Alden to host existing dam hydropower retrofit workshop

Fluid flow and environmental consulting company Alden Research Laboratory Inc. is planning a workshop designed to help hydro developers and municipalities deal with environmental and licensing challenges associated with developing conventional hydropower capabilities at existing dams. Currently, many U.S. hydropower developers are eyeing non-powered dams as an option for adding generation.

The workshop is planned for Oct. 19-20, 2010, in Worcester, Massachusetts.

This “how to” event will cover the challenges in existing dam power generation, from economic modeling to addressing governmental navigational and environmental concerns.

“The processes that our clients go through to license a project is complicated,” said Alden President Stuart Cain. “We’re pleased to be able to collaborate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, turbine developers, architectural engineering firms and other experts in the field to offer this workshop and help to provide guidance.”

Historically, dams and accompanying locks were sited on many of the large rivers in the United States in order to provide enough water depth to facilitate regular navigation for freight barges and other water craft. Many additional dams without electrical generation were built for other reasons, such as mill power and flood control. With recent high energy prices and government incentives, the installation of hydropower generation at these facilities has become economically attractive.

In the United States, only a small percentage of dams are used to generate electricity, leaving much potential in adding hydro generation to existing non-hydro dams.

The number of proposals to build new hydropower capacity in the United States is up about 30 percent from two years ago, federal regulatory officials reported. Many of such proposals are at existing federal dams.

It has been estimated that, of the 82,000 U.S. dams, only 3 percent are used to generate electricity.

For more information about the workshop, or to register, visit www.aldenlab.com or call Johanna Anderson at +1 508 829 6000 x6508.

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