The Hydroelectric Power Plants in the United States: How Do They Work?

In 2009, the US Dept. of Energy announced that $30.6 million of the government’s Recovery Act funds will be used to upgrade 7 hydroelectric power plants in the United States. Know the modernization projects & plans for improvement to resolve the environmental problems presented by hydro power plants

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According to the US Geological (USGS) hydroelectricpower is one of the most important renewable source of energy but only about 7 percent of total power is produced by hydroelectric power plants in the United States.

The negative environmental impacts were big factors that prevented the government to proceed with this undertaking. Surrounding valleys with existing towns, farmlands, pastures, and scenic locations can be permanently flooded. This can also disrupt the wildlife habitats and destroy existing fish life. Blocked river passages will prevent the arrival of migrating fishes like the salmon.

The only solution considered to fully harness the existing hydroelectric power plants to provide renewable and cleaner energy was at least modify the old ones.

There was also no assurance that hydroelectric power generation could reduce the production of greenhouse gases. Plant materials in newly flooded areas will decay in an environment with low levels of oxygen, thereby producing more potent greenhouse gases like methane.

A hydroelectric power plant converts water pressure into electricity. As a renewable source, it can endlessly sustain the production of hydroelectricity by using the gravitational force of falling or flowing water and water turbines.

It turns the potential energy of water gathered in dam reservoirs in high places, into moving kinetic energy that rotates the turbines. The turbines generate electricity by turning magnets around stationary metal coils, until changes in the magnet’s polarity produces Alternating Currents; or what we know as AC. The power generated passes through transformers to increase the voltage and send them to distribution facilities, in-charge of sending and regulating electricity through power lines. Only then will electricity become available in our homes.

The second type of hydroelectric power is the one that takes advantage of the rising and the falling tides and the strong currents near estuaries. This one uses turbines that come in the form of rolling logs with horizontally placed axes exposed to the sea. As the tide rises and falls, the horizontal protrusions will spin like a log to generate electricity. Similar to its dam counterpart, it will send the raw power to transformers and distribution facilities for regulation.

In as much as hydroelectric power gets its energy from falling, flowing, or tidally moving water, production of electrical energy has no direct waste and an almost zero level of greenhouse gas. Due to the absence of combustion, there is no emission of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, dust, or other pollutants.

Another advantage is the elimination of the cost of imported fuel to run the system. Hydroelectric plants use fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, or coal. In addition, since the plant runs under full automation, labor cost is low.

The upgrading of these hydropower facilities is all about increasing the sources of clean energy through the use of hydroelectric power systems without the need to build new dams or making any modifications to existing ones to back up the hydropower plant’s capacity and ability to increase its efficiency.

Upgrading hydroelectric power plants without the need to resort to civil works will provide a less expensive way of increasing renewable energy which is placed at an average estimated cost of less than 4 cents per kWh. The absence of undertaking dam constructions or modifications will also speed up the process of modernizing seven hydroelectric power plants in order to meet the ultimate goal of stimulating the economy.

Eventually, having more inexpensive sources of renewable energy will perk up the economic condition in every local community thus, create more employment opportunities.

The main objectives of the $30.6 million undertaking include improvement of water intakes and implementing newer control systems that will increase power generation. In addition, more efficient and fish friendly turbines will be utilized to lessen any negative environmental impact that these power plants are causing.

The $30.6 million Recovery Funds will be released to modernize the following hydroelectric power plants in the United States:

Alabama Power Company- About $6 million will be allotted to three hydroelectric plants located along the Coosa River in Mitchell, Alabama will have four units upgraded by replacing the vintage turbines dating back from the 1940s to the 1960s with highly-modernized stainless steel turbines that can increase the hydropower plants’ efficiency by generating additional 36,087 MWh annually renewable energy.

Find the continuation of the hydroelectric power plants’ modernization projects on the next page.

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The Seven Hydroelectric Power Plants in the United States and Their Proposed Modenization (continuation)

Alcoa, Inc- An estimated $13 million will be used to replace 4 ninety-year-old Francis Turbines in Alcoa’s Tapoco Cheoah plant located in Robbinsville, N.C. The expected increase in renewable energy of 95,000 MWh will provide additional generating capacity of 22 MW. Replacements will include 4 new high-efficiency stainless steel turbines, transformers and generators since the upgrading intends not only to generate more energy but also to replace its present system of water cooled transformers which will decrease the risks of oil spills in the river. The presence of lead and asbestos currently existing in the 4 generating units will also be eliminated.

As an update, Alcoa, Inc. kicked-ff with the $110 million modernization project at Cheoah Dam Modernization Project on August 27, 2010. this project is expected to increase the dam’s efficiency and energy output for the next forty to fifty years.

City of Tacoma, Department of Public Utilities- The local government will receive about $4.67 million to fund a project that will add two units of 1.8 MW Francis Turbines to the 81 MW Cushman No. 2 Dam located in Potlatch, Washington. About 23,500 MWh of additional annual generation is expected from this project. The undertaking will include the integration of a fish collection pool above the existing dam as a new habitat for the native fish that had avoided the area since 1920.

