Feasibility of Five Low-Head Hydro Projects

by James V. Williamson, (M.ASCE), Partner; R.W. Beck and Assocs., Seattle, Wash.,
Anthony Wayne Pietz, Supervising Engr.; R.W. Beck and Assocs., Seattle, Wash.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Energy Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 1, Pg. 57-68

Document Type: Journal Paper


Studies were performed under a Department of Energy (DOE) grant program to assess the feasibility of installing low-head hydroelectric generating facilities at the following five existing dams in the United States: Tuttle Creek Dam, Kansas; Zumbro Dam, Minnesota; Piqua Dam, Ohio; Maxwell Dam, Pennsylvania; and Jackson Bluff Dam, Florida. To establish the economic feasibility of the projects if was necessary to compare the annual costs of the hydro project to the most economic alternative source of generation to meet the required load. Economic feasibility was determined utilizing both a first year benefit-cost analysis and a present-worth analysis for the first 10yr of project operation. Two of the projects indicate conclusive economic feasibility, two show marginal economic feasibility, and one is infeasible. In addition, based on the study results of the five projects, certain general conclusions are arrived at concerning installing generating facilities at existing low-head dams.

Subject Headings: Weirs | Economic factors | Feasibility studies | Head (fluid mechanics) | Hydro power | Existing buildings | Rivers and streams | Construction costs | United States | Kansas | Minnesota | Ohio | Pennsylvania | Florida

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