Canada, North America

Tech Briefs

Issue 5 and Volume 30.

INL launches new version of Virtual Hydropower Prospector

Idaho National Laboratory offers Version 2.0 of its Virtual Hydropower Prospector. The prospector, launched in 2005, is a geographic information system tool designed to assist in locating and assessing natural stream water energy resources in the U.S.

Features of the new version include:

  • Four types of background map (color shaded relief, satellite imagery, topographic and flat);
  • Area of interest selection using the whole map, without having to select a hydrologic region;
  • Separate maps for the conterminous U.S., Alaska and Hawaii; and
  • Step-through user interfaces for information and select tools.
In 2005, INL analyzed 500,000 water reaches and determined they had a gross power of nearly 600,000 MW. Of this total, nearly 73,000 MW is developed potential. Of the remaining amount, INL determined total available potential was more than 326,000 MW. In addition, INL suggested that between small hydro, upgrades, and installing hydro at existing dams, 130,000 projects exist with a power potential of 60,000 MW.

The Virtual Hydropower Prospector displays the locations of U.S. natural stream water energy resources and their gross power potential. It also shows the locations of feasible potential projects, with context features (such as cities, roads, power infrastructure and land use) to assist in performing preliminary site assessments.

The prospector is available at

Padmanabhan awarded ASCE Hydraulic Structures Medal

Mahadevan Padmanabhan, PhD, P.E., received the 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Hydraulic Structures Medal.

Padmanabhan has more than 35 years of hydraulic engineering experience, specializing in pump intakes and discharge outfall modeling. He is an adjunct professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He also is a consultant with Alden Research Laboratory Inc. and is a former principal at Alden.

The medal, instituted in 1983, recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of the art and science of hydraulic engineering as applied to hydraulic structures. It was given to Padmanabhan for achievement in the areas of analysis and physical modeling of hydraulic structures, including pump intake, discharge outfall, dam and navigation structures.

Bradley receives service award from EWRI

Dr. Jeffrey Bradley received the 2011 Service to the Institute Award from the Environmental and Water Resources Institute. This award, given in recognition of extensive and outstanding service to the institute, was presented at EWRI’s annual congress in May.

Bradley, founder and president of WEST Consultants Inc., is past president of EWRI and was a governing board member from 1999 to 2002. He also was general congress chair for the 2009 International Association of Hydraulic Research Congress, which was run by EWRI. In addition, Bradley was the inaugural president of the American Society of Civil Engineers American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, a member of ASCE’s President’s Task Committee in Governance Restructuring and the President’s Task Committee on Institutes and chair of the ASCE National Water Policy Committee.

EWRI is a specialty institute of ASCE.

Ontario developing construction best practices guidelines

The Ontario Waterpower Association has awarded a contract to a joint venture between Genivar and Natural Resource Solutions Inc. to develop the “Best Management Practices for Waterpower Facility Construction.”

This project is being pursed as a partnership between the hydroelectric industry and the federal and provincial governments, OWA says.

“Increasing waterpower production is critical to keeping Ontario’s electricity prices affordable,” said Paul Norris, OWA president. “The preparation of these guidelines, in collaboration with key federal and provincial agencies, is another step forward in realizing waterpower’s potential.”

Waterpower development in Ontario, Canada, is subject to the requirements of the “Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects,” approved by the minister of environment in October 2008.

OWA represents the common and collective interests of the waterpower industry in the province of Ontario.

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