Adapting Aging Hydroelectric Infrastructure to Sustain Listed Salmonids
Eric Ginney, ESA
With many FERC hydroelectric projects in California reaching middle (old?) age, and the energy grid and market incentives evolving with the increase in renewables, the financial solvency of certain hydroelectric power generation systems is not what it was even just 5 years ago. Older, more-antiquated systems that don't incorporate pumped storage, peaking, or other options to make them more flexible and lucrative, are being found to be unviable. These new realities, coupled with increasing regulatory recognition that fish need water and upstream passage, means that the factors and incentives that drive decisions on projects--including whether they are even viable--is very different today. The Potter Valley Project on the Eel River and the DeSabla-Centerville Project on Butte Creek are two examples of projects where a deeper look at costs and benefits is suggesting that the value of the water molecules (for agricultural and instream uses) may be more than that of the electrons that those molecules can generate. This session will describe the reasons for the changes in the energy market (renewables, grid, regulatory) that are driving the changes in value of these projects, will present examples of hydroelectric projects that may be opportunities to demonstrate new and progressive approaches to holistic water management by re-envisioning these systems as providing multiple benefits for fish and people, and will describe ways to systematically identify these opportunities across California and even more broadly across the country.
Changing Energy Markets, Changing Needs: Rethinking Hydropower Dams and Infrastructure
Dave Steindorf, Special Projects Director, American Whitewater
New Ownership of the DeSabla Hydropower Project: Stakeholders Creating Regulatory Process from Scratch
Chris Shutes, FERC Projects Director and Water Rights Advocate, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
Butte Creek DeSabla-Centerville Hydroelectric Project: Decommission or Retool? Salmon Want to Know!
Allen Harthorn, Executive Director, Friends of Butte Creek
The Potter Valley Project: Fish Passage and Flow Opportunities
Curtis Knight, Executive Director, CalTrout
New Federal Interagency Guidance on Managing Infrastructure in the Riverine Environment
Carolyn Ubing, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Cultivating Ecological Solutions On Agricultural Lands
Jacob Katz Ph.D., Senior Scientist, CalTrout