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Publication Abstract

In-Stream Hydrokinetic Power: Review and Appraisal

VanZwieten, J. M., McAnally, W. H., DOthers, A. N., & Martin, James L. (2014). In-Stream Hydrokinetic Power: Review and Appraisal. Journal of Energy Engineering. ASCE. 10, 1061-1072. DOI:10.1061/(ASCE)EI.1943-7897.0000197, 04014024.

The objective of this paper is to provide a review of in-stream hydrokinetic power, which is defined as electric power generated by devices capturing the energy of naturally flowing water—stream, tidal, or open ocean flows—without impounding the water. North America has significant in-stream energy resources, and hydrokinetic electric power technologies to harness those resources have the potential to make a significant contribution to U.S. electricity needs by adding as much as 120  TWh/year from rivers alone to the present hydroelectric power generation capacity. Additionally, tidal and ocean current resources in the U.S. respectively contain 438  TWh/year and 163  TWh/year of extractable power. Among their attractive features, in-stream hydrokinetic operations do not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions or other air pollution and have less visual impact than wind turbines. Since these systems do no utilize dams the way traditional hydropower systems typically do, their impact on the environment will differ, and a small but growing number of studies support conclusions regarding those impacts. Potential environmental impacts include altered water quality, altered sediment deposition, altered habitats, direct impact on biota, and navigability of waterways.