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Title: Stream-reach Identification for New Run-of-River Hydropower Development through a Merit Matrix Based Geospatial Algorithm

Even after a century of development, the total hydropower potential from undeveloped rivers is still considered to be abundant in the United States. However, unlike evaluating hydropower potential at existing hydropower plants or non-powered dams, locating a feasible new hydropower plant involves many unknowns, and hence the total undeveloped potential is harder to quantify. In light of the rapid development of multiple national geospatial datasets for topography, hydrology, and environmental characteristics, a merit matrix based geospatial algorithm is proposed to help identify possible hydropower stream-reaches for future development. These hydropower stream-reaches sections of natural streams with suitable head, flow, and slope for possible future development are identified and compared using three different scenarios. A case study was conducted in the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) and Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) hydrologic subregions. It was found that a merit matrix based algorithm, which is based on the product of hydraulic head, annual mean flow, and average channel slope, can help effectively identify stream-reaches with high power density and small surface inundation. The identified stream-reaches can then be efficiently evaluated for their potential environmental impact, land development cost, and other competing water usage in detailed feasibility studies . Given that the selected datasets are available nationally (atmore » least within the conterminous US), the proposed methodology will have wide applicability across the country.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. California State University, Fresno
  2. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management; Journal Volume: 140; Journal Issue: 8
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
EE USDOE - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE)
Country of Publication:
United States