Department of Energy seeks facilities for hydropower advancement assessment program

WASHINGTON, D.C. 5/4/12 (PennWell) — The U.S. Department of Energy is asking hydroelectric project operators to open their plants for assessment as part of its Hydropower Advancement Project.

DOE estimates that an additional 8 to 16 GW of hydropower capacity can be produced annually through “cost effective and sustainable upgrades” at existing facilities, and the department is using voluntary HAP assessments to “identify opportunities to increase generation and value through improvements and expansions.”

The assessments will be performed by DOE teams at no cost to the facility owners, according to a release.

In return, facility owners will receive a report that provides estimates for increased generation potential, the costs and benefits of improvement activities, and recommendations for additional studies as needed.

DOE says the reports will also include a description of the facility and the site-specific environmental and operating constraints that impact its generation and value.

Interested parties are asked to submit a facility data sheet and a letter of commitment stating the owners are willing to volunteer their facility and will cooperate with the assessment team.

Responses are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 25, 2012.

More information is available at the Department of Energy’s Hydropower Advancement Project website.

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Department of Energy releases new online renewable energies map

WASHINGTON, D.C. 1/23/12 (PennWell) — A new website developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will allow users to easily and accurately map America’s potential renewable energy resources.

The interactive tool, called “RE Atlas,” is free and available for use online.

It operates much like GoogleMaps, and users are able to choose between nine different renewable sources — including hydro and wave power — that can be superimposed on the map.

The map displays data indicating the potential for a given renewable’s growth and can be referenced by state, county, and congressional district.

“Ease of use and breadth of data make RE Atlas an excellent tool for policymakers, planners, energy developers, and others who need to better understand the renewable resources available in the United States,” says Dan Getman, whose team in NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center developed the tool.