R&D Forum

Research reveals record sockeye return in Columbia River

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council reports that the 2014 sockeye run in the Columbia River is the largest since fish counting began at Bonneville Dam in 1938. More than 574,000 fish had passed the dam by July 13, compared with the previous record of 516,000 in 2012. What’s more, next year’s run could be even bigger, based on the number of jacks (immature fish) in this year’s return.

The largest share of the Columbia River sockeye run originates in Lake Osoyoos on the Okanagan River in British Columbia, Canada. About 4 million juveniles are estimated to have left Lake Osoyoos in 2012, with 80% to 85% estimated to be natural origin fish as opposed to hatchery fish. Howie Wright, fisheries program manager for the Okanagan National Alliance that is directing the Okanagan sockeye restoration program, credited the big run to improvements in water management and habitat in the Okanagan River Basin in British Columbia, favorable ocean conditions and improvements in fish passage at Columbia River mainstem dams in the U.S.

The second largest component returns to Lake Wenatchee and the smallest component returns to Idaho’s Redfish Lake.

The Snake River component, an endangered species, is expected to be about 1,200 fish counted at Lower Granite Dam this year. However, the number of Wenatchee and Snake River sockeye could increase, as the original estimates were part of a forecasted total return of 247,100 fish, now greatly exceeded.

CEATI releases report for hydroelectric power industry

CEATI International announces the availability of Technology Review: Criteria for the Identification and Selection of Environmentally Acceptable (EA) Lubricants.

According to CEATI, the adoption of EA lubricants requires both industrial and regulatory support. To obtain this support, EA lubricants must meet critical environmental and performance specifications. However, the standard specifications listed by lubricant formulators do not provide sufficient clarity that these requirements are being met. For this study, methods for identifying high-quality EA lubricants were assessed, with a focus on methods for accurately assessing critical environmental and performance criteria, including biodegradation, toxicity, low temperature gelling, oxidative stability and lubrication testing. A clear understanding of these criteria will allow high-quality EA lubricants to be identified and selected for hydropower companies.

The guide was released by the Hydraulic Plant Life Interest Group. To request a price quote, visit www.ceati.com/publication-details?pid=0382.

EPRI announces new members of board of directors

The Electric Power Research Institute has added Denis P. O’Brien, Gil C. Quiniones, Mark B. Bonsall, Joseph P. Brannan and Patricia L. Kampling to its board of directors.

O’Brien, the new chairman, is senior executive vice president of Exelon Corp. and chief executive officer of Exelon Utilities. He oversees the utility businesses of Exelon, which include Baltimore Gas & Electric, Commonwealth Edison Company and PECO.

Quiniones, the new vice chairman, is president and CEO of New York Power Authority. He is responsible for developing and implementing NYPA’s strategic vision and mission.

Bonsall is general manager and CEO of Salt River Project. Brannan is executive VP and CEO of North Carolina Electric Membership Corp. Kampling is chair, president and CEO of Alliant Energy. These three new members will serve four-year terms.

Interim directors elected to four-year terms are Jim Burke, chairman and CEO of TXU Energy; Pat K. Collawn, chairman, president and CEO of PNM Resources; Kimberly S. Greene, executive VP and chief operating officer of Southern Company; and B. Keith Trent, executive VP and COO – regulated utilities for Duke Energy Corp.

One-year term extensions (until April 2015) were approved for Nicholas K. Akins, chairman, president and CEO of AEP and Gale E. Klappa, chairman and CEO of We Energy. And Bonneville Power Administration selected Terry Oliver, chief technology innovation officer, to serve on the board in its permanent board seat.

EPRI is a nonprofit organization that conducts research and development on the generation, delivery and use of electricity.

Kelcey Lajoie: Hydro Research Foundation R&D update

What is wind power’s impact on the hydroelectric system? At what penetration levels does it becomes significant? How much of the wind power variability is effectively exported to neighboring balancing areas? This is the focus of the research conducted by Hydro Research Foundation fellow Kelcey Lajoie.

Lajoie focused on the study of wind power variability on the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) using data provided by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The FCRPS has been able to accommodate the large amount of wind power in the BPA balancing area with surprisingly little impact on hydro unit life and operation. However, some estimates place the maximum installed wind power capacity reaching 8,000 MW, approaching the peak BPA area load.

Results of Lajoie’s studies will be used to update the relationship development intervention model and cost functions used in the algorithm being developed by researchers at Oregon State University, where she received her MS in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on energy systems. Lajoie has taken a full time position with BPA.

HRF supports graduate students to conduct research related to hydropower, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Program and industry partners.

— By Brenna Vaughn, program director, Hydro Research Foundation

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