Skip to comments.Energy development at U.S. dams could power more than 4 million homes
Posted on 04/24/2012 4:37:31 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
In a study of the energy-producing potential of untapped U.S. dams, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers found that 54,000 dams not currently used to generate power have the capacity to generate more than 12 gigawatts, enough to power more than 4 million homes.
ORNL and Idaho National Laboratory researchers conducting a hydropower resource assessment for the Department of Energy calculated that the 100 dams with the highest energy potential could generate 8 gigawatts of power. The top 10 power-generating dams are along the Ohio, Mississippi, Alabama, Tombigbee, Arkansas and Red rivers.
Equipping existing dams with power-generating plants avoids additional environmental impacts because the dams are already operating. Additionally, installing hydropower won't change the timing of flows released from the dams.
"Most non-powered dams and potential capacity can be developed outside of critical habitat, parks and wilderness areas," said Brennan Smith, ORNL water power program manager. "Most of today's large dams that aren't generating power are used for navigation and flood control, but they have the potential to act as a renewable energy source."
ORNL found that hydropower energy is available in areas that are not rich in wind or solar power, such as the Ohio River Valley and the Southeast.
To determine the energy potential of non-power generating dams, ORNL researchers used data from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Army Corps of Engineers to map stream networks, dams and stream flows. Through geospatial processing techniques, ORNL researchers were able to overlay the mapped data and collectively define energy potential at each site. The flow and elevation difference of the dam determined the power potential and allowed researchers to compute how much energy the dam could produce.
Now that researchers have quantified the potential energy of non-power generating dams, the next step will be to figure out how much it will cost to build these hydropower plants.
"The high-value opportunities for development are likely to be at large dams operated by the federal agencies," Smith said. "The private sector can work with these agencies to develop projects that provide additional energy for the nation's electric power systems."
But think of the migratory salmon trying to reach Pittsburgh to spawn!
The dam is already there, they've been bonking their heads on it for years now. No EPA approval necessary.
There are some 3000 dams here in Michigan and many of those could be retrofitted with small turbines that would produce a fair amount of electricity.
Unfortunately we’re overrun with greenies who want the rivers to run free and are busily tearing out dams. Our great lakes czar (Cameron Davis) is head of the alliance for the great lakes. Removing all human habitation from the waterside is what they do.
Wind and solar are not ready for prime time and gas would have to be $15 a gallon before they become compelling. Of course, wind and solar are not directly connected to my car so that means I'll have to buy a new, electric car. And oh by the way, the current power grid will have difficulty with the added load of millions of electric cars charging from it. Means billions of dollars in upgrades and years and years. Oh, they didn't tell you this?
The whole goal of the environmentalists is to deprive Americans because they believe that we have too much. And most Americans are easily fooled.
I’m sure there are some good locations in this list but I know that a lot of it is pure H.S.
The potential may be there in height but the water will not last in a lot of locations. I’ll give one big example, John Martin on the Arkansas River in SE Colorado. Yes it has water in the lake but not a whole heck of a lot comes out of it. In the Tulsa District most of the places that don’t have power plants are that way for a reason, there isn’t enough water for them to pay off.
Aren’t we sick and tired of having this government pee on our leg and telling us it is raining? Aren’t you tired of supporting people to recycle the same old crap like the some of the trolls at Oak Ridge. I swung by there in February to see the Hexafloride plant. It was pitiful. Run down and like death. About the only work was pollution abatement. Signs to the public information almost non-existent. And this is what they put out? Mostly they just copied what the Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation have been doing for decades. Junk science.
The big downside is that building new hydroelectric powerplants would take money away from the sweetheart handouts funneled to Obama’s pals and their bogus Green Tech Schemes.
Went to story at http://www.ornl.gov/info/features/get_feature.cfm?FeatureNumber=f20120418-00 and found within it “For an interactive map of dams in the U.S. with the potential to produce more than 1 megawatt of power, see http://energy.gov/articles/powering-america-s-waterways “
Here I found this... and since I live in Corsicana, I can assure you there is a city near there--
Gadzooks! It is called... Corsicana!
BTW Lake Corsicana's small dam was breached... when Richland-Chambers Lake was built in the late 1980s and one would wonder how it would produce electricity when there is not anyway for Chambers Creek to flow into it now that Richland-Chambers Lake is there?
First, the cost of building the necessary infrastructure to get water to the turbines and the electricity out made payback time horrendously long. Decades long. Second, most of those dams were on runoff watersheds only, that is, the main watershed had only intermittent flow when there was a heavy rainfall, which for most lakes, made the payback times even worse. There were better uses for the money, even for a government agency, as an unsubsidized solar unit had better payback.
The joke is that nat gas, completely neglected by big govt planners and brought into abundant supply by evil private industry (friggin frackers!!) is making all this “green” stuff totally irrelevant by undercutting the pricing by such a huge margin.
Hadn’t you heard? The lakes upstream of the dams collect organic matter, which decays and produces CO2, which causes global warming. Oh, and the bluejean millionnaires who (with OPEC and Soros) help bankroll the so-called environmental organizations want to canoe down the restored ‘wild’ waters of the SW US. Thanks Vince Ferrer.