Hydro Projects Show Outstanding Environment Benefits

A lobby group for the hydroelectric industry in the United States has released its third annual list of hydro projects that have achieved environmental stewardship while meeting regional power needs.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-04-11 <SolarAccess.com> The report from the National Hydropower Association features ten projects that have improved water quality, enhanced habitat, restored fisheries, protected endangered species, or put into conservation land for the protection of wildlife. Four of the ten projects appear for the first time on the group’s ‘Outstanding Stewardship of America’s Rivers.’ “Protection of the natural environment and productive use of rivers can go hand-in-hand,” says NHA president Chris Hocker. “We must balance the imperative to conserve natural resources with the needs of electricity consumers and the economy. These ten projects are a testament to the fact that we can do both.” The projects have 6,667 MW of generating capacity, and avoid the emission of 2.67 million tonnes of carbon that would be required if that electricity were generated from fossil fuel plants. One of the ten projects is the Priest Rapids facility on the Columbia River. The Grant County Public Utility District uses sophisticated fish ladders, spill deflectors, regulated flows during spawning and rearing periods, and a hatchery program to set records last year for adult returns. With reliability of the national grid being questioned for the first time in a generation, the list includes one hydro facility that relies on pumped storage. Duke Energy, owner of the Jocassee and Bad Creek Pumped Storage projects located on the Savannah River in North and South Carolina. The list also includes a Canadian river, the Madawaska in Ontario, where Ontario Power Generation has teamed with government officials and local partners to restore important fisheries while giving careful consideration to electricity needs, flood control, fishing, recreation, environmental appreciation and tourism. For the third straight year, the Tennessee Valley Authority is recognized for its improvement of water quality while generating renewable hydroelectricity. The Douglas project on the French Broad River in Tennessee features an innovative combination of technologies that raise dissolved oxygen levels to meet the needs of downstream fisheries throughout the year. The improvement has been so dramatic that river has been judged as a suitable site for the re-introduction of several threatened and endangered freshwater species. Returning to the list are six projects: Avista’s Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids Projects on the Clark Fork River in Montana and Idaho; TVA’s Norris Project on the Clinch and Powell Rivers in Tennessee; PG&E’s Deerfield River System on the Deerfield River in Vermont and northwest Massachusetts; AmerenUE’s Osage Power Plant on the Osage River in Missouri; Nebraska Public Power and Central Nebraska Public Power’s Kingsley and Sutherland projects on the Platte River in western and central Nebraska; and Seattle City Light’s Skagit River Project on the Skagit River in Washington. The projects were subjected to a thorough evaluation by a judging committee comprised of a whitewater rafting enthusiast and member of the American Whitewater, the managing editor of Hydro Review magazine, the environmental resources manager of a power utility, and the vice president of generation for a investor-owned utility. NHA was formed in 1983 to represent 61 percent of domestic, non-federal hydroelectric capacity, representing 80,000 MW in North America. The non-profit association promotes the use of renewable and reliable hydroelectric power.

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