The City of Boulder, Colorado ‘ The city will receive about $1.18 million in government funding to modernize the century old Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric Project. A single high-efficiency turbine will replace two old turbine units to enable the hydroelectric power plant to have a wider range of water flow that will result to increased power generation by 11,000 MWh or 30% of its present capacity. The area will like wise benefit from the upgrading projects as asbestos removal will eliminate the presence of environmental hazards.

Update about Boulder Cty’s hydroelectric modernization project – On October 08, 2010, the city opened this government project for public bidding.

Energy Northwest ‘ An $800,000 project to add a high technology Pelton Wheel Turbine to Packwood Lake Hydroelectric in Packwood, Washington will be undertaken to generate a 6% increase of about 5,868 MWh at lower costs in terms of operations. The project is also expected to provide a more sustainable downstream habitat for the local fish population.

Update: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted the Packwood Lake Hydroelectric Project the renewal of its license in early 2010; hence, the modernization project is expected to be completed by the later part of 2011.

The Incorporated County of Los Alamos, N.M will receive $4.56 million in government funding to improve the existing 13.8 MW hydroelectric plant in Abiquiu, N.M by adding low-flow turbine that will increase the capacity of the power plant to generate additional 3 MW or equivalent to an annual increase of 6,462 MWh in renewable energy. This augments the capability of the hydroelectric power plants when dam releases are below the requirements of the two existing turbines. The addition of the state-of-the ‘art turbine is expected to improve the minimum flows.

North Little Rock Electric Department- The 39 MW hydroelectric facilities along the Arkansas River, at Little Rock, Arkansas will receive $450,000 to upgrade the hydroelectric facility by installing an Automated Intake Maintenance Device. This will free the river area from obstructions that hamper the facility’s intakes and eliminate the high costs of dredging. The improvement will now allow the power plant to operate with more efficiency.

The calls for cleaner energy in order to slow down global warming are now getting the long awaited responses through these upgrading projects. The selection of the seven hydroelectric power plants in the United States, were based on their ability to increase electrical power generation carbon free. The full operation of these renewable sources of energy will reduce carbon emissions by more than 110,000 tons per year owing to the improvement of their hydroelectric power generations.

The Hydroelectric Power Plants in the United States: How Do They Work?

In 2009, the US Dept. of Energy declared that $30.6 million of the administration’s Recovery Act assets will be utilized to overhaul 7 hydroelectric power plants in the United States. Know the modernization ventures and plans for development to determine the natural issues exhibited by hydro control plants

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As per the US Geological (USGS) hydroelectricpower is a standout amongst the most critical renewable wellspring of vitality yet just around 7 percent of aggregate power is created by hydroelectric power plants in the United States.

The negative ecological effects were huge elements that kept the legislature to continue with this endeavor. Encompassing valleys with existing towns, farmlands, pastures, and grand areas can be for all time overwhelmed. This can likewise disturb the natural life environments and decimate existing fish life. Blocked waterway sections will keep the entry of moving fishes like the salmon.

The main arrangement considered to completely saddle the current hydroelectric power plants to give renewable and cleaner vitality was at any rate adjust the old ones.

There was likewise no confirmation that hydroelectric power era could lessen the creation of nursery gasses. Plant materials in recently overflowed ranges will rot in a domain with low levels of oxygen, in this manner delivering more strong nursery gasses like methane.

A hydroelectric power plant changes over water weight into power. As a renewable source, it can interminably maintain the creation of hydroelectricity by utilizing the gravitational compel of falling or streaming water and water turbines.

It turns the potential vitality of water accumulated in dam stores in high places, into moving active vitality that pivots the turbines. The turbines create power by turning magnets around stationary metal curls, until changes in the magnet’s extremity produces Alternating Currents; or what we know as AC. The power created goes through transformers to build the voltage and send them to dissemination offices, responsible for sending and directing power through electrical cables. At exactly that point will power get to be distinctly accessible in our homes.

The second sort of hydroelectric power is the one that exploits the rising and the falling tides and the solid streams close estuaries. This one uses turbines that come through moving logs with on a level plane put tomahawks presented to the ocean. As the tide rises and falls, the flat projections will turn like a log to produce power. Like its dam partner, it will send the crude energy to transformers and dispersion offices for control.

In as much as hydroelectric power gets its vitality from falling, streaming, or tidally moving water, creation of electrical vitality has no immediate waste and a just about zero level of nursery gas. Because of the nonappearance of burning, there is no emanation of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, clean, or different poisons.

Another preferred standpoint is the disposal of the cost of imported fuel to run the framework. Hydroelectric plants utilize fossil energizes, for example, oil, normal gas, or coal. What’s more, since the plant keeps running under full robotization, work cost is low.

The updating of these hydropower offices is about expanding the wellsprings of clean vitality using hydroelectric power frameworks without the need to construct new dams or making any alterations to existing ones to move down the hydropower plant’s ability and capacity to build its productivity.

