“Luckily, we had a really good water year this year,” [Deane] Lyon [a manager at the California Independent System Operator] says. “So we’ll have some pretty good flexibility on the hydro.” That wasn’t the case during the past few summers, when reservoirs were low due to the drought.
For the first time since at least as far back as 1983, Saddlebag Lake Reservoir on Lee Vining Creek is spilling. This is a rare event—and possibly a first—for the highest lake you can drive to in California. Saddlebag Dam, at 10,090′ elevation, was built in 1921 to enlarge an existing alpine lake for hydropower generation purposes.
The fate of the Northwest salmon may be decided by the way you use your heater and your air conditioner. In the near future, the U.S. electric grid will be able to digitally manage the vast Northwest hydroelectric network in a way unimaginable just a few years ago.
Now, a private company wants to use the pits for a $2-billion hydropower project. The plant, proponents say, would help boost renewable energy use in Southern California and lower greenhouse gas emissions. But park officials fear the hydropower project could draw down local groundwater levels and harm wildlife.
Aquafornia’s Water Word of the Week from sister site Aquapedia, the Water Education Foundation’s vetted, online water encyclopedia, is Hydroelectric Power.
According to an Aquapedia excerpt, “Hydroelectric power is produced when water turns a turbine connected to a generator. This water is stored behind a dam at elevation. Gravity causes water to drop toward a turbine propeller.
“The Obama administration’s announcement Monday of sweeping new rules aimed at curbing global warming emissions from power plants could boost profits at Silicon Valley companies that make solar panels, energy efficiency software and other clean technology.”
From U-T San Diego, in a commentary by Keith Johnson:
“Among all the terrible things that California’s historic drought promises to bring this year — fallow farm land, dead livestock, more wildfires — there are a couple more nasty treats in store: higher electricity prices and rising greenhouse-gas emissions.
“That’s because the drought is hammering California’s ability to generate electricity from hydroelectric power …”
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):
“The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing Thursday entitled “Keeping Hydropower Affordable and Reliable: The Protection of Existing Hydropower Investments and the Promotion of New Development.”