Hydropower does not discharge pollutants into the environment; however, it is not free from adverse environmental effects. Considerable efforts have been made to reduce environmental problems associated with hydropower operations.
Efforts to ensure the safety of dams and the use of newly available computer technologies to optimize operations have provided additional opportunities to improve the environment. Yet, many unanswered questions remain about how best to maintain the economic viability of hydropower in the face of increased demands to protect fish and other environmental resources.
Hydropower research and development today is primarily being conducted in the following areas:
- Fish Passage, Behavior, and Response
- Turbine-Related Projects
- Monitoring Tool Development
- Water Quality
- Dam Safety
- Operations & Maintenance
- Water Resources Management
Today, engineers want to make the most of new and existing facilities to increase production and efficiency. Existing hydropower concepts and approaches include:
- Uprating existing power plants
- Developing small plants (low-head hydropower)
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