Energy Efficiency, Hydropower, Storage

Tech Notes

Issue 5 and Volume 21.

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ICOLD announces availability of two new bulletins

The International Commission on Large Dams has released two new technical bulletins: Guidelines for Use of Numerical Models in Dam Engineering (Bulletin 155) and Historical Review on Ancient Dams (Bulletin 143).

Bulletin 155 is intended to help engineers establish a sound computation strategy based on a careful analysis of the problem to be solved, selecting the adequate software options needed, then carrying out the analysis in a progressive way with frequent checks, and finally using adequate outputs to make rational interpretation of the results achieved.

The bulletin provides a few developments on the selection of input data. It intentionally omits providing recommendations on performance criteria and solicitation combinations because ICOLD says these aspects are generally widely covered by standards or codes in force in most countries.

Bulletin 143 covers ancient manmade dams, the first one was built about 5,000 years ago. As varied as their origins were the structural characteristics of ancient dams, for which no regional preferences are discernible. They had one aspect in common: to resist the water pressure only the weight of the construction material was used, not the strength itself.

This bulletin contains contributions from many countries.

Bulletin 155 is free for ICOLD members to access online and €64 (US$85 for nonmembers), €60 ($79) for members in print and €80 ($106) for nonmembers, or €64 ($85) in CD form for members and €72 ($95) for nonmembers. Bulletin 143 is free for ICOLD members to access online and €48 (US$63 for nonmembers), €45 ($59) for members in print and €60 ($79) for nonmembers, or €41 ($54) in CD form for members and €54 ($71) for nonmembers. To access these bulletins, visit and click on Publications, then Bulletins.

— ICOLD is a non-governmental organization providing a forum for knowledge exchange in dam engineering. To learn more, contact Michel De Vivo, Secretary-General, ICOLD, 61 avenue Kleber, Paris 75116 France; (+33) 1-47041780; E-mail: [email protected].

HydroVision International 2013 announces call for abstracts

HydroVision International is now accepting abstracts for the Technical Papers track of the 2014 conference program.

The technical papers program is an opportunity to share your insight and knowledge with more than 3,000 colleagues in the hydro industry who will attend HydroVision International 2014 July 22-25 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA

All submissions will be evaluated by the Technical Papers Committee. Preference will be given to abstracts that focus on innovative, practical and proven technologies and methods.

Abstracts that describe the focus and content of proposed papers (maximum of 400 words) are due by Sept. 20, 2013, and all contacts will be notified via e-mail no later than Jan. 31, 2013, as to whether their paper has been selected for presentation. The presenting author for all selected abstracts will then be invited to make either a technical paper presentation or a poster gallery presentation at HydroVision International 2014. All presented papers will be made available to conference delegates through the online access to papers and presentations program.

For abstract ideas and further details, or to submit your paper, visit and click on “Conference” at the top of the page.

HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide is a media partner with HydroVision International.

EIB adopts new guidelines that could benefit hydropower

A set of guidelines adopted in July by the European Investment Bank could benefit the development of hydroelectric power as the lending institution reinforced its support for European renewable and energy efficiency investments.

The new guidelines are the product of a 10-month study in which EIB conducted a “comprehensive review to ensure that its energy lending criteria reflect [European Union] energy and climate policy, as well as current investment trends,” the bank said in a statement.

EIB’s board approved them during a meeting in July, along with additional clarifications on proposed exemptions to its Emissions Performance Standard.

EIB will focus on financing energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy networks, and related research and innovation. These sectors are expected to require the most significant investment in coming years, EIB says.

“Prioritizing lending to energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy networks and energy research and development projects will help EU to meet its energy and climate objectives and create employment across Europe,” EIB executive Mihai Tanasescu said. “The new Emissions Performance Standard will ensure that outside these sectors the bank’s energy lending makes a sustainable and positive contribution to economic growth.”

The new standard will be applied to all fossil-fueled generation projects to “screen out investments whose carbon emissions exceed a threshold level,” the bank said. The threshold reflects the EU’s commitment to limiting carbon emissions, with the cap to be subject to review and more restrictions in the future.

“Significant long-term investment across Europe is essential to achieve our energy and climate targets and maintain a technological lead,” European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger said. “The new guidelines provide a framework for continuing this contribution over the years ahead.”

