A new advanced turbine being tested at Wanapum Dam in Washington state produces nearly 5 percent more power, but before more are installed researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are getting input from several thousand fish.
The project is part of an upgrade to a hydroelectric power plant owned by Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County, and utility officials want to know how fish-friendly the new minimum gap runner turbine is compared to the 40-year-old turbine it replaced. Several Department of Energy Hydropower Program studies seek to answer that and other questions.
"Power company and DOE laboratory biologists are looking at direct mortality to fish caused by injuries during turbine passage, and theyre also attempting to assess indirect mortality," said Glenn Cada of ORNLs Environmental Sciences Division. "Even if a fish isnt killed immediately after passing through a turbine, it may become disoriented or physiologically stressed by the experience, and an apparently uninjured fish may fall easy prey to a predator or die later because of the passage stresses."
Ron Walli | EurekAlert!
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