Canada, Europe, North America, Research and Development

R&D Forum

Issue 1 and Volume 26.

Two studies reveal significant hydro potential in Ontario

Between 5,000 and 7,000 MW of new hydro potentially could be developed in the Canadian province of Ontario, according to two independent analyses. Current installed hydro capacity in the province is about 8,000 MW.

The first analysis, undertaken by Hatch Energy, was commissioned by the Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Ontario Power Authority performed the second analysis.

The Hatch Energy study suggests that about 3,600 MW could be developed at 14 greenfield sites, each more than 100 MW in size. Another 1,000 MW of new capacity could be developed at 96 sites ranging in size from 1 MW to 100 MW.

In addition, results from the study show another 500 MW of the additional hydroelectric capacity is available through efficiency upgrades, redevelopments, and/or extensions of existing powerhouses. Another 180 MW could be provided by building new powerhouses at existing dams.

With regard to new projects less than 1 MW, Hatch Energy concludes about 150 sites are available, which would provide a total of 30 MW.

Finally, the study uncovered three sites for pumped-storage projects that could provide more than 1,200 MW.

For its analysis, the Ontario Power Authority divides available development sites into three categories: committed, probable, and practical. Committed and probable sites are those committed or expected to be built within the next five years. Practical sites are those that are believed to be technically and economically feasible. In addition to greenfield sites, sites reviewed included existing dams with no hydropower component and existing powerhouses with potential for efficiency upgrades, extensions, and/ or development. Detailed results from the Ontario Power Authority study are available in its Supply Mix Report.

Two key findings of both analyses are:

– Impediments to realizing as much as 75 percent of this potential are political, not practical; and

– If all the identified practical potential were developed, the province could make a significant contribution to its objective of doubling the amount of renewable energy in Ontario by 2025.

Data for both studies was gathered using existing information from previous studies, as well as assessment of individual large projects previously identified for development. The Hatch Energy report supplied several additional screening criteria – including economics, transmission, and policy.

– To obtain a copy of the reports, visit

CEATI releases report on cost of start-stop operations

CEATI announces completion of the technology review Cost of Start-Stop Operations. The report features information about an ongoing Norwegian research project on start-stop costs, as well as the results of a survey of North American participants in CEATI ’s Hydraulic Plant Life Interest Group (HPLIG).

The purpose of the Norwegian study, conducted by Statkraft, is to quantify the effects and costs due to the increased number of starts and stops resulting from deregulation of the power market. In Norway, a majority of the costs are connected to the generator. Newer generators seem to have a decreasing life span due to thermal cycling, and variation in costs at different plants is large.

Information collected on the North American market shows that start-stop costs are even more dominated by generator-related costs than in Norway. The survey results indicate there are relatively few faults at start and stop.

HPLIG participants indicated they would like to gain more knowledge on the effects of thermal cycling on the life expectancy of generators. As a result, CEATI initiated a project to investigate this area.

The HPLIG is comprised of 33 power generators joined together through CEATI to share experiences and to address issues pertinent to their day-to-day operations and plant asset lifecycle management.

– For more details about this technology review, the follow-up project, or HPLIG participation, contact Chris Hayes at (1) 514-866-5370; E-mail: [email protected]

Reclamation releases report on needs for hydraulic structures

The U.S. Department of the Interior ’s Bureau of Reclamation released Spillway, Outlet Works, and Water Conveyance Structure Needs – Survey Results.

This report contains results from a research project intended to define common problems with Reclamation ’s hydraulic structures and determine potentially innovative and cost-effective solutions to the identified problems. Results indicated that while existing research programs are addressing several issues related to Reclamation ’s spillways, outlet works, and conveyance structures, other significant issues need to be addressed through future research studies.

To gather data, Reclamation surveyed personnel working on various structures, including dams with spillways and outlet works, and conveyance structures including canals and pipelines.

Issues Reclamation is already addressing through its current research programs include concrete condition and repair, stilling basin abrasion, and identification of issues with non-reinforced slabs on spillways.

Top structural issues identified with spillway and outlet works structures not being addressed by research studies include:

– Deterioration of gates and surfaces surrounding gates, probably caused by high-velocity flow and cavitation and operation of gates by wire ropes or chains; and

– Erosion in the channels downstream from the energy dissipation structures or the release points of the structures, including enlargement of plunge pools formed by releases.

Top structural issues identified with conveyance structures that are not being addressed by research studies include:

– Canal issues, particularly canal linings;

– Cross drainages; and

– Siphons.

As a result of the survey data gathered, Reclamation determined that future attempts to address its aging infrastructure should separate the conveyance structures from the spillways and outlet works. In addition, the Reclamation team working on the study determined that addressing these issues was beyond the scope of this research project. Future research should continue to be focused on specific needs.

This report is the result of a research project, “Evaluation and Innovative Solutions to Reclamation Spillway and Water Conveyance Structure Needs. ” Funding for this project was provided by Reclamation ’s Science and Technology and Dam Safety Research programs.

– To read the report, visit the Internet: lab/pubs/HL/HL-2005-03.pdf.

EPRI seeks industry funding to complete turbine research

EPRI is seeking $500,000 in funding from the hydroelectric industry to help complete development, deployment, and testing of the Alden/Concepts NREC advanced design hydropower turbine.

The institute seeks supporters who will provide $50,000 a year, ideally for two consecutive years. Companies that fund any EPRI environment program can take advantage of tailored collaboration funds for up to half of their contribution, says Douglas Dixon, PhD, senior project manager in the Water and Ecosystems Area of EPRI ’s Environment Sector. Dixon says that means the participant would provide a minimum of $25,000, with $25,000 matched by EPRI.

EPRI hopes such a demonstration of industry support for the collaborative effort will encourage Congress to re-establish federal funding for hydropower research.

Refinement of the Alden Research Laboratory and Concepts NREC turbine is taking place through four tasks to be completed in 2007.

The first task, currently under way, involves redesigning the scroll case, stay vanes, and wicket gates to double flow to the runner.

Remaining tasks, to be funded by industry collaborators, include computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of the runner to improve leading edge blade thickness and shape, and CFD simulation of the entire turbine to obtain favorable flow patterns and establish the best efficiency point.

The final task is field deployment and testing at Brookfield Power New York ’s 38.8-MW School Street project on the Mohawk River.

The ultimate goal of EPRI ’s advanced turbine research project is to develop turbines that are greater than 90 percent efficient and reduce fish mortality to 5 percent or less, Dixon says.

– For more information about funding this research, contact Douglas Dixon at (1) 804-642-1025; E-mail: [email protected]