The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) must balance environmental protection of riverine resources with the nation's growing demand for power production every time it issues a hydroelectric license. This paper models the bureaucratic agency's decision-making process in issuing these licenses. Data on nearly 500 hydro-power licenses issued from 1983 to 2005 are utilized. It is discovered that legislative and institutional constraints are, by far, the largest influences on FERC's regulatory decisions, implying that if the current allocation of surface water in the United States is considered inefficient, the most effective way to alter this allocation is by passing new legislation, or by implementing institutional reform at FERC.
While only about 30 percent of California’s usable water storage capacity lies at higher elevations, high‐elevation hydropower units generate, on average, 74 percent of California’s instate hydroelectricity. In general, high‐elevation plants have small man‐made reservoirs and rely mainly on snowpack. Their low built‐in storage capacity is a concern with regard to climate warming. Snowmelt is expected to shift to earlier in the year, and the system may not be able to store sufficient water for release in high‐demand periods. Previous studies have explored the climate warming effects on California’s high‐elevation hydropower system by focusing on the supply side (exploring the effects of hydrological changes on generation and revenues) but they have ignored the warming effects on hydropower demand and pricing. This study extends the previous work by simultaneous consideration of climate change effects on high‐elevation hydropower supply and demand in California. Artificial Neural Network models were developed as long‐term price estimation tools, to investigate the impact of climate warming on energy prices. California’s Energy‐Based Hydropower Optimization Model (EBHOM) was then applied, to estimate the adaptability of California’s high‐elevation hydropower system to climate warming, considering the warming effects on hydropower supply and demand. The model was run for dry and wet warming scenarios, representing a range of hydrological changes under climate change. The model’s results relative to energy generation, energy spills, reservoir energy storage, and average shadow prices of energy generation and storage capacity expansion are examined and discussed. The modeling results are compared with previous studies to emphasize the need to consider climate change effects on hydroelectricity demand and pricing when exploring the effects of climate change on California’s hydropower system.
Available Online at https://www.energy.ca.gov/2012publications/CEC-500-2012-020/CEC-500-2012-020.pdf
Outdoor recreation is a major, growing use of water resources in the United States. The economic effects of expenditure by visitors to three recreational river sites on local economies surrounding the sites were estimated using an input-output model (IMPLAN). Expenditure data were from the Public Area Recreation Visitors Study (PARVS). Results indicate that visitor spending stimulates a consideratble amount of economic activity and growth in local economies. Economic effects include increases in total gross output ranging from $2.6 million to $13.4 million, increases in total income ranging from $1.2 million to $5.6 million, and increases in employment ranging from 60 to 292 jobs.
Available online at https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/ja/uncaptured/ja_cordell007.pdf
This report is to develop a list of likely candidate dams for removal within the Muskegon River Watershed based on a number factors. The report ranks 15 dams as the most favorable for removal, at minimal cost and with minimal public and private opposition based on available information.