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Hydro Review

Tech Briefs

Website offers data on hydro facilities worldwide

The Global Energy Observatory website offers information on power plants around the world, including hydroelectric facilities.

The website, which is located at globalenergyobservatory.org, was developed by Dr. Rajan Gupta with Los Alamos National Laboratory. The goal is to help accelerate all three aspects of the global energy challenge: access to affordable energy by the global population, moving our energy systems to carbon-neutral ones, and achieving these in environmentally responsible and economically viable ways.

For power plants, a variety of data can be accessed, which includes:

- A map of plants by country and state, which can be broken down by generating technology, including hydro. Clicking on one of the plants gives its name, generating capacity and a link to a fact sheet; and

- Plant data accessible by choosing plant type (including hydro), country, state and specific plant name. Data provided includes location coordinates, a plant description including generating capacity, unit information (number of units and commissioning date of each), owner, and reference data.

Users are invited to help contribute further data to the website, specifically with regard to precise geospatial location, power plant description, infrastructure and operating costs, and environmental impacts. A username and password are required to make updates to the database.

Hydroelectric industry editors blog on HydroWorld.com

The new Hydro Talk blog at www.hydroworld.com features weekly posts on a variety of topics of interest to the hydropower industry.

Blogs will be written by the editors who contribute to Hydro Review magazine: senior editor Elizabeth Ingram, online editor Michael Harris and associate editor Bethany Duarte.

The first blog, posted in April, discusses the state of all the legislation currently being considered that has the ability to boost hydroelectric power in the U.S., including: the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation Act, Hydropower Improvement Act of 2013 and Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013.

Other topics addressed pull from the editors' experiences working in and writing about hydropower, such as Harris' recent opportunity to sit in on a full committee hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources to consider testimony on several energy efficiency and hydropower bills and Duarte's take on what is needed to attract the next generation of workers to hydro.

This blog is intended to be interactive and spark debate and feedback. Readers are encouraged to leave comments or suggest discussion topics and share the blog on social media platforms.

USGS releases report on managing Mead, Mohave lakes

The U.S. Geological Survey offers A Synthesis of Aquatic Science for Management of Lakes Mead and Mohave, a report detailing the results of years of monitoring and research in these two lakes.

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir by volume in the U.S., stores water for municipal and irrigation use and provides important aquatic habitat for a variety of wildlife and a diversity of water-based recreational opportunities. It is one of the most extensively used and intensively monitored reservoirs in the U.S. The water is used to produce power at the 2,078-MW Hoover plant. Lake Mohave downstream from Lake Mead stores water used to generate power at the 251-MW Davis Dam project.

Multiple agencies are involved in monitoring and research on the lake to assess water quality, water-dependent resources and ecosystem health. This report summarizes the state of knowledge related to the interests and objectives of the Lake Mead Ecosystem Monitoring Work Group, which was developed in 2012 to further work to protect Lake Mead and Lake Mohave water quality and water-dependent resources. The report is intended to inform management and the public of current lake conditions and identify future needs for monitoring and research.

The 172-page bulletin, called Circular 1381, has seven chapters:

- Introduction and summary of findings;

- Environmental setting of Lake Mead National Recreation Area;

- Hydrology and management of lakes Mead and Mohave within the Colorado River Basin;

- Lake water quality;

- Wildlife and biological resources;

- Threats and stressors to the health of the ecosystems of lakes Mead and Mohave; and

- The management implications of the science.

- The circular is available at pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1381.

Online generator forum reaches 1,500 members

The International Generator Technical Community has reached the 1,500 member milestone, the group announces. IGTC is an online forum designed to help generator owners and operators and power plant industry technicians connect with one another, according to its founder, National Electric Coil.

The forum, at www.generatortechnicalforum.org, includes members from almost 70 countries around the globe who are able to share "their time, ideas and expertise" via the site's message boards.

Each forum on the site is monitored by volunteer experts, called moderators. To preserve the site's integrity, membership is limited to personnel with day-to-day responsibility for stationary generators. Site rules require members to avoid commercially-motivated interactions and stick with technical issues, allowing an atmosphere of genuine problem-solving, IGTC says.

Alarm system installed at Brookfield plants

Brookfield Renewable Energy is using TopView Alarm Notification software at its five-station Sault Hydro Operations on the Montreal and St. Mary's rivers in Ontario, Canada.

The five plants have a total of 11 turbine-generating units and provide combined capacity of 203 MW. The watershed for this system is 2,900 square kilometers. The plants are supported by Brookfield's Canadian System Control Centre in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

In the event of an alarm condition, the control center notifies Sault Hydro Operations, which takes corrective action or dispatches technicians to the site. Previously, Sault Hydro Operations had to wait until an alarm condition was reported before mobilizing a response, which would result in power generation being tripped off line for a period of time.

Because the vast geographic area can mean long travel times, Brookfield needed a way to get early indications of potential problems. This would allow the company to prevent problems rather than reacting to them. To achieve this, Sault Hydro Operations chose the TopView software, which is provided by Exele Information Systems.

The TopView system monitors every aspect of the generation process, from temperature of a generator stator and bearings to whether oil filters need to be replaced. "TopView provides information that helps us make decisions based on the alarm type and values," says Thomas Corbett, electrical technologist with Sault Hydro Operations. "This gives us the option to respond immediately or to wait to address the cause during the next scheduled maintenance."

In addition, Sault Hydro Operations can enter acceptable reservoir elevations and flow rates in the software, with an alarm set when values fall outside these levels. This provides a response buffer so the company can meet water resource management guidelines that dictate these values, says Gilles Labelle, water resource manager with Sault Hydro Operations.

The system took six months to implement and has been constantly updated since it began operating as Brookfield has brought in more supervisory control and data acquisition points and set up different devices in the Sault hydro generating stations, says Mark Lukacena of Brookfield Renewable.

TopView allows users to send e-mails to the entire maintenance team. Whoever is on schedule for that time period responds and acknowledges the message.

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