FIGURE 3-7 Total hours of forced outages over all Corps hydropower projects for 1999-2008.
SOURCE: Sale, 2010.
in 2000 to 61.7 TWh in 2008 (Sale, 2010), a decrease of 16 percent. At some Corps hydro power projects, none of the original equipment has been replaced since the facilities were constructed 30 or more years ago.
Annual budgets for repairs and upgrades of most of the Corps hydropower equipment have been inadequate for a long time (Sale, 2010). This not only has resulted in degraded infra-structure and less efficient operation, but has also meant missed opportunities for utilizing technological developments through upgrading to newer, higher-performing technology. Recent developments in hydro-power generating technologies and materials offer opportunities to upgrade to more efficient operations with less water use and less environmental impact, but fiscal constraints have largely inhibited upgrades. Developments in turbine design, runner configuration, and generator efficiency make it possible for existing dams to make modifications that can either produce 15-25 percent more with the same water flows and hydraulic heads that currently exist, or produce the same amount of power as is currently possible but with 15 to 25 percent less water flowing through the turbines. Through a hydropower generation efficiency program in the 1980s and early 1990s, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) achieved a 34 percent increase in power generation with the same water availability (Sale, 2010).