With the recent and continuing increases in energy consumption, combined with strong environmental concerns, there has been a resurgence in the development of low-impact hydroelectric projects throughout North America and internationally. Within North America, the proposed developments have generally been limited to smaller run-of-river developments or the addition of low-head powerplants to existing in-river structures. Of particular interest have been the hydropower additions adjacent to existing lock and dam structures within the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River Basins. The existing lock and dam facilities are maintained and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and were developed to provide safe and efficient navigation along the rivers for commercial transport of goods. With the addition of a hydropower project, the developer is required to demonstrate that there will be no adverse impacts on navigation and flood levels within the vicinity of the project.This paper will consolidate and discuss the results of nine physical model studies that have been conducted for hydropower additions adjacent to existing lock and dam projects. The primary objective for each of the studies was to evaluate and resolve any impacts on navigation that the proposed development might impose. Secondary objectives have included verifying that the project would not adversely impact flood levels, scour and erosion or environmental habitats in the vicinity of the project. In addition, the project designers have utilized the models to refine the alignment and geometry of the powerhouse approach channel to minimize head losses while providing uniform flow distribution entering the powerhouse intake. In each case, the physical modeling was instrumental in optimizing a project layout that minimized the impacts on river navigation while providing approach and tailrace flow conditions compatible with efficient power generation. The experience gained and the “lessons learned” on the various projects are summarized and discussed, and design recommendations are developed that can be applied to future projects
Introduction:FERC’s Integrated Licensing Process (ILP) is applicable to both relicensing existing hydroelectric projects and developing new projects. FERC’s ILP was developed during a period when there were few applications being filed for new projects. Although applications for relicensings may likely continue to outnumber applications for new projects, the complexity and number of new projects being pursued into licensing has increased significantly in the past two years. New projects today include conventional small and medium-sized hydroelectric projects. Many are multiple use water and energy projects, which can be bundled with pumped storage and transmission. There are also growing numbers of new hydroelectric based technologies such as tidal and wave energy projects that require licensing and often multiple agency approvals.
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).
This report prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service in December 2008 analyzes the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) and its impacts on increasing the populations of anadromous fish in Central Valley rivers and streams. The CVPIA (1992) had a goal of doubling the population by 2002, which didn't happen. The report claims that this goal will not be achieved unless renewed commitments and improvements are made to the program.