The Future of Hydropower in the Pacific Northwest

The Future of Hydropower in the Pacific Northwest: Challenges and Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a report detailing a vision for increasing the nation’s hydropower capacity by 50% by 2050. Despite a variety of technical, environmental, and market challenges to be overcome, the report concludes that there remain significant opportunities for future hydropower development in the United States. Those opportunities come particularly through upgrades to existing hydropower facilities, adding power generation capacity to existing dams and canals, and development of new pumped storage capacity. In the Pacific Northwest, the nation’s hydropower leader, the potential for new hydro development in undammed stream reaches is limited largely due to environmental constraints associated with fish habitat protections. However, there are still significant regional opportunities to optimize the use of existing infrastructure to increase hydropower capacity. In particular, through development of in-conduit hydropower and pumped storage hydropower facilities, the region could reap benefits ranging from increased grid reliability, improved ability to incorporate intermittent renewable power sources like wind energy, and reduced carbon emissions.

energy, hydroelectric

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BLM Releases Solar Energy Monitoring Strategy

BLM logoThe Bureau of Land Management released today the final strategy for monitoring the impacts of solar energy development in eastern Riverside County. Public comments from the October draft strategy were considered into this final strategy which is part of the implementation of the Western Solar Plan.

The Riverside East Long Term Monitoring Strategy will help the BLM understand solar energy development's broad-scale effects on resources such as vegetation, hydrology, and air quality. The information generated through the strategy will help the BLM permit future solar energy projects.

BLM, Monitoring, energy, solar

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NREL Report Firms Up Land-Use Requirements of Solar

Study shows solar for 1,000 homes would require 32 acres

July 30, 2013 - The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a report on the land use requirements of solar power plants based on actual land-use practices from existing solar facilities.

“Having real data from a majority of the solar plants in the United States will help people make proper comparisons and informed decisions,” lead author Sean Ong said. The report, “Land-use Requirements for Solar Power Plants in the United States,”PDF was written with NREL colleagues Clinton Campbell, Robert Margolis, Paul Denholm and Garvin Heath.

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Witnesses: Increased Offshore Oil, Natural Gas, Wind Production Creates Thousands of Jobs, Grows Economy

WASHINGTON D.C. – The Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee held an oversight hearing today on “America’s Offshore Energy Resources: Creating Jobs, Securing America, and Lowering Prices.”  The hearing focused on the significant economic growth that increased production of offshore oil, natural gas and wind energy can provide.

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Renewable Energy on Public Lands and Waters Making Rapid Advances

Looming sequester threatens to slow progress on permitting

BOSTON – The Obama Administration’s renewable energy program has authorized dozens of renewable energy projects on public lands and will hold the first-ever auctions for commercial wind development in the Atlantic this year, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told offshore wind stakeholders at a conference in Boston today.  Salazar noted that the rapid progress – as well as conventional oil and gas development on federal lands and waters – could be stymied by potential cuts under sequestration.

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