R&D Forum

CEATI releases two new research reports

CEATI International announces availability of two new reports prepared by its Dam Safety Interest Group.

Activation Guidelines for Dam Safety Emergency Preparedness Plans features the results of a study that addresses the key components of the emergency plan activation process. Factors considered include:

– Organizational structure for a dam owner’s emergency planning function;
– Naming convention for the emergency plan;
– Classification codes for hydrologic and dam safety events;
– Notification charts;
– Use and activation of the incident command system; and
– Building and maintaining relationships with the municipalities and downstream emergency management agencies through ongoing programs of meetings, facility tours, drills and exercises.

For more information, visit www.ceati.com/publication-details?pid=0232.

Development of Standardized Inundation Maps Produced using Geographic Information Systems features the results of a study that addresses the key components of this process that relate to both the application of GIS to visualization and the application of the inundation mapping for risk assessments and emergency planning.

The guidelines cover such topics as data collection, creating the digital elevation model, hydraulic modeling and presentation and application of the inundation map. For more information, visit www.ceati.com/publication-details?pid=0233.

Twelve named to Research Awards Program

The Hydro Research Foundation has added 12 new researchers to its Research Awards Program.

The new class of researchers is:

– Tim DeWeese, University of Idaho;
– Matthew Erdman, Penn State;
– Matthew Fuller, Duke University;
– Jory Hecht, Tufts University;
– Sami Khan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
– Kevin Kircher, Cornell University;
– Kelly Kozdras, University of Washington;
– Daniel Lee, Oregon Institute of Technology;
– Kimberly Ogren, Oregon State University;
– Amelia Shaw, Vanderbilt University;
– Jesse Thornburg, Carnegie Mellon University; and
– Daniel Walker, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The 2014 class of researchers was selected by a committee representing utilities, academia, industry and researchers. The students selected will begin their work with HRF as early as June 2014.

More than 25 of the students currently working with HRF will be attending HydroVision International in Nashville, Tenn., in July. These new resaerchers will introduce their topics on Tuesday, July 22, and final findings will be presented by previous classes of fellows.

The fellowship program was established to award research opportunities to graduate-level students researching topics of interest to the hydropower industry through a two-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Program.

U.S. seeks lamprey passage study at Snake River projects

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to hire a small business to perform a lamprey migration and passage study at four hydro projects on the lower Snake River.

Work is to include radio tracking of adult lamprey through the lower Snake River dams to determine behavior, passage routes and success during upstream migration. Work would be performed at 603-MW Ice Harbor, 810-MW Lower Monumental, 810-MW Little Goose and 810-MW Lower Granite dams.

Renewables could hit 16% of U.S. generation in five years

The SUN DAY Campaign has released a study asserting that renewable energy sources could provide 16% of net electrical generation in the U.S. by 2040.

The campaign, a non-profit research and educational organization that promotes sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels, used data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2014. EIA asserted that renewable energy sources (hydropower, biomass, geothermal, solar and wind) could provide 16% of the nation’s net electrical generation by 2040.

The campaign says that, given that electrical generation from renewables expanded from less than 9% in 2004 to nearly 13% in 2013, generation from renewables could be 13.5% in 2014 and reach or exceed 16% no later than 2018. At the outside, they would reach 16% by 2020, the campaign asserts.

The study contains a section specific to hydropower. It indicated hydro provided about 6.63% of net electrical generation in 2013 and will probably be at about 6.55% in 2016. This is attributed to the fact that, while some smaller hydro facilities and upgrades at existing plants will come on line over the next five years, they may be offset by decreased water flows elsewhere due to climate change or other factors.

Researchers say small dams are sources of methane emissions

Dams that store water less than 50 feet deep are a source of methane emissions to the environment, according to research published in the American Chemical Society’s journal, Environmental Science & Technology.

According to lead author Andreas Maeck with the Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany, this methane comes from decaying organic matter in the sediment that accumulates behind the dams.

Inland waters transport and transform substantial amounts of carbon and account for about 18% of global methane emissions, the article says. Large reservoirs with higher areal methane release rates than natural waters contribute significantly to freshwater emissions, Maeck says. However, there are millions of small dams worldwide that receive and trap high loads of organic carbon and can therefore potentially emit significant amounts of methane to the atmosphere, according to the article.

An analysis was undertaken of six small dams on a central European river. Direct comparison of riverine and reservoir reaches (where sedimentation is increased due to trapping by dams) revealed that the reservoir areas of a river produce much more methane than the riverine reaches. The results revealed that sediment accumulation correlates with methane production and subsequent ebullitive release rates. Results indicated methane emissions from dammed sites on rivers has the potential to increase global freshwater emissions of methane by up to 7%.


The Northwest Power and Conservation Council expected to release the Draft 2014 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program for public comment by early May. This program, which is revised every five years, directs the investment of Bonneville Power Administration electricity revenues in the Columbia River Basin to improve fish passage at hydroelectric facilities, acquire and improve fish and wildlife habitat, boost fish production using hatcheries, monitor and evaluate the success of these efforts and improve scientific knowledge through research.

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