Tech Briefs

Report: Non-hydro renewables outpace hydropower through 2014

The net generation of America’s non-hydroelectric renewable resources eclipsed conventional hydropower for the first year-long period in the nation’s history in 2014, according to a report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The “Electric Power Monthly” report, which details data through December 2014, showed that non-hydro renewables — wind, solar, geothermal, landfill gas and biomass — had net generation of 281,060 GWh (or 6.9% of the nation’s total energy) in 2014, while conventional hydropower accounted for 258,749 GWh (6.3%).

While hydro is still the single largest renewable contributor to America’s energy mix, contributing an average of 271,846 GWh annually over the past decade, its dominance has slipped due to an emphasis on developing other renewables and ongoing drought in the western U.S., which caused a drop of 8,000 GWh in California alone through 2014.

EIA said last May that it expects the output of all renewables, including hydropower, to increase through 2040, with nuclear, coal, petroleum liquid and other forms flat-lining or decreasing.–six-steps-to-advancing-hydropower-development.html EIA cited the U.S.’s emphasis on reducing carbon emissions and both state and federal legislation as the biggest contributors to green energy’s growth.

Key amongst these policies are state renewable portfolio standards — many of which have been amended in recent years to include eligibility for larger hydropower plants. Tax credit extensions for hydroelectricity and other renewables will also be a significant factor in their development, AEO2014 said.

ASCE announces winners of multiple awards

The American Society of Civil Engineers presented awards to many members, researchers and journalists for their dedicated service to the civil engineering profession. Below are the ones that related to the dams and/or hydropower industry:

— Hans Albert Einstein Award to Robert Ettema, PhD, P.E., for advancing insight and engineering methods regarding sediment transport processes at bridge waterways and other hydraulic transport, sediment transport under ice cover and river morphology;

— Rickey Medal to Mario Finis, P.E., for contributions to the practice of hydro engineering through global advocacy and support for hydroelectric development, education and public policies that include hydro as a clean, sustainable supply of electricity for developed and developing nations;

— Julian Hinds Award to David T. Ford, PhD, P.E., for outstanding contributions and leadership in water resources engineering, planning and management, including application of risk-based analysis for flood damage mitigation and real-time flood response decision-making, as well as pioneering research;

— Hunter Rouse Hydraulic Engineering Award to Pierre Y. Julien, PhD, P. Eng., for his achievements and contributions to the hydraulic engineering profession in the areas of river mechanics and erosion and sedimentation;

— Ven Te Chow Award to Richard H. McCuen, PhD, for prolific, innovative scholarship in engineering hydrology and benchmark contributions to hydrologic practice;

— Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize to A. Jacob Odgaard, PhD, P.E., Troy C. Lyons, P.E., and Andrew J. Craig for a paper, “Baffle-Drop Structure Design Relationships;” and

— Hydraulic Structures Medal to Anton J. Schleiss, PhD, for significant contributions to the hydraulic engineering community in the areas of hydropower, river engineering and flood protection, rock scour and sediment transport, and physical and numerical modeling.

ASCE has more than 145,000 members in all civil engineering disciplines.

EPRI presents annual awards for technology transfer

The Electric Power Research Institute presented its Technology Transfer Awards to several companies. The 2014 winners whose projects relate to hydropower and dams are:

— FirstEnergy, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison (SCE) and Edison International for work to apply results from EPRI’s Energy Storage research program to help the integration of distribution-connected energy storage;

— Southern Company for enhancing EPRI’s Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Methodology; and

— Baltimore Gas and Electric, An Exelon Company, for utilizing EPRI reports on utility reliability practices to educate a group of young engineers.

These awards honor EPRI members who have led technology transfer efforts on behalf of their companies and the industry at large. EPRI conducts research and development related to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public.

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