Tech Briefs

Department of Energy releases online renewable energies map

A website developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will allow users to easily and accurately map potential renewable energy resources in the U.S.

The interactive tool, called “RE Atlas,” is free and available for use online at

It operates much like GoogleMaps, and users are able to choose between nine different renewable sources – including hydro and wave power – that can be superimposed on the map.

The map displays data indicating the potential for a given renewable’s growth and can be referenced by state, county and congressional district. Users also can view Environmental Protection Agency contaminated lands, federal lands and tribal lands.

In one example, clicking on Tulsa, Okla., reveals 13 feasible small hydro project sites nearby. Each of these sites is then given at average capacity in kilowatts and head.

“Ease of use and breadth of data make RE Atlas an excellent tool for policymakers, planners, energy developers and others who need to better understand the renewable resources available in the United States,” says Dan Getman, whose team in NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center developed the online tool.

Reclamation names Frizell Engineer of the Year

The Bureau of Reclamation recently presented its Engineer of the Year Award to the Technical Service Center’s K. Warren Frizell.

Frizell, a research hydraulic engineer in TSC’s Hydraulic Investigations and Laboratory Services Group, has made dramatic contributions to hydraulic engineering research and design problems affecting Reclamation facilities, according to a release. “Warren’s work has directly improved the safety and reliability of many of Reclamation’s facilities that ensures water demands will be met now and into the future in the western United States,” says Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor.

During the past three years, Frizell has been involved with the hydraulic analyses and design work related to the new auxiliary spillway and stilling basin at the Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project in California. Frizell has extended the life of the facility by analyzing the potential for cavitation and developing a supercavitating baffle block to minimize the potential for future damage.

Frizell also has developed a new method of predicting uplift pressures and flow through joints in high-velocity flow surfaces.

Reclamation also named regional engineers of the year:

– Michael Strombach, Pacific Northwest;
– Jeffrey D. Rieker, Mid-Pacific;
– Theresa Saumier, Lower Colorado;
– Robert C. Brummond, Upper Colorado; and
– Douglas L. David, Great Plains.

Atlas of small hydro projects available online

The International Energy Agency offers an International Small Hydro Atlas online that contains information about small hydro projects in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the rest of the world. The goal of this atlas is to facilitate the development of new small hydro projects ranging from 50 kW to 10 MW.

A database query feature allows users to search by development status (operational or potential), region, river name, site name, total installed capacity (range) or gross head (range).

For example, a search for operational facilities in Quebec, Canada, reveals information on 38 sites with a total capacity of more than 196 MW. Data provided includes longitude and latitude, gross head and total generating capacity. A search for potential projects in Alaska yields 106 results with a total capacity of more than 745 MW.

Additional available information on the site includes:

– Country brief, which provides information on the water resource, energy and power sectors, hydro development, small hydro, and further outlook;
– Key country contacts; and
– Affiliated organizations.
– The atlas is available at

Oregon project using new in-line turbine generators

EDB Hydro LLC is using a US$1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Interior to install three 1-MW CleanPower AS Turbinators as part of Oregon’s 45-Mile Hydroelectric Project.

This project is on the North Unit Irrigation District’s main canal in Jefferson County. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a conduit exemption from licensing for the 45-Mile project in 2010.

The Turbinator units are self-contained in-pipe, low head axial flow turbines with permanent generators, meaning they require no gearboxes, belts, shafts or a powerhouse. EDB Hydro president Jim Gordon says they were selected for their ability to fit where traditional units might not. The 45-Mile Hydroelectric Project is the first in America to make use of Norway-based CleanPower AS units.

The effort is part of an ongoing initiative to increase domestic hydroelectric production. According to a 2010 National Hydropower Association study, only 3% of America’s 80,000 dams generate electricity. New technologies like the Turbinator will allow some of that hydropower potential to be exploited, says Jim Gordon.

Blog discusses compliance with EPA, OSHA, other regulations

A blog is available on a variety of compliance topics, including environmental and health and safety issues.

The blog, at, is authored by Lion Technology. Lion Technology, based in Lafayette, N.J., provides training and resources in the areas of environmental, workplace health and safety, and hazardous materials/dangerous goods transportation compliance.

Recent topics of interest to those in the hydro industry include hearing loss prevention around machinery, Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration rulemaking activities, hazardous material security plans, and hazardous chemical inventory reporting.

Blogs are archived under a variety of topics, including environmental, health and safety, proposed rules and final rules. Users can also search by keyword to find specific posts or topics.


In “Collaborating to Repair Units at the Yelm Project” in the March issue, we incorrectly reported that NAES began its inspection of Unit 3 at the 12-MW Yelm project in August 2012. The correct date is August 2010.

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  • Renewable Energy World's content team members help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S., the UK, and South Africa, the team is comprised of editors from Clarion Energy's myriad of publications that cover the global energy industry.

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Renewable Energy World's content team members help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S., the UK, and South Africa, the team is comprised of editors from Clarion Energy's myriad of publications that cover the global energy industry.

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