosophies. The planned licensing project needs to be adapted to work within these constraints. The size and complexity of the hydro project also can significantly affect the approach and level of effort needed to get the job done. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how to take these variables into consideration when tailoring a licensing organization that is best adapted to suit the situation. The author will draw from his experience to present a variety of large and small licensing project examples.

Author(s): 

Jerry Sabattis

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Hoover Dam Modernization Project First of Its Kind

Source: 
Waterpower XVI
Year: 
2009
Abstract: 

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), established in 1902, is best known for the dams, power plants, and canals it constructed in the 17 western states that led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. Reclamation has constructed more than 600 dams and reservoirs including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Reclamation is the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States. Its 58 power plants annually provide more than 40 billion kilowatt hours annually, generating nearly a billion dollars in power revenues, and producing enough electricity to serve six million homes.In October 2006, Reclamation awarded a contract for the modernization of the 26 hydroelectric generating units at Hoover, Davis, and Parker Dams on the lower Colorado River. Hoover Dam power generation is used to meet load regulation requirements and fast, predictable, repeatable unit control provides significant benefits. The project upgrades all unit control and protection equipment, replacing some equipment dating back to the 1940s that was not easily maintainable.Unique about this project was that Reclamation elected to obtain a commercial solution based on demonstrated success by the vendor in recent similar projects rather than issuing the traditional custom design specification. The vendor was to use commercially available components and previously proven designs. Reclamation identified work boundaries, conceptual requirements and objectives stating that cutting-edge technologies and custom solutions would not be considered.L&S Electric, Inc. (Rothschild, Wis.), was awarded a $5.7 million contract for the modernization project to upgrade the existing mechanical governors to digital, install new digital generator and transformer protective relays, install new programmable-logic-controller-based unit controls, and replace static pilot exciters with new digital equipment. L&S Electric was responsible for system integration, engineering and equipment modernization, and was required to standardize the hardware design for all 26 units. Twenty months after the contract was awarded, the first six upgraded units were operational. This is no small feat considering that similar automation projects based on traditional government specifications have taken five to 10 years from award to operation.The benefits received from just eight of 26 upgrades have already improved power system control. Power system oscillations caused by rapid changes in demand during heavy summer power requirements were reduced during the summer of 2008 using the improved unit control responses. Significant improvements are expected in operating efficiency (power produced from water delivered) as the remaining upgrades are completed.

Author(s): 

Chau Nguyen, Terry Bauman

Contact: 
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Opportunities in Pumped Storage Hydropower: Supporting Attainment of Our Renewable Energy Goals

Source: 
Waterpower XVI
Year: 
2009
Abstract: 

Since its inception in the 1930s, pumped storage hydro has provided significant benefits to our energy supply system including storage, load balancing, frequency control and reserve generation. Pumped storage is now being applied to firm the variability of renewable power sources, such as wind and solar generation. Pumped storage absorbs load at times of high output and low demand, while providing additional peak capacity. With the advent of state by state Renewable Portfolio Standards driving the planning and commissioning of a tremendous amount of variable renewable energy projects across the country, America’s electrical energy infrastructure needs storage capacity more than ever. Pumped storage hydro is proving to be an enabling technology for these growing variable renewable power sources’ penetration into the United States energy supply system.While the 31 GW of new pumped storage project proposals now before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission demonstrates the hydropower industry’s commitment to building new pumped storage capacity to support variable renewable sources, developers still face significant obstacles, including an uncertain investment climate and long development timelines. Expanding the current investment and production tax credits, the possible creation of an energy storage credit, coupled with policies that recognize pumped storage as a part of the transmission system for purposes of qualifying for the transmission rate incentives currently afforded to transmission system upgrades and expansions, would encourage investment in pumped storage. This growth would displace the need for additional fossil-fuel based peaking generation, and provide the load management capacity necessary to meet our national renewable energy goals

Author(s): 

Rick Miller, Maureen Winters

Contact: 
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The Nation's First Commercial Hydrokinetic Power Project and New Technology Development of Hydro Green Energy

Source: 
Waterpower XVI
Year: 
2009
Abstract: 

In early 2009, operations began in the City of Hastings, Minnesota, at the nation’s first commercially-operational, FERC-licensed hydrokinetic power facility (P-4306-017). In what was originally dubbed as a “big science experiment” by the City’s management, came a unique public-private green energy partnership that is taking the hydrokinetic power industry to new heights. At Hastings, Hydro Green installed two hydrokinetic power turbines downstream from the City’s 4.4 MW hydropower plant to increase overall capacity. This unique application of Hydro Green Energy’s patented hydrokinetic technology at an existing hydropower project is increasing the City’s clean energy output and is a technology application that has worldwide use. This paper examines the project and its data. Additionally, Hydro Green Energy’s experiences at Hastings have led to the development of a potentially game-changing technology that is currently under development and previewed in this paper. 

Author(s): 

W. Krouse, M. Stover, H. Greenberg

Contact: 
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