The Impact of Drought on Hydropower Generation-Case Study of Bureau of Reclamation Hydropower Plant

by Robert Walker, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, United States,
Larry Schluntz, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


The paper explores the effects of extended drought on power generation at Shasta hydropower plant, a Bureau of Reclamation facility in Northern California. Statistical measures of water availability and power generation for the drought period 1988-90 are examined and compared with comparable statistics for both a normal water year, and a period of above normal water availability. The key role of hydraulic head in power generation is examined. A brief examination is made of functions served by the reservoir waters and the potential for tradeoff water allocations between power and other project functions during emergency water periods. The opportunity for revised emergency water allocations to power is minimal, due to the fact that practically all water used for other project functions goes first through the generators. Potential impacts of reduced generation on power revenues and rates are examined. Annual revenue losses during the drought are estimated at about $24 million. Pressures toward increased preferred customer power rates result from the depletion of relatively low rate energy replacement accounts, and adjustments in projected power revenues in the power repayment schedules.

Subject Headings: Hydro power | Droughts | Bureau of Reclamation | Power plants | Statistics | Water resources | Case studies | Economic factors | California | United States

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