For hydropower, 2018 was a bit of a rollercoaster year. Again, the buzz around solar, and wind, had a tendency to overshadow hydro in the popular media. Regardless, hydroelectricity continued to be a valuable contributor to worldwide electricity supply, with plants being built and pumped storage getting quite a bit of traction toward the end of the year.
So what were the five most-read news stories published on HydroWorld? In other words, what were other people in the hydroelectric power industry most interested in learning more about? Those stories are listed below for you to check out.
It is a relief to hear a U.S. president spontaneously address hydro in a positive light. And this was especially welcome news after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, leaving many to wonder how clean energy would fare during his administration.
Controversy swirled around the GERD project in Ethiopia for the entire year, and this news about the electromechanical and hydraulic steel structure work contractor for the facility was just a drop in the bucket. But obviously one that was of interest to many following this development.
Dams leaking are always news of interest. This story was particularly concerning given that the project had only been operating for less than two years when the leak was detected, and the intervention needed meant taking the plant offline for a period of time.
This is a well-known fact, but it was great to have the International Renewable Energy Agency articulate it in their Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017 report. New hydro projects commissioned in 2017 had an average levelized cost of electricity of US$0.05/kWh.
This long-awaited Independent Forensic Team report contained some interesting revelations into the causes behind the spillway incident at Oroville Dam in the U.S., including that it “was caused by a long-term systemic failure of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), regulatory, and general industry practices to recognize and address inherent spillway design and construction weaknesses, poor bedrock quality and deteriorated service spillway chute conditions.”