Bookmark and Share

Energy Newsbriefs Blog

The WSU Energy Program Library prepares this current awareness blog with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. These articles highlight energy-related news, articles, and reports about energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy for energy professionals and interested members of the public.

Category: Hydropower


Idaho Falls Power Completes Refurbishment of 1938 Hydropower Plant

NWPPA Bulletin, Jan. 2017, by John Barksdale. -- scroll to page 12 of the .pdf.

"Idaho Falls Power, a department of the City of Idaho Falls and one of the oldest public power utilities in the Northwest, is situated on the Snake River in Southeast Idaho....  Today, IFP now owns and operates five hydroelectric facilities generating 56 megawatts for its 27,000 customers. The oldest of its hydro projects, the Old Lower Plant, was built during the Roosevelt Administration in 1938 under the Works Progress Administration.... Given the age of the generators, turbines, and the plant in general, IFP evaluated rebuilding the units to determine if it was an economically viable option. The analysis demonstrated a return on investment over a 35-year period using several energy cost scenarios. With an estimated rehabilitation cost of $7.8 million, the feasibility was deemed viable in all scenarios."

Where Canadian Hydro is Heading

Hydro Review, Dec. 2016, by Michael Harris.

"With a number of significant projects in development, turnover in the federal government, commitments to international policies, and more impacting Canadian hydropower, the sector is as vibrant and dynamic as ever. We asked three industry experts to offer their views on where the Canadian hydro market is going and reflections on the past year with an eye toward trends and issues that could spread beyond Canadian borders."

Hydropower Isn’t Carbon Neutral After All, WSU Researchers Say

The Seattle Times, Sept. 28, 2016, by Lynda V. Mapes.

"Washington State University researchers have learned that reservoirs produce much more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than previously understood."
Link to access the full-text article:

A New Era of Refurbishment [Hydropower]

Hydro Review, Sept. 2016, by Mark Bitter, Randy Furbush, Jacob Hostler, Adam Lyman, and Loren Nouss.

"To improve performance and get more life out of a unit that had been generating electricity for more than a century, the project's owner decided to use a combination of mechanical refurbishment and polymer composite coatings."

Hydropower Vision: A New Chapter for America’s 1st Renewable Electricity Source

U.S. Dept. of Energy, EERE, July 2016.

"Through the Hydropower Vision, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office has led a first-of-its-kind comprehensive analysis to evaluate future pathways for low-carbon, renewable hydropower (hydropower generation and pumped storage) in the United States, focused on continued technical evolution, increased energy market value, and environmental sustainability."

Real-world Research at Wanapum Dam

Hydro Review, May 2016, by Yannick Baril, Maxim Bergeron, Jose Figueroa, and Jeff Niehenke.

"Repair work at Grant County Public Utility District's Wanapum Dam in Washington offered an uncommon chance to perform studies on operating machinery."

Weighing Costs and Benefits in Hydropower Maintenance and Upgrade Decisions

Power Magazine, Apr. 2016, by Aaron Larson.

"Choosing whether to maintain or upgrade hydropower plant components can be difficult. Poor original equipment reliability can force changes, but often a detailed cost-benefit analysis is needed to make decisions. Understanding how others have tackled the process can help ensure success at your plant."

Update on DOE’s Wave Energy Prize

Hydro Review, Apr. 2016, by Alison LaBonte. "A new initiative, called the Wave Energy Prize, was announced in 2015 during the keynote address at the annual National Hydropower Association conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference, and Marine Energy Technology Symposium. This announcement represented a milestone for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind and Water Power Technologies Office - the commencement of its first public prize challenge, with a total prize purse of US$2.25 million, stemmed from realizing that a technology leap in the efficiency of wave energy converter (WEC) devices was needed to jolt wave energy onto a pathway toward sweeping cost reductions. This pathway could ultimately make wave energy, which is still in the early stages of technology development, competitive with more traditional forms of energy, paving the way to large-scale implementation within ... Read the rest of entry »

Outlook for Hydropower in the U.S.

Hydro Review, Jan. 2016, by Michael Harris.

"Though other forms of renewable energy have arguably emerged as more visible in the public eye, hydroelectric power remains as key a component in the United States’ energy mix as ever before. However, federal legislation enacted in recent years has helped spark a renaissance in the U.S. hydro sector, and even with elections looming later this year, more significant policy could still be coming."

Developing 2,400+ MW of Hydro in North America

Hydro Review, Nov. 2015, by Elizabeth Ingram.

"This article provides details about development work ongoing (or completed in 2015) at 10 hydro projects in the U.S. and Canada. This is just a representative sample and not intended to be comprehensive. Read on to learn who is developing these projects, where they are located, what it cost to develop them, how they got financing and much more."
Pages: Prev12NextReturn Top


The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at