Hydro has always been the reliable standby for renewable energy, but does it have a future? Will there be more big dams, or more power out of existing dams? Will small hydro on rivers or streams amount to anything? How about marine energy? I get into all this with the head of the DOE's Water Power Technologies Office.
I was very sorry that you did not give your guest any questions about removal of the Lower Snake River dams, which have turned the mighty Columbia into a series of overheated ponds. That fact is what is driving extinct the NW Chinook salmon. Those salmon are the primary food of the Salish Sea Southern Resident Orca pods. I’m a pretty typical emotionally constipated old guy but I regularly get to the verge of weeping when I think about those magnificent creatures being starved to death and extirpated so that Lewiston Idaho can call itself a sea port. I think we should name a couple of the matriarch orcas “Patty” and “Maria” and call one of the older males “Jay” and we can report on their daily starvation and the pronounced doming that happens when they lose so much weight that their skulls show through their flesh, which is happening as we speak.
I’ve been meaning to post on each of the last few episodes to ask if you planned to cover hydro. So, thank you.
Watching the film Damnation definitely opened my eyes to it being more nuanced than I had imagined.
Good interview as usual!
One thing I've been wondering about is whether there is much scope in the USA for existing hydropower plants to be reconfigured to better match a VRE-dominated grid.
In Australia, the Tasmanian state government (for the uninitiated, yes, Tasmania is indeed a real place, a large island separated from the Australian mainland by the 150-odd mile wide Bass Strait) is heavily pushing a concept they're calling "Battery of the Nation". Tasmania may be an island, but it's connected to the main Australian east coast energy grid via an undersea connector, and a second one is planned to be built in the next few years. A number of wind projects are in the planning stages, along with modifications to their existing hydro plants to increase their peak power output.
It wasn't clear from the interview - is there much of that already going on, or in the planning stages, in the USA?
Garson would make a great repeat guest!