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Title: A multi-scale spatial approach to address environmental effects of small hydropower development

Hydropower development continues to grow worldwide in developed and developing countries. While the ecological and physical responses to dam construction have been well documented, translating this information into planning for hydropower development is extremely difficult. Very few studies have conducted environmental assessments to guide site-specific or widespread hydropower development. Herein, we propose a spatial approach for estimating environmental effects of hydropower development at multiple scales, as opposed to individual site-by-site assessments (e.g., environmental impact assessment). Because the complex, process-driven effects of future hydropower development may be uncertain or, at best, limited by available information, we invested considerable effort in describing novel approaches to represent environmental concerns using spatial data and in developing the spatial footprint of hydropower infrastructure. Furthermore, we then use two case studies in the US, one at the scale of the conterminous US and another within two adjoining rivers basins, to examine how environmental concerns can be identified and related to areas of varying energy capacity. We use combinations of reserve-design planning and multi-metric ranking to visualize tradeoffs among environmental concerns and potential energy capacity. Spatial frameworks, like the one presented, are not meant to replace more in-depth environmental assessments, but to identify information gaps and measuremore » the sustainability of multi-development scenarios as to inform policy decisions at the basin or national level. Most importantly, the approach should foster discussions among environmental scientists and stakeholders regarding solutions to optimize energy development and environmental sustainability.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1158735
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Management; Journal Volume: 55; Journal Issue: 1
Publisher:
Springer
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 13 HYDRO ENERGY geospatial; landscape planning; energy development