Tech Briefs

Report analyzes impact of drought in California on hydro generation

Hydropower generation in California dropped to 10.5% of total electricity generation during the period from October 2011 through September 2015, according to a new report, Impacts of California’s Ongoing Drought: Hydroelectricity Generation 2015 Update.

The report was authored by Peter H. Gleick with the Pacific Institute, which “creates and advances solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges.”

The past four years were the driest and hottest in the instrumental record and one of the worst droughts in memory, the report says. Reductions in supply as a result of lower hydroelectric generation were made up primarily by burning more natural gas, increasing purchases from out-of-state sources, and expanding wind and solar generation.

During the 2007-2009 drought, hydroelectric production accounted for about 13% of the state’s overall electricity generation. Hydropower averaged a contribution of 18% from 1983 to 2013. Total installed hydroelectric capacity in the state is about 14,000 MW.

Because hydropower is “considerably less expensive than other forms of electricity” the drought increased electricity costs to California ratepayers. The report indicates the drought increased statewide electricity costs by about $2 billion.

The drought has an environmental cost as well. “The additional combustion of fossil fuels for electric generation also led to a 10% increase in the release of carbon dioxide from California power plants.”

The report is available at

Krout named Distinguished Professional in hydropower field

Lorraine Krout has been recognized as a Distinguished Professional in her field by Women of Distinction magazine.

Krout is chief executive officer of Hydro Consulting and Maintenance Services Inc. (HCMS), the largest woman-owned business in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to the hydro service business, according to a press release.

HCMS is headquartered in York, Pa., and has experience in the installation, repair and maintenance of hydroelectric turbines, generators and balance of plant equipment.

“I have more than 40 years of experience in owning multiple businesses, which have given me diversified experiences in many aspects of running a business, such as marketing and accounting, and most importantly, how to communicate and reward employees,” she said. “I feel that it is very important to make all employees feel as though they are a part of the company and have a vested interest in its present and future success.”

Per its website, Women of Distinction provides a platform where real women can share their stories of success and inspire a new generation of professional women. Krout will be featured in the magazine in 2016.

AP&T’s Robert Grimm chosen 2015 Small Utility CEO of the Year

Electric Light & Power magazine named Robert Grimm of Alaska Power & Telephone Co. its 2015 Chief Executive Officer of the Year for Small Utilities. Grimm was chosen from nominees who lead utilities with fewer than 400,000 customers.

AP&T is investor-owned with a history of significant employee stock ownership. AP&T owns and operates seven hydroelectric projects in southeast Alaska, four of which were built by AP&T.

“Grimm has been with AP&T for more than 45 years and became the utility’s CEO in 1989,” said Teresa Hansen, EL&P magazine chief editor. He has focused much of his energy on expanding the company and raising its assets $118 million, from $6 million at the beginning of his tenure to its current total of $122 million. The utility is continuing its historic transition from mainly diesel generators to hydropower and even some solar and wind.

The award was presented during the EL&P executive conference and DistribuTECH awards dinner.

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