Skip to main content

View Diary: Energize America - A Blueprint for U.S. Energy Security (Fourth Draft) (311 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  I'm finding different figures on US hydro (none)
    You said: "Low-head" hydroelectric and "run-of-the-river" hydroelectric could provide considerable amounts of new electricity in small bits at reasonable cost and minimal environmental impact. But the big gains would come from extremely expensive turbine upgrades at already existing large dams.

    There are 4,316 MW of "incremental" hydropower available at sites with existing hydroelectric facilities. "Incremental" hydropower is defined as capacity additions or improved efficiency at existing hydro projects.

    According to river basin analyses, there are nearly 70,000 Megawatts (MW) of potential hydropower generation in the U.S. when only engineering and economic factors are considered. When screening for environmental, legal and institutional factors at potential sites, there are 29,780 MW of hydro generation-most of which can be developed without the construction of a single, new dam. There are 16,998 MW available at dams without hydroelectric capacity.

    So only 4 GW is possible through increased efficiency but there is 30 GW possible at already existing dams and there are 17 GW possible at existing dams that currently produce no hydro (part of the 30 GW figure).

    30 GW in renewable energy by 2020 is a lot of very cheap electricity to leave out of the plan.  Could you see that is added?  

    The expensive 4 GW through new turbines I agree with you may not be worth it.

    •  Practically speaking ... (none)
      ...for political AND technical reasons, the emphasis has to be on the word "possible" with that 30GW. It's "possible" to power the whole U.S. with wind power, too, but there are too many obstacles to actually do that.

      Still, some attention to hydro would be a good idea.

      •  Thanks for all the work MB!! (none)
      •  3 miles from me is a reservoir that could power (none)
        a 3 Mw plant.  Right now it sits there producing 0 Mw, even though there are homes and towns all around it and the power lines are a few hundred feet away.  

        Do just a hundred of those together and bingo -- 300 Mw for very little cost and very high capacity.  In certain regions--I'm sure if we looked--this would make lots of sense.

        Other regions not so much sense.

        Don't forget even 20 GW of hydro would be 96% capacity I think, so the generation is damn close to the capacity.  Better than nuclear even!  So generation-wise it makes a huge baseline impact in those good regions over other renewables.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (135)
  • Community (62)
  • Elections (40)
  • 2016 (38)
  • Environment (36)
  • Bernie Sanders (36)
  • Hillary Clinton (31)
  • Culture (30)
  • Media (29)
  • Republicans (29)
  • Climate Change (27)
  • Education (23)
  • Spam (23)
  • Congress (23)
  • Civil Rights (22)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (21)
  • Barack Obama (21)
  • Labor (21)
  • Law (20)
  • Texas (20)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site