Hydro Power Committee
Hydro Power Committee News Update
Hydropower—Especially Pumped Storage and Low-Head—Gaining Visibility
A Wall Street Journal article by Stephanie Simon on September 13, 2010, highlighted the “comeback” being staged by hydropower in the United States and elsewhere. The article points out that, according to the Electric Power Research Institute (“EPRI”), “[e]ven without building large dams, expanding efforts to draw power from water could add 40,000 megawatts to the grid by 2025 . . . That’s the equivalent of putting at least two dozen new nuclear power plants online.” FERC preliminary permit applications for small hydro are up more than 300% since 2007. Although the time required for permitting and the high capital costs still make hydropower less attractive to some utilities and investors than other energy sources, like natural gas, developers are continuing with plans to add power plants to some of the 80,000 existing dams that don’t have hydroelectric capacity. In addition to advancing low-head turbines and technologies that are gentler on fish and oxygen-injection systems, Simon also highlights the international attention focused on pumped storage facilities: although permit applications for new facilities has lagged in the United States, “China has 2,200 projects under construction,” and other countries including Romania, India, Ukraine, Thailand, Switzerland, Italy, and South Africa are “moving heavily into pumped-storage construction.”
For more on this story, see the full text of Stephanie Simon’s article: “Water Surge.”Posted: 9/16/10
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