Multiarea Benefits from Co-location of Energy Production Facilities

Project ID: 8349
Principal Investigator: Greg Krzys
Research Topic: Improved Power Generation
Priority Area Assignments: 2012 (Climate Adaptation), 2013 (Climate Adaptation)
Funded Fiscal Years: 2012
Keywords: power, ecosystem, restoration, reservoir operations

Research Question

Co-locating secondary energy production with a Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) hydropower facility will benefit multiple Reclamation priority areas: improved power generation, increased reservoir operational flexibility, ecosystem/river restoration, and sediment management.

Need and Benefit

Early 20th century estimates of available water supplies in many Western watersheds, and current and historical climate science research, indicate that Western water supplies will be uncertain and highly variable. Uncertainty and variability will increase the difficulty in operating a water and power supply system. Out of water and power issues, this project focuses on power as the one issue over which we have more control to regulate and operate.

In California alone, the State Department of Water Resources estimates that 20 percent of all power produced is consumed to convey and treat water. Power is essential for the delivery of Reclamation's water. Interruptions or reductions in output not only place water supply deliveries in jeopardy, but they also impact revenue generation for other Reclamation programs and activities. Reclamation is faced with a massive "sunk" cost associated with operating and maintaining a dam and reservoir because of reduced sediment transport and cold water discharges: annual MSCP efforts to offset Endangered Species Act issues. These cost(s) run in the millions of dollars for just one region, Lower Colorado.

A co-located secondary power generating facility could improve power production operations, enhance reservoir operations, and provide both a physical solution and revenue offset to improve ecosystem function(s) and restore listed species. Other benefits of co-locating include Reclamation's existing facility infrastructure with site security and utility grid tie-ins. Investigating the potential for increased power production that could achieve multiple mission responsibilities is a win-win solution.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Two documents are anticipated as an outcome of this scoping project.

1- Final technical memorandum in an executive summary report format for internal Reclamation distribution initially.

2- Powerpoint presentation of project data, analysis, and results.

External distribution of both documents could occur if an appraisal study are considered and additional stakeholders are brought in to cooperate.

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Last Updated: 4/4/17