R&D Forum

Maine names companies to inventory hydropower potential

The Governor’s Energy Office has named Kleinschmidt Associates, in partnership with Ocean Renewable Power Co. and TRC, to update Maine’s inventory of undeveloped hydropower potential.

As part of updating the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, the energy office had requested proposals to perform an inventory of hydro resources. The work is to include recommendations for regulatory modifications that could expand economic opportunities through additional hydropower production consistent with state environmental objectives.

The inventory is to identify potential sites for small and micro-hydropower projects, untapped potential at existing hydropower sites, and hydrokinetic resources using energy produced from river flows, waves, tides and currents. The initial assessment is to undergo further analysis to identify the most feasible sites for development.

The Kleinschmidt team also is to evaluate the regulatory environment, identify obstacles to new investment, and provide recommendations to encourage further development.

Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcock said additional technologies have been developed since the last inventory in the 1990s, when the vision was to construct significant new dams. The expansion of small facilities, use of run-of-river technologies, retrofitting of non-generating dams with hydropower equipment, and increased efficiency of existing projects now are seen as ways to expand clean energy production.

Model testing complete of new units for Center Hill project

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials found a Voith Hydro scale model turbine met or exceeded their requirements for replacement turbines at 135-MW Center Hill Dam in Tennessee. Representatives from the Corps’ Hydroelectric Design Center and its Nashville District visited Voith Hydro’s labs in York, Pa., to witness scale model testing that the Corps said was “completely successful” and will keep rehabilitation of the Center Hill project on track.

The Nashville District http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/06/voith-hydro-wins-contract-for-center-hill-dam-turbine-generator-unit-rehab.html awarded a $47.2 million contract to Voith in June to refurbish Units 1, 2 and 3 in the Center Hill powerhouse, which began operation in 1950 and 1951. Work is to include replacement of runners, wicket gates, and generator stator windings; refurbishment of servomotors and the unit braking system; restacking existing generator iron; and installing vibration monitoring and high-pressure thrust bearing oil lift systems.

The lab technicians applied different operating conditions to demonstrate the turbine’s efficient operations. HDC mechanical engineer Ryan Sollars said he looked closely at efficiencies, cavitation, dimensional tolerances, draft tube pressure pulsations, runaway speed of the runner, wicket gate torque and validity of checks being conducted. “We witnessed checks through the entire operating range and found that Voith Hydro has exceeded the contract requirements,” Sollars said.

Tan: Graduating Fellow of the Hydro Research Foundation

Editor’s Note: This is the third profile highlighting potential future members of the hydropower industry and their accomplishments.

Sue Nee Tan graduated from Cornell University in the summer of 2014, earning her doctoral degree in Environmental and Water Resources Systems Engineering. Tan grew up in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student in New Jersey. She decided to attend Lehigh University in the fall of 2004 and graduated in 2009 with Highest Honors with bachelor of science degrees in civil engineering and earth and environmental science. Through this experience, she learned about the complex nature of the power system in the Northwest. Upon graduation, Tan took a full-time position with http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/08/california-utility-celebrates-30th-year-of-1-212-mw-helms-pumped-storage.html Pacific Gas and Electric.

Tan’s research focused on the stochastic dynamic programming approach to balancing wind intermittency with hydropower. The goal was to construct a portfolio of methods to analyze hydropower and its increased value in power grids involving intermittent renewable energy sources. Of particular interest is the symbiotic interaction between hydropower and wind operation. Specifically, she wished to develop statistical methods for analyzing daily trends in hydro- and wind power generation and pricing, and use optimization and simulation methods to optimize hydropower operations when there is a high penetration of wind in the grid. The research proposed using more stochastic optimization algorithms that have been applied previously in reservoir management and unit commitment for power generation.

The http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/08/karen-studarus-graduating-fellow-of-the-hydro-research-foundation.html Hydro Research Foundation supports graduate students to conduct research related to hydropower, with funding the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Program and industry partners.

To learn more about HRF, visit www.hydrofoundation.org.

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