Energy production and consumption worldwide is influenced by many factors. Resource availability, economic activity, population growth and environmental regulations, for instance, all affect the types of energy production that may be available to consumers. One of the cheapest methods of energy production is hydroelectric power.
Last spring’s press release by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Departments of Energy and Interior Announce $26.6 Million in Funding to Develop Advanced Hydropower Technologies, announced “funding for research and development projects to advance hydropower technology, including pumped storage hydropower.” Hydropower is a sustainable and clean power generating process. “These funding opportunities will help unlock innovative approaches to hydropower development that emphasize sustainable, clean power generation while reducing environmental impacts.”
What is the hydropower process? In short, falling water is passed through a hydroelectric generator to produce electricity. Another hydropower process involves what is called “pumped-storage”. As explained by the Tennessee Valley Authority, “A pumped-storage plant uses two reservoirs, one located at a much higher elevation than the other. During periods of low demand for electricity, such as nights and weekends, energy is stored by reversing the turbines and pumping water from the lower to the upper reservoir.”
Watch this YouTube video 'Hydroelectic Power - How it Works'
How is dredging part of this scenario? The most serious technical problem for hydroelectric dams is accumulation of silt which reduces the water storage capacity of the dam. Reduced storage capacity limits both electricity generation and the availability of fresh water for downstream uses. Periodic maintenance dredging removes silt deposits from the dam reservoir and restores water storage capacity, thereby allowing the hydroelectric dam to function more effectively. Periodic dredging can reduce potential negative impacts on fresh water availability without interrupting energy production.
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