Hydropower is the largest renewable energy resource in the United States and the world. However, hydropower dams have adverse ecological impacts because migrating fish may be injured or killed when they pass through hydro turbines. In the Columbia and Snake River basins, dam operators and engineers are required to make those hydroelectric facilities more fish-friendly through changes in hydro-turbine design and operation after fish population declines and the subsequent listing of several species of Pacific salmon under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County, Washington, requested authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to replace the 10 turbines at Wanapum Dam with advanced hydropower turbines designed to improve survival for fish passing through the turbines while improving operation efficiency and increasing power generation. As an additional measure to the primary metric of direct injury and mortality rates of juvenile Chinook salmon using balloon tag-recapture methodology, this study used an autonomous sensor device—the Sensor Fish—to provide insight into the specific hydraulic conditions and 2 physical stresses experienced by the fish, as well as the specific causes of fish biological response. We found that the new hydro-turbine blade shape and the corresponding reduction of turbulence in the advanced hydropower turbine were effective in meeting the objectives of improving fish survival while enhancing operational efficiency of the dam. The frequency of severe events based on Sensor Fish pressure and acceleration measurements showed trends similar to those of fish survival determined by balloon tag-recapture methodology. In addition, the new turbine provided a better pressure and rate of change environment for fish passage. Overall, the Sensor Fish data indicated that the advanced hydro-turbine design improved passage of juvenile salmon at Wanapum Dam.
Use of an Autonomous Sensor to Evaluate the Biological Performance of the Advanced Turbine at Wanapum Dam
Title: Use of an Autonomous Sensor to Evaluate the Biological Performance of the Advanced Turbine at Wanapum Dam
September 01, 2010
Journal: Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
Publisher: American Institute of Physics
Deng, Z.; Carlson, T.; Duncan, J.; Richmond, M.; Dauble, D. (2010). Use of an Autonomous Sensor to Evaluate the Biological Performance of the Advanced Turbine at Wanapum Dam. Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 2(5), 1-26.