EIB said it has invested more than US$93 billion in long-term energy development projects over the past five years.

IDB white paper covers future of renewable energy

The Inter-American Development Bank has released a white paper, “Rethinking Our Energy Future: A White Paper on Renewable Energy for the 3GFLAC Regional Forum.”

The Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) was initiated in 2011 with the aim of supporting a global transition to inclusive green growth through global alliance making and the promotion of public-private partnerships. The 3GF Latin America and the Caribbean (3GFLAC) Forum was held in Bogota, Colombia, in June 2013, to promote discussion on the topic of energy and climate in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The white paper says that population growth combined with improvements in quality of life will require the region to almost double its installed power capacity to about 600 GW by 2030, at a cost of close to $430 billion. The region already has a low-carbon power sector, anchored through a substantial hydrological resource. Latin America and the Caribbean’s installed power capacity is estimated at about 280 GW, 52% of which is provided through renewable energy resources, including hydropower, the white paper says. Non-traditional renewable energy technologies, including ocean energy and small-scale hydropower, are ready to play a major role alongside large hydropower in meeting energy needs. The regional potential for ocean energy is 3,400 MW, the paper adds.

As demand increases and plants are built, expanded natural gas may compete with hydropower within the generation mix. In fact, hydropower’s share of the electricity mix in Latin America and the Caribbean is projected to fall from 56% in 2010 to 36% in 2050.

Storage technologies are being employed in the region to provide further system flexibility and enable a higher penetration of non-traditional renewable energy technologies. For example, there is a 700 MW Rio Grande pumped-storage plant in Argentina. Another possibility in Latin America and the Caribbean is in the installation of pumped-storage facilities that use seawater rather than freshwater.

“The region can meet its future energy needs in a cost-effective manner through renewable sources, leading the way globally, and building a strong green economy,” the white paper says.

— The white paper is available at

Facebook “likes” hydropower

A new 290,000 square-foot data center built by social media platform Facebook is run entirely on hydroelectric power.

The center — located in Lulea, Sweden — is Facebook’s first outside of the USA and was selected due to the region’s abundance of hydropower. The town sits along Sweden’s Lule River, which, according to designer of the center DPR Construction, produces about 13,600 GWh of hydroelectric power per year.

“Not only is it 100% renewable, but the supply is also so reliable that we have been able to reduce the number of backup generators required at the site by more than 70%,” the company said.

Hydro Review mobile app updated to include event information

If you haven’t already, take the time now to download the Hydro Review mobile app for Android and Apple iOS devices.

This app — brought to you by official media partners Hydro Review, HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide and — makes it easy to access the most current news posted on as a news feed, with links to each story. The app also lets users access each week’s video newscast, which contains the hottest stories posted on the site each week.

A recent update to this app is event information. Users who updated the app before the HydroVision International 2013 event — held in July in Denver, Colorado, USA — got access to a variety of event-related information, including an interactive floorplan, details on conference sessions, full data about every exhibitor, schedules for co-located events, product listings and more.

The mobile app also integrates social media feeds, pulling all tweets using an event’s Twitter hashtag. This is a great way for exhibitors and speakers to let interested followers know what they are doing while at the event.

Download the app for free from the Apple Store or Google Play. If you already have the app, download the upgrade to get access to the latest features.

Study reveals small hydro may disrupt ecosystem

A global push for small hydropower projects may cause unanticipated and potentially significant losses of habitat and biodiversity, according to researchers at Oregon State University in the USA.

These conclusions were based on a five-year study of the Nu River system in China’s Yunnan Province, where many small dams with a capacity of 50 MW or less are being built at a rapid rate. Researchers determined that for certain environmental impacts, the cumulative damage caused by small dams is worse than their large counterparts.

As it relates to this region of China, the report indicates small dams can have significant impacts on habitat loss when a river’s entire flow is diverted into channels or pipes, leaving large sections of the river without water. In addition, changes in nearby land use and habitat fragmentation can lead to further species loss. And mitigitation actions and government structures that would limit social and environmental impacts of small hydropower stations are not adequately implemented.

The findings were published in the journal Water Resources Research.