Tech Notes

GIS to aid hydro development in Peru

The government of Peru is seeking to develop a geographic information system (GIS) for potential small hydro projects. The GIS is intended to allow preliminary evaluation of the country’s renewable power potential based on small hydroelectric plants.

The system would be based on an existing prototype HydroGIS using basic ArcGIS software. This system, being sought by the country’s Ministerio de Energia y Minas, would be similar to one being developed in Brazil to estimate the potential of water resources in that country. (For more information, see “Tech Notes,” December 2006.)

In addition, the government seeks to perform similar national mapping of wind energy. The government then will develop an overall GIS for Internet-based national mapping that will incorporate both the hydro and wind systems.

Funding for development of all three GIS programs for Peru is being provided by the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Global Environment Facility.

ICOLD Forum: Foundation considerations

The foundation of a dam is the most complex part of a water storage facility. In addition, it is one of the most important components governing the safety of the structure.

Dam foundations have three primary functions:

  • To provide stability;
  • To provide sufficient stiffness for limiting deformations under the weight of the dam and the forces acting on it; and
  • To control seepage.

If even one of these functions is only marginally satisfied, the performance of the dam risks impairment. In the worst case scenario, the dam could be unsafe or even fail.

Click here to enlarge image

The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) offers a technical bulletin on the topic of dam foundations. Bulletin 129, Dam Foundations — Geologic considerations. Investigation methods. Treatment. Monitoring, was prepared by an ICOLD committee formed specifically for preparation of the bulletin. The committee was made up of 30 members from 21 countries.

The bulletin presents the state of current practice. It covers: selection of the dam type based on foundation analysis; methods for geologic and materials investigations; foundation treatment practices; and foundation monitoring methods.

In addition, several case histories are shared to illustrate problems encountered in dam foundation engineering and to describe how these problems were addressed.

The 488-page bulletin is useful to owners, designers, contractors, and regulators who have dam safety obligations. To order this bulletin for 72 euros (US$97), visit and click on Publications, then Bulletins.

— ICOLD is a nongovernmental organization that provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in dam engineering. The organization leads the profession in ensuring that dams are built safely, efficiently, economically, and without detrimental effects on the environment. To learn more about ICOLD activities, contact Michel De Vivo, Secretary-General, ICOLD 151, Bd Haussmann, Paris 75008 France; (33) 1-40426824; E-mail: secretaire.

HydroVision 2008 offerstechnical plant tours

Attendees of the HydroVision 2008 conference in Sacramento, Calif., USA, July 14-18, 2008, can take part in two technical tours of hydroelectric facilities, one before and one after the conference.

The pre-conference tour on Sunday, July 13, starts with a visit to the Joint Operations Control Center, the control center for the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley and for the California Department of Water Resources.

After touring the control center, delegates will visit the 224-mw White Rock facility, owned by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). White Rock is part of the seven-powerhouse 688-mw Upper American River project. SMUD is upgrading digital and mechanical governors and turbine shut-off valve controls for ten units in the Upper American project, including one unit at the White Rock powerhouse.

The pre-conference tour concludes with a visit to the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park. This park features the historic Folsom Powerhouse, built in 1895 and now a museum. The powerhouse still looks much as it did when it was built, with the vintage generators, control switchboard, and transformers.

The post-conference technical tour begins the afternoon of Friday, July 18, and ends at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, July 20. This tour includes visits to two hydro projects in California.

Participants first will visit the 762-mw Oroville Facilities project (formerly called Feather River) on Saturday morning. This project includes Oroville Dam, Lake Oroville, three power plants (645-mw Edward Hyatt pumped-storage, 114-mw Thermalito pumped-storage, and 3-mw Thermalito Diversion), the Feather River Fish Hatchery, the Oroville Wildlife Area, and the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. The California Department of Water Resources recently completed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing of the Oroville Facilities project.

After touring the Oroville Facilities and the visitors center, the group travels to the 315-mw Colgate facility and New Bullards Bar Dam on the Yuba River. Yuba County Water Agency plans to undertake rehabilitation work on the facility, which began operating in 1899.

— To register for a tour, go to: www. To request a conference brochure, which includes details on the tours and registration information, telephone: (1) 816-931-1311, extension 129, or E-mail: hydrovision@hcipub. com. Tour participation is limited; pre-registration by June 1, 2008, is required.

ICOLD publishes new book on dams and water

The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) announces availability of a new book, Dams and the World’s Water. The 68-page book explains, in a non-technical, easy-to-read format, how dams help to manage the world’s water.

Topics covered include:

  • The world’s water cycle;
  • Distribution of the world’s water;
  • World population data;
  • Water requirements;
  • The history of dams in the world;
  • The purpose of dams today;
  • The benefits dams provide; and
  • Dams and the environment.

Click here to enlarge image

Members of the ICOLD committee on Public Awareness and Education compiled the book. Several countries are using the book; the Japan Commission on Large Dams translated it to Japanese.

— View the book and download it, free, at the ICOLD website:

Previous articleBy the power of Oz: Osmotic generation technology
Next articleExcessive Permit Fees Hinder Renewable Energy Development
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.

No posts to display