Hydropower, Project Development, Storage

NHA Forms Councils on Pumped Storage & Small Hydro Development

The National Hydropower Association announced the formation of two new councils designed to explore and support some of the technologies that will help propel the industry toward its goal of doubling installed capacity.

“NHA’s board of directors approved proposals for both a Pumped Storage Council and a Small Hydro Council,” said Linda Church Ciocci, NHA’s executive director.  “As an industry, we see both these sectors as being important pieces in the hydropower industry’s portfolio of technologies.  Expanding small hydro and pumped storage will also help us meet President Obama’s challenge of doubling renewable energy resources.”

One of the country’s only readily available large-scale storage technologies, pumped storage is a particularly important tool for leveraging output from variable resources, such as wind and solar power. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the country will need an additional 50 gigawatts of storage to accommodate wind power development alone.

Pumped storage utilizes and stores energy produced by other generation resources when consumer demand is low, and then delivers electricity back to the grid by releasing water through hydroelectric turbines when consumers need it later.

NHA’s new Small Hydro Council will support the development of small and low power projects around the country. In Colorado, where NHA introduced the Small Hydro Council to members in the Southwest region, Gov. Bill Ritter is encouraging efforts to develop more than a dozen small hydro sites out of more than 200 potential locations in the state. Many of these sites would rely on existing dams, irrigation ditches and other infrastructure, which minimizes project impacts. 

Former NHA President and 2009 Henwood Award winner David Youlen of Brookfield Renewable Power is co-chairing the Pumped Storage Council with Scott Flake of Sacramento Municipal Utility District. NHA’s immediate past president Rick Miller is the Council’s vice-chair.

NHA board member Nancy Skancke, an attorney with GKRSE and Chuck Alsberg of North American Phoenix Energy Services are the Small Hydro Council’s co-chairs.  Jessica Matlock of Snohomish County Public Utility District is the Council’s vice-chair.