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DOE Water Power Program – Making It Happen Michael J. Sale

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DOE Water Power Program – Making It Happen Michael J. Sale NWHA 2011 Annual Conference, Portland, OR February 23, 2011. Position among Renewables. U.S. Installed Renewable Capacity (EIA, 2008 * ). *Accessed 6-21-10:

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DOE Water Power Program – Making It Happen

Michael J. Sale

NWHA 2011 Annual Conference, Portland, OR

February 23, 2011


Position among Renewables

U.S. Installed Renewable Capacity (EIA, 2008*)

*Accessed 6-21-10:

trends in national portfolio
Trends in National Portfolio

High annual variability and recent stagnant/downward trending

(1) Trends in U.S. total portfolio

(2) Corps projects becoming less available (industry standard > 95%)

Source: LG Hydro Presentation, March 2010

water power program structure
Water Power Program Structure

Water Team Mission

Develop and deploy novel technologies, improved operational procedures, and rigorous analysis to:

assess the potential extractable energy from domestic rivers, estuaries and coastal waters; and

support industry to harness this renewable, emissions-free resource through environmentally sustainable and cost-effective electric generation.


Water Power Funding History

Significant increase in appropriations over requests from

FY 08 to FY 10, coming into balance between MHK and CH

=Marine & Hydrokinetic ($M)

=Conventional Hydropower ($M)

FY 10

Equal split


for FY 11


FY 09









FY 08

















new opportunities in hydropower
New Opportunities in Hydropower

Numerous ways to increase hydropower portfolio

  • 1) Improvements at existing power plants:
  • Efficiency upgrades
  • Capacity upgrades
  • 2) Development of non-powered dams
  • 3) Small hydropower (< 5 MW):
  • Low-head dams or conveyance structures
  • New sites (waterfalls or diversions)
  • Water distribution systems
  • 4) Pumped-storage hydropower
current priorities and activities
Current Priorities and Activities
  • Demonstrate and deploy lowest cost options
  • Develop new technologies with better combined energy and environmental performance
  • Quantify undeveloped resources and cost-of-energy
  • Engage with regulators, agencies and NGOs to reduce time and cost of licensing
The Hydro Advancement Project (HAP): a pathway to stimulate hydro industry by enabling new development without new dams

Engaging with Industry

Focus on most cost-effective, least controversial types of new development:

Upgrades at existing power plants and retrofitting existing non-powered dams

(1) Create uniform auditingstandards and procedures

(2) Conduct feasibility audits, to identify energy upgrade options at existing sites power plants, including advanced technology (cheap screening analyses, $30k-$50k/site, and many sites)

(3) Provide financial assistance for detailed engineering design studies at most competitive sites, to define construction costs and drive financial decisions (costs are $1M-$2M/site)


Slide 9

mou for hydropower among doe doi and doa

New Federal Cooperation

MOU for Hydropower among DOE, DOI and DOA
  • Signed in March 2010, MOU highlights 7 key areas for interagency collaboration.
  • Major ongoing activities to date
    • Assessments of energy generation potential and analysis of potential climate change impacts to energy generation at federal hydropower facilities
    • Exploring opportunities for collaboration across entire river basins to increase generation and environmental conditions
    • Green Hydropower Certification
    • Federal Inland Hydropower Working Group
    • Joint development and demonstration of advanced technologies
    • Renewable Energy Integration and Energy Storage
    • Facilitate permitting for federal and non-federal projects at federal facilities
barriers to accelerating development

Federal Dams

  • Produce ~50% of U.S. conventional hydropower
  • Include hundreds of non-powered dams that are capable of producing hydropower
  • Limited funding for federal agencies to develop hydro

Private Development of Federal Sites

Barriers to accelerating development

Significant developmentopportunities exist at federal facilities

  • Jurisdictional Uncertainty
    • Clarify the licensing process regarding overlapping regulatory authorities
  • Hydropower is not a priority/mission at federal projects
    • Elevate profile of hydropower at federal facilities
  • Lease of Power Privilege
    • Study if program is working to incentivize or not

Resource Assessments

Defining resource potential is a critical step in designing and defending Program

To be completed in 2011 by ORNL and INL

Problems with Existing Resource Assessments

Show substantial resource size, but use inconsistent assumptions about likely development and not detailed enough for cost-curve modeling

National Hydropower Asset Assessment Project (NHAAP)

Collect best-available data from all sources to understand the portfolio

      • Power plants and equipment
      • Dams, diversions and reservoirs
      • Stream and river basin variables
      • Long-term generation patterns
      • Water availability and effects of generation

Program Supported Detailed Resource Assessments

Comprehensive across the U.S; integrated across resource type

  • New Small Hydropower
  • Non-Powered Dams
  • Pumped Storage Hydropower

New Tools for Resource Assessment

Oak Ridge National Laboratory National Asset Assessment Water Power GIS

  • Hydropower
  • Streamflow
  • Temperature
  • Elevation
  • Transmission
  • Water use
  • Land
  • Etc.
backup slides



Mike Reed

Technology Lead of Water Power Program


proposed changes for tax credits
PTC Parity

Hydropower currently receives half of full PTC value

Equal PTC credit needed to level playing field with other renewables

Extension of programs

Current deadline of 2014 is not enough time to accommodate development timeframes; especially for non-powered dams

Extension would allow for licensing and development of new facilities (including non-powered)

Expansion to Storage

Tax credits not available for pumped storage technologies

Pumped storage can help integrate renewables, and is increasingly powered by clean energy

PTC can help overcome financing difficulties

Increase funding for CREB program

Include incremental hydropower in RES

Push for Financial Incentives

Proposed Changes for Tax Credits