and probably will be published next
year or so.”
The future of hydropower seems to
be in smaller projects ranging from
4-to- 5 MW in size that benefit a single
community, said Hadjerioua.
It’s not just existing dams that are attracting attention.
Irrigation canals are naturals for hydropower, Johnson said, since fish passage issues are virtually nonexistent.
“Of course, the devil’s in the details,
but imagine you had multiple drops
along the same canal,” she said. “You
could probably put in cookie cutter,
smaller but similar powerhouses, along
the way or just drop in some more
units eventually. So then you start to
get economies of scale, and that would
help drive the industry.”
Voith Hydro’s StreamDiver is suit-
able for irrigation canals and other
small scale hydro projects.
“The fact that the units are easy to
install and require almost no maintenance opens the market beyond conventional utilities to local developers
or municipalities who have water rights
but are not currently utilizing its power
potential,” said Carl Atkinson, director
of sales and marketing at Voith Hydro.
StreamDriver is being used in Europe but not yet in the U.S.
Johnson said the U.S. needs to take
a balanced, regional approach, as not
all renewable technologies make sense
Wind and solar don’t pencil out everywhere, and neither does hydropower.
“We’re going to have hydro in areas where the resources are,” she said.
“We’re going to have nuclear in areas
where you don’t have the natural re-
sources, and we’re still going to have
natural gas and coal where we need
carbon, and apply some way of reusing
the CO2 so that it doesn’t go into the
atmosphere. So it’s that balance.”
Adjustable blades like Wanapum
Dam have large gaps “at the inlet and
outlet of the blade-hub and blade-pe-
riphery junctions,” said Donelson.
“These gaps can cause strong second-
ary flows, low pressures and high shear
areas known to cause fish mortality.”
It turned out eliminating the cavi-
tation resulted in “higher minimum
pressures in the turbine water passage
which also improves fish survival,”
Donelson said. “The technology has
been applied to other projects across
Hammond said fish survival rates are
97 percent with the
new turbines. (The
utility’s license spec-ifies a minimum 95
percent survival rate.)
It took 10 years
to replace all of the
10 turbines. They
started replacing the
turbines in 2004 and
finished in 2014. The
old turbines were
rated at 89.5 MW
each while the new
ones are rated at 104
MW. The new turbines’ efficiency is 3
percent higher than the old turbines.
Hammond has been pleased with the
new turbines. “Performance has been
excellent,” he said. “They operate and
run quietly. They are reliable. And so
far, we haven’t found any indications of
cavitation damage or any other signs of
any type of mechanical failures, such
as leaking trunnion seals.”
A LOOK INTO
FUTURE IN THE U.S.
Kristina Johnson, CEO of Enduring
Energy and former undersecretary for
energy in President Obama’s first term, is
upbeat on hydropower’s future in the U. S.
“I’m very bullish,” she said. “I’d like to
see us increase our hydropower by four
percent, a net four percent increase so that
we go from like 8 to maybe 12 percent on
the electric grid in the country.”
Financing is a major challenge to hy-
dropower’s adoption, Johnson said. How
do you value a resource that is very expen-
sive to build yet lasts 100 years and pro-
vides clean, renewable energy?
Industry and government have yet to
square that circle.
The government could help in another way, she said.
“I think that it would be helpful to
have a national policy that we should
power every un-
powered dam that
shouldn’t be re-
moved; it’s very
said. “So you look
at 81 of the top 100
dams that can be
powered in the U.S.
are run by the Army
Corps. Why not have
an executive order
that says, ‘Thou
shalt power those?’ I
think it’s a great in-
She thinks the energy produced
should go to green the government.
Hadjerioua, the author on Oak
Ridge’s NPD assessment, is working
on a taskforce that will produce another report, Hydropower Vision Report.
More than 200 experts from various
disciplines and agencies, including federal agencies, industry and developers,
“Basically, we are working on that to
state, ‘Where is hydropower today and
where are we going?’” Hadjerioua said.
“So, where is the potential, how are we
going to develop this, what’s the technology needed and so forth? And that
is being developed right as we speak
“I’d like to see
us increase our
hydropower by 4
percent, a net 4
percent increase so
that we go from 8 to
maybe 12 percent
on the electric grid
in the country.”
- Kristina Johnson,