Grants awarded to improve hydropower generation in Wash.

Sep 6, 2011

RICHLAND, Wash. – New projects in the Pacific Northwest may soon improve the efficiency and reduce costs of hydropower generation, thanks to a new round of federal spending announced today.

Two projects in Washington received grants to help improve hydropower generation.

The Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior awarded nearly $17 million to projects spread across 11 states. U.S. Department of the Interior spokesman Adam Fetcher says the projects are critical to meeting clean energy goals.

“We’re focusing on the most innovative types of projects possible. Technology is always shifting.”

The projects will focus on smaller hydropower resources, those producing less than 30 megawatts -- enough to power about 7,000 homes. Innovations range from using canals to produce cost-competitive electricity to a device that measures how fish pass through turbines.

Washington projects:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash.:  $299,906

This project will re-design the Sensor Fish, a data collection device that measures movement, acceleration, rotation, and pressure changes on the device as it passes through a hydropower turbine, providing more accurate information on the forces that a fish may encounter. The new device, which is expected to be smaller and cheaper than previous devices, could be deployed through a wide range of model and prototype turbine testing, allowing for improved designs safer for fish passage.

Percheron Power, Kennewick, Wash.: $1,495,427

This project will install the nation’s first Archimedes Hydrodynamic Screw hydropower system in Washington’s Potholes East Canal for evaluation. The system may eventually be deployed at low-head sites throughout the Columbia Basin Project and in other man-made waterways.

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