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Why doesn't Waxman-Markey include new hydroelectric dams?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
According to their definition of Renewable Energy, only "qualified hydropower" counts. This they define as:

Quote:
Electricity generated solely from increased efficiency achieved, or additions of capacity made, on or after Jan 1 2001 at a hydroelectric facility placed in service before that date.

Or
Quote:
Adding electricity to a dam that did not already have electricity generating capacity (e.g. a dam that's being used only for flood control).

It doesn't explicitly say that it includes new hydro plants. Does anyone know why? I'm sure if I dig into it enough I'll find the answer, but I'm just wondering if anyone already knows.

The definition for Qualified Hydropower is on page 10 of the full draft. Pdf is here.
post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawei View Post

According to their definition of Renewable Energy, only "qualified hydropower" counts. This they define as:
 


Or

It doesn't explicitly say that it includes new hydro plants. Does anyone know why? I'm sure if I dig into it enough I'll find the answer, but I'm just wondering if anyone already knows.

The definition for Qualified Hydropower is on page 10 of the full draft. Pdf is here.



Most of the rivers where hydropower dams are practical already have them, those that don't are in remote locations or national parks or designated wilderness areas. 

People are talking of removing dams on the Columbia and Snake to restore salmon runs. 
post #3 of 5
Yeah ditto what gcnp said.  There's just not many places left to build new hydroelectric dams.  I've also read that due to reduced water availability (i.e. less snow to melt in the Sierra Mountains, increased droughts, etc.) there are concerns that many existing dams won't be able to produce as much power in the future.  Bad news for California, where we get a significant amount of our power (something like 15%) from hydroelectric.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
But even if there's not much out there, it seems kind of random to not even make it an option. There must be *some* places around the country that can still be tapped. I saw some show of questionable credibility that said we could easily triple our hydro capacity, or something like that. I dunno.
post #5 of 5
 I doubt the double or triple number - In Oregon & Washington there are few places left that are not protected areas. I can imagine the hue and cry if some company proposed new large dams and reservoirs - the tree huggers would go nuts.

Possibly people were talking about small rivers or streams but there is not much practical power available there - kind of like a windmill in 2 or 3 mph winds - it sounds impressive but as there is no significant power in the wind they are useless.

Pelton & Round Butte dams on the Deschutes river in Central Oregon have something like 30 mW each generating capacity. They are relatively high dams with big reservoirs and good river(s) feeding them. 

Probably there is a lot more to be done on efficiency than anything else.

As regards removing dams on the Columbia to allow fish migration - I seriously doubt that will ever be done. The loss of cheap, clean power would not be acceptable at the end of the day.
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