Overhauling hydroelectric power plants without the need to depend on common works will give a less costly method for expanding renewable vitality which is put at a normal evaluated cost of under 4 pennies for each kWh. The nonappearance of undertaking dam developments or changes will likewise accelerate the way toward modernizing seven hydroelectric power plants with a specific end goal to meet a definitive objective of fortifying the economy.

In the end, having more modest wellsprings of renewable vitality will liven up the financial condition in each neighborhood group in this way, make more work open doors.

The primary targets of the $30.6 million undertaking incorporate change of water admissions and actualizing more up to date control frameworks that will expand control era. Moreover, more productive and fish amicable turbines will be used to reduce any negative natural effect that these power plants are bringing on.

The $30.6 million Recovery Funds will be discharged to modernize the accompanying hydroelectric power plants in the United States:

Alabama Power Company-About $6 million will be distributed to three hydroelectric plants situated along the Coosa River in Mitchell, Alabama will have four units overhauled by supplanting the vintage turbines going once again from the 1940s to the 1960s with profoundly modernized stainless steel turbines that can expand the hydropower plants’ proficiency by creating extra 36,087 MWh every year renewable vitality.

Discover the continuation of the hydroelectric power plants’ modernization extends on the following page.

<!- – INFOLINKS_OFF – > <!- – INFOLINKS_ON – >

The Seven Hydroelectric Power Plants in the United States and Their Proposed Modenization (continuation)

Alcoa, Inc-An expected $13 million will be utilized to supplant 4 ninety-year-old Francis Turbines in Alcoa’s Tapoco Cheoah plant situated in Robbinsville, N.C. The normal increment in renewable vitality of 95,000 MWh will give extra producing limit of 22 MW. Substitutions will incorporate 4 new high-effectiveness stainless steel turbines, transformers and generators since the redesigning plans to produce more vitality as well as to supplant its present arrangement of water cooled transformers which will diminish the dangers of oil slicks in the waterway. The nearness of lead and asbestos right now existing in the 4 creating units will likewise be disposed of.

As a redesign, Alcoa, Inc. kicked-ff with the $110 million modernization extend at Cheoah Dam Modernization Project on August 27, 2010. this venture is required to build the dam’s proficiency and vitality yield for the following forty to fifty years.

City of Tacoma, Department of Public Utilities-The nearby government will get about $4.67 million to support a venture that will include two units of 1.8 MW Francis Turbines to the 81 MW Cushman No. 2 Dam situated in Potlatch, Washington. Around 23,500 MWh of extra yearly era is normal from this venture. The endeavor will incorporate the combination of a fish accumulation pool over the current dam as another territory for the local fish that had maintained a strategic distance from the zone since 1920.

The City of Boulder, Colorado ” The city will get about $1.18 million in government financing to modernize the extremely old Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric Project. A solitary high-effectiveness turbine will supplant two old turbine units to empower the hydroelectric power plant to have a more extensive scope of water stream that will result to expanded power era by 11,000 MWh or 30% of its present limit. The region will like astute advantage from the overhauling ventures as asbestos evacuation will take out the nearness of ecological perils.

Upgrade about Boulder Cty’s hydroelectric modernization extend – On October 08, 2010, the city opened this administration extend for open offering.

Vitality Northwest ” A $800,000 venture to include a high innovation Pelton Wheel Turbine to Packwood Lake Hydroelectric in Packwood, Washington will be embraced to produce a 6% expansion of around 5,868 MWh at lower costs as far as operations. The venture is likewise anticipated that would give a more manageable downstream territory for the neighborhood angle populace.

Upgrade: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allowed the Packwood Lake Hydroelectric Project the reestablishment of its permit in mid 2010; consequently, the modernization venture is relied upon to be finished by the later piece of 2011.

The Incorporated County of Los Alamos, N.M will get $4.56 million in government financing to enhance the current 13.8 MW hydroelectric plant in Abiquiu, N.M by including low-stream turbine that will expand the limit of the power plant to create extra 3 MW or proportional to a yearly increment of 6,462 MWh in renewable vitality. This expands the ability of the hydroelectric power plants when dam discharges are beneath the necessities of the two existing turbines. The expansion of the condition of-the ‘craftsmanship turbine is relied upon to enhance the base streams.

North Little Rock Electric Department-The 39 MW hydroelectric offices along the Arkansas River, at Little Rock, Arkansas will get $450,000 to update the hydroelectric office by introducing an Automated Intake Maintenance Device. This will free the stream zone from blocks that hamper the office’s admissions and take out the high expenses of digging. The change will now permit the power plant to work with more effectiveness.

The calls for cleaner vitality keeping in mind the end goal to back off a dangerous atmospheric devation are currently getting the hotly anticipated reactions through these redesigning ventures. The choice of the seven hydroelectric power plants in the United States, depended on their capacity to increment electrical power era carbon free. The full operation of these renewable wellsprings of vitality will decrease carbon outflows by more than 110,000 tons for every year attributable to the change of their hydroelectric power eras.

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