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This unique electronic book on CD-ROM has a collection of federal documents and resources about hydropower, hydroelectric power, and related technologies such as dams, turbines, and microhydropower. Research and development activities of the Department of Energy is covered, with information on technology development, projects, history, safety, and environmental impact. There is also material from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding licensing, compliance, safety and inspections of hydropower and the hydropower industry. Coverage includes water energy resources, state assessment reports, and more.
The hydrologic cycle provides the basis for hydropower –water constantly moves through a vast global cycle, in which it evaporates from lakes and oceans, forms clouds, precipitates as rain or snow, then flows back to the ocean. The energy of this water cycle, which is driven by the sun, is tapped most efficiently with hydropower. Diversion projects channel a portion of the river through a canal or a penstock and may require a dam. Impoundment hydropower uses a dam to store water. Water may be released either to meet changing electricity needs or to maintain a constant reservoir level. Pumped storage pumps water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir at times when demand for electricity is low. During periods of high electrical demand, the water is released back to the lower reservoir to generate electricity. Run-of-river projects utilize the flow of water within the natural range of the river, requiring little or no impoundment. Run-of-river plants can be designed using large flow rates with low head or small flow rates with high head. Microhydropower projects–produce 100 kilowatts (kW) or less. Microhydro plants can utilize low heads or high heads. Current hydropower technology, while essentially emission-free, can have undesirable environmental effects, such as fish injury and mortality from passage through turbines, as well as detrimental changes in the quality (dissolved gases) of downstream water. Advanced hydropower turbine technology could minimize the adverse effects yet preserve the ability to generate electricity from an important renewable resource. The goal of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Hydropower Turbine System Program is to develop technology that will allow the nation to maximize the use of its hydropower resources while minimizing adverse environmental effects. Conceptual designs of environmentally friendly hydropower turbines have been completed under the DOE-industry program.
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