Wind Power Technologies
The ORNL Wind Program works to improve the environmental performance of wind systems. ORNL expertise provides technical knowledge to Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Wind Power working groups that disseminate information through publication, panel sessions, and tutorial sessions to utility engineers, wind developers and wind plant designers, which help to lower cost of integration and interconnection while increasing operational efficiency of wind power plants.
Water Power Technologies
The ORNL Water Power Program works to improve the environmental performance of hydropower systems. ORNL expertise includes modeling technology and policy impacts on the U.S. hydropower fleet, nationwide assessment of non-powered dams and streams for development, modeling the role of water constraints in power system reliability and efficiency, turbulent flow field measurement and analysis for conventional an hydrokinetic machines, technology reference models for small hydropower development, and quantification of biological responses to hydropower development and operations.
Advanced Hydropower Technology
Hydroelectric power is one of the nation's most important renewable energy resources. Hydropower has significant advantages over other energy sources: it is a reliable, domestic, renewable resource with large undeveloped potential, it produces few solid wastes, and it emits essentially none of the atmospheric emissions that are of growing concern, such as nitrogen and sulfur oxides and greenhouse gases. Hydropower projects can provide substantial non-power benefits as well, including water supply, flood control, navigation, and recreation
Hydropower poses unique challenges in energy development, because it combines great benefits with difficult environmental challenges. The environmental issues that most frequently confront the hydropower industry are blockage of upstream fish passage, fish injury and mortality from passage through turbines, and changes in the quality and quantity of water released below dams and diversions. ESD staff have been instrumental in identifying and mitigating these environmental impacts for more than 25 years.
The Advanced Hydropower Technology (AHT) activity supports the development of technologies that will enable hydropower projects to generate more electricity with less environmental impact.
The ORNL’s Water Power Technologies Program is composed of an interdisciplinary research team addressing technological hydrological and environmental issues related to both developed and emergent hydropower technologies within four major areas: Conventional Hydropower, Environmental and Ecological Impacts, Marine Hydrokinetics Research and Development, and Grid Interconnection. Expertise of the team members includes engineering, aquatic ecology, hydraulics, modeling and economics.