Hydropower's Balancing Act

by John Prendergast, Assoc. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 10, Pg. 42-45

Document Type: Feature article


Relicensing applications are due at the end of 1991 on some 170 hydro plants across the U.S., a large percentage of the more than 400 plants that will go through the process by 2010. Conditions are radically different from when the plants' original licenses were granted 50 years ago. Engineering and efficiency standards have been upgraded, but the most profound change is the vastly increased awareness of and importance placed on environmental factors. Resource agencies and environmental groups say this simply rights an old balance that leaned too far toward power values, but many hydro owners and industry experts view it as shortsighted and harmful to the U.S.'s energy interests, as well as an unreasonable economic burden on them.

Subject Headings: Hydro power | Licensure and certification | Environmental issues | Power plants | Age factors | Owners | Economic factors | Industries

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