relicensing

Hydropower Relicensing and Climate Change

Source: 
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION
Volume: 
1-7
Year: 
2011
Abstract: 

Hydropower represents approximately 20% of the world’s energy supply, is viewed as both vulnerable to global climate warming and an asset to reduce climate altering emissions, and is increasingly the target of improved regulation to meet multiple ecosystem service benefits. It is within this context that the recent decision by the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject studies of climate change in its consideration of reoperation of the Yuba-Bear Drum-Spaulding hydroelectric facilities in northern California is shown to be poorly reasoned and risky. Given the rapidity of climate warming, and its anticipated impacts to natural and human communities, future long-term fixed licenses of hydropower operation will be ill prepared to adapt if science-based approaches to incorporating reasonable and foreseeable hydrologic changes into study plans are not included. The licensing of hydroelectricity generation can no longer be issued in isolation due to downstream contingencies such as domestic water use, irrigated agricultural production, ecosystem maintenance, and general socioeconomic well-being. At minimum, if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is to establish conditions of operation for 30-50 years, licensees should be required to anticipate changing climatic and hydrologic conditions for a similar period of time.

Author(s): 

Viers, Joshua H

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Environmental Constraints on Hydropower: An Ex Post Benefit-Cost Analysis of Dam Relicensing in Michigan

Source: 
Land Economics
Volume: 
82 (3)
Year: 
2006
Abstract: 

We conduct a benefit-cost analysis of a relicensing agreement for two hydroelectric dams in Michigan. The agreement changed daily conditions from peaking to run-of-river flows. We consider three categories of costs and benefits: producer costs of adapting electricity production to the new time profile of hydroelectric output; benefitsof reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; and benefits of improved recreational fishing. The best estimates suggest that the aggregate benefits are more than twice as large as the producer costs. The conceptual and empirical methods provide a template for investigating the effects of an environmental constraint on hydroelectric dams. (JEL Q43, Q57) 

Author(s): 

Matthew J. Kotchen, Michael R. Moore, Frank Lupi, and Edward S. Rutherford 

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Environmental Constraints on Hydropower: An Ex Post Benefit-Cost Analysis of Dam Relicensing in Michigan

Source: 
Land Economics
Volume: 
82 (3)
Year: 
2006
Abstract: 

We conduct a benefit-cost analysis of a relicensing agreement for two hydroelectric dams in Michigan. The agreement changed daily conditions from peaking to run-of-river flows. We consider three categories of costs and benefits: producer costs of adapting electricity production to the new time profile of hydroelectric output; benefits of reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; and benefits of improved recreational fishing. The best estimates suggest that the aggregate benefits are more than twice as large as the producer costs. The conceptual and empirical methods provide a template for investigating the effects of an environmental constraint on hydroelectric dams. 

Author(s): 

Kotchen, Matthew J., Michael R. Moore, Frank Lupi, and Edward S. Rutherford

Contact: 
Notes: 
Category: 
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Economic Analysis for Hydropower Project Relicensing: Guidance and Alternative Methods

Source: 
USFWS
Year: 
1998
Abstract: 

This report is intended to help Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) staff become more effective participants in the hydropower relicensing process through a better understanding of the economic analysis used to evaluate hydropower projects. Specifically, the report seeks to accomplish the following goals:

  • Explain the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) current approach to the economic analysis of relicensing alternatives;
  • Review potential methodological refinements and why they are important; and
  • Introduce a variety of approaches for assessing non-power values, helping FWS staff recognize when more advanced analyses are applicable.

The purpose of this document is not to provide a step-by-step guide for the conduct of primary economic analysis, i.e., the reader is not expected to become an expert in the implementation of the analyses described here. Rather, the document seeks to attune non-experts to the role of economics in relicensing and the diversity of techniques available. 

Author(s): 

Black, Robert, Bruce McKenney, Robert Unsworth, Nicholas Flores

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