Tech Briefs

NYPA recognized for efforts in controlling greenhouse gases

The New York Power Authority has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a Climate Change Award for its efforts to control and monitor greenhouse gas. NYPA, which received the award during an EPA conference, said the honor particularly recognizes its efforts in containing the greenhouse gas SF6 and developing a new software system that facilitates EPA reporting. The gas is frequently used within equipment for damage protection.

The company operates three hydro projects in New York, including 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa pumped-storage, 2,525 Robert Moses Niagara, and 960-MW St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Final report available on stream reach resource assessment

The National Hydropower Asset Assessment Program has completed its final report on findings, called “New Stream-Reach Development: A Comprehensive Assessment of Hydropower Energy Potential in the United States.”

The report, prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S Department of Energy Wind and Water Power Technologies Office, reveals the estimated technical resource capacity for new stream-reach development is 84.7 GW, with total undeveloped new stream-reach generation estimated at 460 TWh/year. Excluding areas protected by federal legislation limiting the development of new hydropower, the estimated capacity falls to 65.5 GW, slightly lower than the existing U.S. conventional hydropower nameplate capacity of 79.5 GW. Generation with these areas excluded is estimated to be 347.3 TWh/year.

The 234-page report divides the U.S. into 20 hydrologic regions and gives details for each.

The assessment took into account more than 3 million U.S. streams and used a comprehensive set of recent geographic, topographic, hydrologic, hydropower, environmental and socio-political data sets, the report says.

– The complete report is available at

Swiger honored as NHA Henwood Award recipient

The National Hydropower Association recently presented Michael Swiger with the Dr. Kenneth Henwood Award in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in the hydroelectric power industry.

Swiger, a partner at Van Ness Feldman LLP, was selected by a committee of his peers after a career spanning more than two decades working on a full range of issues related to major energy and hydropower projects.

“Mike Swiger has been a preeminent attorney who has tirelessly advocated on behalf of his clients and the hydropower industry as a whole for more than 20 years that I’ve known him,” NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci said. “Mike is a key player in the hydropower industry and its efforts to maintain and grow the resource through improved licensing processes.”

Swiger is involved in several hydroelectric proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), with litigation experience in appellate litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court and various U.S. courts of appeal and agency trial-type proceedings. He has also been involved in numerous agency rulemakings and legislative policy matters relating to hydroelectric licensing.

Swiger has chaired the Renewable Energy & the Environment and the Hydroelectric Regulation Committees of the Energy Bar Association and been active in various water and power trade associations – including a stint as an advisory member on NHA’s Board of Directors.

The Henwood Award, established in 1990 in memory of Kenneth Henwood, is the NHA’s most prestigious individual achievement award. The award honors its namesake in recognizing persistence in the face of institutional obstacles, exhibiting fair dealing and plain speaking, and depicting an appreciation for the relationships between project engineering, the environment and economics.

Many hydro companies named to ENR Top 500 list

Engineering News-Record‘s 2014 Top 500 Design Firm rankings include many companies that work in the hydroelectric market. The annual rankings list the 500 largest privately and publically-held consulting firms based on dollars billed during the previous year. Companies listed in the top 50, in order by this year’s rank and compared with last year’s rank, are:

1. AECOM Technology Corp., Los Angeles, Calif. (1)
2. Jacobs, Pasadena, Calif. (3)
3. URS Corp., San Francisco, Calif. (2)
4. Fluor Corp., Irving, Texas (4)
5. CH2M HILL, Englewood, Colo. (5)
6. AMEC, Tucker, Ga. (6)
7. Tetra Tech Inc., Pasadena, Calif. (8)
8. Bechtel, San Francisco (7)
11. HDR, Ohama, Neb. (11)
12. Parsons Brinckerhoff, New York (10)
14. WorleyParsons Group Inc., Bellaire, Texas (16)
15. Arcadis U.S/RTKL, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (12)
16. Black & Veatch, Overland Park, Kan. (14)
18. Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Mo. (20)
19. MWH Global, Broomfield, Colo. (19)
22. Stantec Inc., Irving, Calif. (24)
23. CDM Smith, Sambridge, Mass. (23)
24. Louis Berger, Morristown, N.J. (25)
30. TRC Cos. Inc., Lowell, Mass. (32)
31. Hatch Mott MacDonald, Iselin, N.J. (36)
34. Bureau Veritas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (35)
35. Terracon Consultants Inc., Olathe, Kan. (38)
39. Kleinfelder, San Diego, Calif. (42)
46. Brown and Caldwell, Walnut Creek, Calif. (50)
49. Gannett Fleming, Harrisburg, Pa. (51)

For a complete list, visit

NHA recognizes outstanding hydro industry achievements

The National Hydropower Association has recognized six companies through its Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters awards program for positive contributions attributed to their hydroelectric projects. Honored by NHA during its annual conference in Washington, D.C., were Grant County Public Utility District, Tacoma Power, Portland General Electric, Kaukauna Utilities, Northwest RiverPartners and Georgia Power.

“NHA established the OSAW awards to encourage the industry to go above and beyond,” NHA executive director Linda Church Ciocci said. “This year’s winner’s certainly did not disappoint.” The awards have recognized companies for developing projects that provide “extraordinary operational, recreational, historical, environmental or educational value.”

Honored in the category of Operational Excellence were:

– Grant County PUD, for finalizing designs of a new state-of-the-art advanced turbine for the Wanapum hydro project in 2003. After receiving Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval, the utility has worked for more than a decade to install 10 new units. Results of the new design demonstrate increased power generation and fish passage.

– Tacoma Power, for combining a new powerhouse and innovative fish collection system on an existing dam. Migrating fish are attracted into a collector with water discharged from two turbines.

Honored for Recreational, Environmental and Historical Enhancement:

– Georgia Power, for its Rock Hawk Effigy and Trails program that provides educational and recreational activities for more than 70,000 visitors annually. The pilot program includes an outdoor museum showcasing local history, nature trails, and diverse wildlife and habitat.

Honored for Public Education:

– Portland General Electric, for an outreach project designed to foster public appreciation for the region’s hydroelectric power. Conducted in collaboration with the Estacada Area Arts Commission, 30 local artists used PGE’s North Fork Dam as inspiration for works of fine art.

– Northwest RiverPartners, for its CleanHydro public education campaign that included visually compelling television and print ads, a website and more. The campaign reached more than 7 million in the northwest, with polls showing increased public support for hydropower.

– Kaukauna Utilities, for its partnership with the Park Community Charter School and 1000 Islands Environmental Center in implementing the National Energy Education Development curriculum. The program educates the public on energy efficiency and conservation.

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