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Major Topic Sections

Fossil-fueled Power
Non-Fossil Generation
End-Use Efficiency
Electricity T&D
Carbon Sequestration
Non-CO2 Reductions
Other GHG Reductions

Related topics in this section

Up to Section Head
Nuclear Energy
Wind Power
Solar Thermal Elec.
Biomass Power
Photovoltaics
Geothermal Energy
Hydropower
Pumped Storage
Waste-to-Energy
Green Pricing
Green Tag Pgms.

 

 Hydroelectric Power Generation

 
 Background


Hydroelectric plants convert the potential energy of stored (or impounded) water into electric energy. During operation, they do not generate greenhouse gas emissions and help lower GHG intensity. Typically, at conventional hydroelectric plants, water is released from a reservoir (created by a dam on a river) through hydraulic turbines and discharged to the river downstream. To the extent a hydroelectric plant's reservoir is sufficiently large relative to the flow of the river, that plant can be operated as a peaking plant by controlling the release of water to concentrate generation in peak load periods.

Hydropower is currently the primary source for electricity produced by renewable energy in the U.S., providing about three-fourths of the nation's renewable electricity generation, and is the most mature, well-developed such technology. It also accounts for a little over 7 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S., although this fluctuates from year to year.  Hydropower, including pumped storage, represents about 12 percent of the U.S. electrical capacity (nearly 100,000 MW of net summer capacity in 2007). On a national average basis, to replace the electricity generated by hydropower would result in an annual emissions increase of approximately 38 MMt of carbon.

There is potential to add clean, domestically-produced hydroelectric capacity to the U.S. energy mix through:

 

Maintaining or Increasing Hydropower Generation at Existing Generating Plants. Maintaining or increasing hydropower generation of electricity at existing generating plants can be accomplished by modernizing and upgrading turbines and generators to increase their efficiency and/or electrical output. Increasing the energy production from hydro generating plants can result in a reduction in the operation of fossil-fired plants and therefore a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
 

  Increasing Hydropower Capacity at Existing Impoundments. This option is to increase generation of electricity by building new hydro generating units at existing impoundments that have not been fully developed. Increasing energy production from existing impoundments can result in decreased operation of fossil fuel generation.
 
  Developing New Hydropower Sites. Although the majority of large conventional hydropower sites have been developed, FERC reports that its river basin studies show a potential of 73,200 MW of additional U.S. hydroelectric capacity in the U.S. However, there are many legal, regulatory, environmental and social issues which have to be addressed in order to develop these resources.
 
  Improving Pumped Storage Efficiency. Upgrading equipment and changes in operation and maintenance practices can be used to increase the output of pumped-storage plants, allowing them to be more productive. Increased efficiency means that less electricity will be needed for the pumping mode or more will be produced in the generating mode or both. To the extent that these actions displace or reduce fossil-fired generation, there can be a net reduction in emissions of both criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases.

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 Power Partners Projects

Exelon Generation, a subsidiary of Exelon, operates both the 536-MW Conowingo Hydroelectric Generation Station and the 1,071-MW Muddy Run Pumped Storage Facility. Each of these facilities produces, on average, more than 1.6 billion kWh of electricity annually. Through uprate and efficiency projects at these facilities, more than 800,000 tons of CO2 emissions have been avoided since 2000. Exelon continues work on a $39-million project to replace four of the 11 turbines at Conowingo. The last of these turbines will be operational in 2008.

Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC), in La Crosse, Wisconsin, is expanding its Evergreen Renewable Energy Program and is on track to reach 10 percent renewable generation by 2015. DPC has 17 MW of wind generation and 22 MW of hydroelectric power and owns a 10.4-MW landfill gas-to-energy plant. In addition, DPC’s animal waste-to-energy program utilizes manure from dairy and swine farms within the DPC system to produce methane for conversion to electricity. Currently, 3 MW of “cow power” are online, and DPC has plans to bring as much as 25 MW of additional capacity online over five years.

