Hydro Review

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EPRI reports hydro could provide 3% of U.S. annual demand

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has determined that undeveloped hydrokinetic energy in U.S. rivers could provide 3% of the nation's annual demand for electricity. EPRI made the determination after a mapping and assessment of hydrokinetic resources in rivers of the continental U.S.

The assessment, which analyzed 71,398 river segments across the 48 contiguous states and additional segments in Alaska, yielded a total theoretical resource estimate of 1,381 TWh/yr, which is 25% of annual U.S. electricity consumption. That number was adjusted to a technically recoverable estimate because of constraints to developing the resource, EPRI waterpower research project manager Paul Jacobson said.

The technically recoverable resource estimate for the continental U.S. is 120 TWh/yr, about 3% of annual U.S. electricity consumption. The amount of that which is practically recoverable would be lower than 3%.

"The assessment shows that hydrokinetic generation could be an important renewable energy option for the United States," Jacobson said.

The Lower Mississippi region would contribute almost half of the technically recoverable resource estimate. Alaska would provide 17.1%, the Pacific Northwest region 9.2%, and the Ohio region 5.7%. Those four regions comprise about 80% of the technically recoverable hydrokinetic resources in the continental U.S.

Normandeau Associates to research fish at eight plants

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a US$3.1 million contract to Normandeau Associates Inc. to perform fish counting services at eight federal hydropower project along the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Normandeau is to count adult fish passing through ladders at the 1,076.6-MW Bonneville, 1,780-MW Dalles, 2,160-MW John Day, 980-MW McNary, 603-MW Ice Harbor, 810-MW Lower Monumental, 810-MW Little Goose, and 810-MW Lower Granite facilities.

Fish counting is to produce technical information to help the Corps make engineering and operational decisions to provide safe, efficient fish passage. Various groups and agencies also use fish counts for research in the basins.

Geophysical surveying being performed at Isabella Dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to perform geophysical surveying of Isabella Dam on California's Kern River. Built in 1953 as a flood control and water conservation structure, Isabella Dam is being studied for remedial actions to prevent possible failure during earthquakes.

Isabella Dam is the site of the 11.95-MW Isabella project.

Geophysical surveying worked to be performed on the dam will focus on data collection below the realignment of the auxiliary dam and characterization of the bedrock around a proposed cut for the Borel canal realignment and spillway.

Hydro-Quebec seeks partners to test SCOMPI robot

Hydro-Quebec is working to develop partnering arrangements to provide hydropower equipment manufacturing and refurbishment services using Hydro-Quebec's SCOMPI robot technology.

The SCOMPI robot was developed by the Hydro-Quebec Research Institute (IREQ) in a program to fight cavitation, which damages the steel surface of turbines and requires costly repairs. IREQ conducts research projects to extend service life of facilities, boost performance, optimize maintenance, support energy efficiency and improve customer service.

Since the first model of the robot was developed in 1991, the utility has used four generations of SCOMPI to perform more than 40 major jobs. The robot can be used for repairing cracks and cavitation damage, reinforcing runners, preventive build-up welding, reshaping runner blades, refurbishing powerhouse and spillway head gates, and manufacturing turbine runners.

Corps to monitor dissolved gas, temperature at three projects

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to perform total dissolved gas (TDG) and temperature monitoring at three projects in the Columbia River Basin: 2,457.3-MW Chief Joseph on the in Washington, 525-MW Libby in Montana and 42.6-MW Albeni Falls in Idaho.

The Corps is monitoring these parameters to better understand and manage flow and spill at these dams. Work will involve calibration and maintenance of TDG and temperature probes, as well as a special temperature study at Albeni Falls Dam.

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