Hydro Dams to Increase Energy Efficiency

Three federal agencies in the northwest region of the United States have launched a joint effort to increase energy efficiency at hydroelectric generating sites.

PORTLAND, Oregon, US, 2001-05-22 <SolarAccess.com> The Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will install energy efficient lighting and other systems at 31 hydro dams that comprise the Federal Columbia River Power System. The joint venture is part of an overall energy strategy of federal facilities aimed at securing as much energy savings as possible, and will save enough energy to meet the annual electrical demands of 2,400 homes. “Lighting upgrades produce immediate savings at a very low cost, as many homeowners know,” says BPA’s Rick Miller. A recent lighting retrofit at Hungry Horse Dam near Kalispell, Montana replaced 1,200 incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lamps controlled by timers and occupancy sensors. The project cost $64,000 but will save 1.45 million kilowatt-hours a year. Audit results at other hydroelectric plants indicate the potential savings at McNary and Bonneville dams on the lower Columbia River will power 640 homes for a year, with power for another 540 homes to be provided from similar efficiency measures at Grand Coulee Dam. Additional cost-effective conservation actions at 130 state and federal fish hatcheries which are adjacent to many dams, are also being considered. President Bush recently called on federal agencies to set an example for the rest of the country by reducing energy consumption.