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 References, Sources, and Other Useful Data


Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development & Climate, "Hydroelectric Generation Efficiency Improvement" (August 13-17, 2007)
http://www.asiapacificpartnership.org/pdf/PGTTF/events-august-07/2%20Duke%20Energy%20Hydrovision
%20Program%20-%20Asia%20Pacific%20Partnership%20Power%20Gen%20Task%20Force.pdf

As part of the Asia Pacific Partnership effort to reduce emissions from coal fired power plants, Duke Energy made a series of presentations in August 2007 at a Partnership event outlining Duke Energy’s approach to upgrading the efficiency of older hydroelectric generating facilities. Duke's "HydroVision" Upgrade Program includes rehabilitation, life extension, and automation and remote control. Results have included efficiency improvements of 4 to 10 percent, and capacity additional of 5 to 20 percent.

Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development & Climate, "HydroVison: Civil Engineering Components" (August 13-17, 2007)
http://www.asiapacificpartnership.org/pdf/PGTTF/events-august-07/2a%20Duke%20Energy%20HydroVision
%20Civil%20Asia%20Pacific%20Partnership%20Power%20Gen%20Task%20Force.pdf

As part of the Asia Pacific Partnership effort to reduce emissions from coal fired power plants, Duke Energy made a series of presentations in August 2007 at a Partnership event outlining Duke Energy’s approach to upgrading the efficiency of older hydroelectric generating facilities. This presentation describes Duke's "HydroVision" Upgrade Program and the civil components and upgrades that were undertaken to (1) replace and/or repair powerhouse cranes, (2) intake upgrades, (3) civil structures to facilitate turbine upgrades, and (4) spillway upgrades.

Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development & Climate, "HydroVison: Electrical Engineering Components" (August 13-17, 2007)
http://www.asiapacificpartnership.org/pdf/PGTTF/events-august-07/2c%20Duke%20Energy%20HydroVision
%20Electrical%20Asia%20Pacific%20Partnership%20Power%20Gen%20Task%20Force.pdf

As part of the Asia Pacific Partnership effort to reduce emissions from coal fired power plants, Duke Energy made a series of presentations in August 2007 at a Partnership event outlining Duke Energy’s approach to upgrading the efficiency of older hydroelectric generating facilities. This presentation describes Duke's "HydroVision" Upgrade Program and the electrical engineering aspects that included rehabilitation or replacement to most electrical equipment including power equipment, protection, control, and instrumentation.

Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development & Climate, "HydroVison: Mechanical Engineering Component" (August 13-17, 2007)
http://www.asiapacificpartnership.org/pdf/PGTTF/events-august-07/2b%20Duke%20Energy%20Hydrovision
%20Mechanical%20Asia%20Pacific%20Partnership%20Power%20Gen%20Task%20Force.pdf

As part of the Asia Pacific Partnership effort to reduce emissions from coal fired power plants, Duke Energy made a series of presentations in August 2007 at a Partnership event outlining Duke Energy’s approach to upgrading the efficiency of older hydroelectric generating facilities. This presentation describes Duke's "HydroVision" Upgrade Program and the mechanical engineering components that included turbine runners, wicket gates, head covers and bottom rings, embedded turbine components, turbine guide bearings, thrust bearings, and auxiliary systems.

Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development & Climate, "Programmatic Maintenance: Best Practices" (August 13-17, 2007)
http://www.asiapacificpartnership.org/pdf/PGTTF/events-august-07/3c%20Duke%20Energy%20Hydro
%20Maintenance%20-%20Asia%20Pacific%20Partnership%20Power%20Gen%20Task%20Force.pdf

As part of the Asia Pacific Partnership effort to reduce emissions from coal fired power plants, Duke Energy made a series of presentations in August 2007 at a Partnership event outlining Duke Energy’s approach to upgrading the efficiency of older hydroelectric generating facilities. This presentation describes Duke Energy’s approach to maintenance for hydroelectric generating facilities.

