Environmental and Ecological Impacts
- Conventional Hydropower –
- Successful Turbine Passage for Migratory Fish - Better characterization of causes of injury/mortality during turbine passage; Predictions of injury/mortality among untested fish species; Development and experimental verification of models to predict turbine passage survival for different species, turbine designs, and operating conditions. In 2011, forty resource managers and practitioners with expertise and interest in advancing the state of knowledge related to sturgeon and fish passage at hydroelectric dam facilities participated in a workshop sponsored by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust. It was designed to be particularly helpful for fisheries managers and utility representatives looking to transfer knowledge, identify existing gaps, and learn new information related to fish passage on non-jumping fish with an emphasis on lake sturgeon. In addition, the workshop was designed to advance development of a research framework to help the Trust, other funding organizations, and industry identify and establish collaborative funding priorities to achieve successful sturgeon passage (and other non-jumping fish) in the Great Lakes basin. For more information please see the proceedings
- Effective Environmental Flows - Characterizing hydropower-altered flow regimes and the relationships between various components of natural flow regimes and environmental benefits; Developing alternative flow assessment methods with more hydro-relevant metrics; Guidance for dam operators and regulators for selecting most appropriate flow assessment methodologies and approaches.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Field characterization of greenhouse gas emissions from hydropower reservoirs in the U.S.; Model estimates of net reservoir emissions; Developing relationships between reservoir characteristics and likely greenhouse gas emissions.
- Water Use Optimization - Develop an integrated set of models and approaches for optimizing the operational efficiency and environmental performance of hydroelectric power plants.
- Marine and Hydrokinetic Power - studies on the effects of non-dam hydropower technologies on aquatic organisms and their habitats, including the effects of physical interactions with devices, noise, electromagnetic fields, toxic emissions, and habitat alteration.
For more information please see ORNL/TM-2011/131 "Attraction to and Avoidance of Instream Hydrokinetic Turbines by Freshwater Aquatic Organisms" and ORNL/TM-2011/133 "Estimation of the Risks of Collision or Strike to Freshwater Aquatic Organisms Resulting from Operation of Instream Hydrokinetic Turbines".
- Climate Change - investigations on effects of projected change in climate and their influences on hydrologic variability in rainfall, stream flow, and water use and availability on hydropower production and associated environmental impacts as a result of projected climate change.
|ORNL ecological research is aimed at optimizing flows for fish and energy|
For more information on the environmental effects of Conventional Hydropower and Marine Hydrokinetic Energy please click here.