Tech Briefs

FERC releases new Compliance Handbook

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects recently released its new Compliance Handbook. The purpose of this handbook is to present information and instruction on the full range of activities performed by DHAC. The audience for this book includes DHAC staff, other FERC staff, existing licensees/exemptees, potential licensees and stakeholders in post-licensing proceedings.

The handbook provides guidance and instruction for implementing FERC rules, regulations, policies and programs designed to ensure effective compliance with hydropower license conditions to protect and enhance beneficial public uses, both developmental and non-developmental, of waterways.

The handbook contains four sections:

  • Overview, Responsibilities, General Philosophy;
  • Reactive Activities;
  • Preventive Strategies; and
  • Proactive Strategies.

The 74-page handbook can be viewed at

Four fish tracking technologies win prize competition

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation has awarded prizes to fish tracking technologies in its New Concepts for Remote Fish Detection competition.

Reclamation uses passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags to track and count fish at its hydropower projects, as part of a requirement to maintain compliance with the Endangered Species Act. However, the detection range on these tags is usually fewer than 3 feet. Federal biologists are interested in tags that are inexpensive (like PIT tags) but can be detected from 10 or 100 feet away.

A total of 22 ideas were submitted. Six were selected for the prize competition, and of those four fully qualified (the remaining two were submitted by individuals who were not U.S. citizens) and will receive a shared total of $20,000. Technologies are:

  • Comprehensive piezoelectric tagging technology and a device for installing tags in fish, submitted by Ben Boudaoud and Alicia Klinefelter of Beaverton, Ore.;
  • Tag that encases a magnet and copper coil injected into the fish, submitted by Douglas Still of Harrah, Okla.;
  • Use of piezoelectric film technology to charge a rechargeable radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag, submitted by Rick Rogers of Harvard, Mass.; and
  • Use of piezoelectric power to generate power for an RFID tag, submitted by Dmitriy Tipikin of Medford, Mass.

As part of the competition, the federal government receives a perpetual, no-cost right to use any of the 22 technologies submitted. Reclamation is developing a plan to further test, develop and demonstrate the effectiveness of the submitted ideas.


The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook contains forecasts for 2017. “For renewables, the forecast share of total generation supplied by hydropower rises from 6% in 2015 to 7% in 2017.” The report, at, says hydro is anticipated to produce 0.748 billion kWh in 2017, compared with 0.653 billion kWh in 2015.

Tool available to help avoid unplanned outages

The National Hydropower Association’s OpEx (Operational Excellence) program is a database of event reports submitted by others in the hydroelectric power industry. Included in the database are three nearly identical exciter failures that describe:

  • Outages ranging from two weeks to a month
  • Expenses and value of lost generation at more than $1 million
  • Very similar failure modes
  • Corrective actions taken to prevent reoccurrences

Visit to view and learn from these exciter failures and other events related to operating hydropower facilities. It could prevent an unplanned outage and significant expense.

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