Electric Power Research Institute, “2008 Portfolio: 84 Renewable and Hydropower Generation
http://mydocs.epri.com/docs/Portfolio/PDF/2008_P084.pdf

This project provides technology status, installation history, and performance cost information for a range of renewable energy technologies. The project activities include the annual edition of the EPRI Renewable Energy Technical Assessment Guide (TAG-RE) in both CD-ROM and electronic format; software calculation tools that provide design, performance, and cost estimates for renewable generation technologies for site-specific conditions; annual technology updates and engineering and economic evaluations of renewable generation technologies; the Renewable Energy Strategic Service (RESS), which provides updates and reports in electronic format that address market, regulatory, and other renewable energy issues, as well as assessments of the role of renewable energy in future carbon-constrained generation portfolios.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “Hydropower”
http://www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower.asp

The Commission's responsibilities include issuance of licenses for the construction of a new project; issuance of licenses for the continuance of an existing project (relicensing); and oversight of all ongoing project operations, including dam safety inspections and environmental monitoring.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “Hydropower - Integrated Licensing Process (ILP)”
http://www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower/gen-info/licensing/ilp/wkshp-conf.asp

FERC staff held four regional workshops across the country to familiarize licensees; federal, state, and other government agencies; Indian tribes; non-governmental organizations; and other interested parties with the ILP steps and procedures; and to seek feedback and share experiences learned from implementing the ILP. The Commission staff also held a multi-stakeholder technical conference on July 23, 2005 to gather information to evaluate the effectiveness of the ILP. Links lead to summaries of comments, presentations, and transcripts.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “Hydroelectric Power Resources of the United States: Developed and Undeveloped”, Washington, DC, January 1, 1992.
http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=5358155 (abstract only)

This publication presents data as of January 1, 1980, on the capacity, generation, and other characteristics of the developed and undeveloped hydroelectric power resources of the United States. Principal statistics are shown by water resources regions and river basins and by geographic divisions and states. This series of reports is the only single source of such data in the United States; earlier editions were published for the years 1953, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, and 1976.

HCI Publications
http://www.hcipub.com/index.asp

HCI Publications is the world's leading provider of hydro information resources. HCI publishes two magazines: Hydro Review, dedicated to the North American market, and HRW (Hydro Review Worldwide), which covers the hydro industry worldwide. The magazines deliver comprehensive coverage of development, management, and operational issues. More timely news is covered in a unique, electronic news product, HydroNews.net. HydroNews.net brings the industry's most current, comprehensive, and relevant news directly to your desktop. HCI also publishes numerous hydro-related books and reports and organizes two major international industry conferences: HydroVision and Waterpower.

International Hydropower Association, "Advancing Sustainable Hydropower"
http://www.hydropower.org/index.asp

The International Hydropower Association, founded in 1995,  is a UK-based non-governmental mutual association of organizations and professionals. Through its international membership, the Association is established as a global organisation advancing hydropower's role in meeting the world's water and energy needs by championing continuous improvement and sustainable practices; building consensus through strong partnerships with other stakeholders; and driving initiatives to increase the contribution of renewables and hydropower in particular. Currently, the Association has 1072 Individual and 106 Corporate Members, including twelve Sponsors, and membership now spans 83 countries.

U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory, “Hydropower”
http://hydropower.inel.gov/index.shtml

The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Hydropower Program is to conduct research and development (R&D) that will improve the technical, societal, and environmental benefits of hydropower and provide cost-competitive technologies that enable the development of new and incremental hydropower capacity, adding diversity to the nation's energy supply. Three of DOE's National Laboratories with experience in hydropower issues provide technical support to the Program: Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The lead laboratory for engineering and program management support is INL.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “Hydropower Technologies”
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/hydro_technologies.html

DOE's Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program pursues R&D to develop more environmentally friendly technologies to maintain the nation's existing hydropower capacity. This site provides information on how hydropower works, its advantages and disadvantages, history, resource potential, and R&D activities.

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