This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 01, 2002

DOE, BPA to Test Environmentally Friendly Turbines

DOE's Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) announced in mid-April that it is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to install and test a prototype turbine on the McNary Dam on the Columbia River. BPA anticipates that a new turbine could increase the safe passage of fish through the turbine while also boosting power production.

The Army Corps of Engineers is currently soliciting proposals for the project, and intends to have contractors build scale models for testing. By next year, that testing should be complete, leading to production of a full-scale prototype. By 2015, all of the turbines may be replaced at McNary, potentially increasing power production by 90 megawatts on average. See the BPA press release.

DOE's Idaho Operations Office is also planning to test environmentally friendly turbines. DOE aims to install an advanced turbine at a site in the United States or Canada. The office is seeking applications from hydropower developers that are currently planning or conducting the rehabilitation of an existing hydropower plant. Responses are due June 4th. See the DOE Hydropower Program Web site.

While DOE works to reduce the environmental impact of existing hydropower installations, the Low-Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) is working to recognize hydropower facilities that are already minimizing their impact. The institute just certified its first project, the Putnam hydropower facility in northeastern Connecticut. The 575-kilowatt run-of-river plant had to meet eight rigorous criteria to achieve certification. See the LIHI press release.