Tag Archive for: Hydropower

US West Hydropower Production Plunged to 22-Year Low Last Year

Hydropower generation in the U.S. West plunged to a 22-year low last year — dropping 11 percent from the year before, according to a new federal data analysis. The total amount produced in the region amounted to 141.5 million megawatt-hours, or about 60 percent of the country’s total hydroelectricity output in the 2022-23 “water year,” per the data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Is It a Lake, or a Battery? A New Kind of Hydropower Is Spreading Fast.

For a century, hydroelectric power has been synonymous with gigantic dams — feats of engineering that provide renewable energy but displace communities and destroy ecosystems.

New research released Tuesday by Global Energy Monitor reveals a transformation underway in hydroelectric projects — using the same gravitational qualities of water, but typically without building large, traditional dams like the Hoover in the American West or Three Gorges in China. Instead, a technology called pumped storage is rapidly expanding.

Using Snowcats and Snowshoes, El Dorado Irrigation District Crews Tend to Canals in Winter Weather

Crews with the El Dorado Irrigation District are working to clear snow and debris from the flumes and canals that deliver water to its customers throughout the latest round of winter weather.

Matt Heape, a hydro operations and maintenance supervisor for the district, said the focus Tuesday was taking care of a 22-mile canal system.

The Colorado River’s Urgent Lesson for Energy Policy

The Colorado River, which allows the desert to sustain itself and powers millions of American homes, is currently engaged in the fight of its life. The rapidly sinking river—victim of a nearly 23-year-long megadrought—stretches 1,450 miles, snaking its way from Colorado through Arizona, Nevada, and California, and finally into Mexico, where it should theoretically dump out into the Sea of Cortez.

The West’s Biggest Source of Renewable Energy Depends on Water. Will it Survive the Drought?

Reports of low water levels at a few big hydropower plants in the West over the last few years have made it seem like hydropower is becoming less reliable. Last summer, officials in California were forced to shut down the Edward Hyatt Powerplant when water levels in Lake Oroville, the reservoir that feeds the plant, dropped below the intake pipes that send water into its turbines.

Hydropower Production Down 20% as the Upper Colorado River System Finished Water Year 2022

Hydropower production on the Upper Colorado River system for water year 2022, which ended on Sept. 30, was down about 20% compared with the previous year and about 30% compared with the yearly average since 2000, according to a Bureau of Reclamation official who oversees hydroelectric generation.

“The outlook is likely for pretty low generation years,” said Nick Williams, the Bureau’s Upper Colorado River Basin power manager.

What the Western Drought Reveals About Hydropower

The relentless Western drought that is threatening water supplies in the country’s largest reservoirs is exposing a reality that could portend a significant shift in electricity: Hydropower is not the reliable backbone it once was.

Utilities and states are preparing for a world with less available water and turning more to wind and solar, demand response, energy storage and improved grid connections. That planning has helped Western states keep the lights on this summer even in severe drought conditions.

7 States and Federal Government Lack Direction on Cutbacks From the Colorado River

As the Colorado River shrinks, the seven states in the western United States that rely on it for water and power need to cut their use dramatically to keep the biggest reservoirs from getting critically low, according to federal analysts.

But a recent deadline for a plan to conserve an unprecedented amount of water came and went without many specifics from either the states or the federal government on how to achieve the cutbacks.

WATER 101: A Recap of Where We Are Amidst a Historic Drought

Local farmers may soon be forced to bite the bullet and find ways to use significantly less water in 2023 — potentially for a lot longer.

This drastic measure may come as a result of an emergency water conservation effort to prevent further depletion of the Valley’s main source of water, the Colorado River. If less water flows down the Colorado River, the consequences could be catastrophic for the two reservoirs — lakes Mead and Powell — that feed into the so-called basin states.

For example, if water levels in Lake Mead continue dropping, it could bring water and hydropower to a grinding halt, all due to a relentless drought over two decades.

Opinion: A Water Strategy for the Parched West: Have Cities Pay Farmers to Install More Efficient Irrigation Systems

“Are you going to run out of water?” is the first question people ask when they find out I’m from Arizona. The answer is that some people already have, others soon may and it’s going to get much worse without dramatic changes.

Unsustainable water practices, drought, and climate change are causing this crisis across the U.S. Southwest. States are drawing less water from the Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people.