In-Conduit Hydropower Business Case Assessment Tool

The In-Conduit Hydropower Business Case Assessment Tool
Water systems in California have a large, untapped potential to recapture energy with in-conduit hydroelectric generation. However, the actual number of in-conduit hydropower projects operating in the state is relatively small, mainly because of a lack of information on the upfront costs and the economic benefits of the technology.
To help municipal, agricultural, and industrial water districts, utilities, and other stakeholders assess the costs and benefits of developing in-conduit hydropower generation projects, the California Energy Commission contracted with Stantec, NLine Energy and Stanford University to develop the In-Conduit Hydropower Business Case Assessment Tool.
The tool allows operators and managers to easily evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of proposed in-conduit hydropower projects by:

  • Assessing the hydropower potential at specific sites.
  • Recommending suitable in-conduit hydropower technologies.
  • Estimating preliminary life-cycle capital and operations and maintenance costs.
  • Determining potential greenhouse gas emissions.

A presentation from a 2019 CEC webinar detailing how the tool works is available on YouTube and above. Additional information is also in a CEC report titled, “California’s In-Conduit Hydropower Implementation Guidebook: A Compendium of Resources, Best Practices, and Tools.” The publication number is CEC-500-2020-030, and it is available on CEC’s Publication Database System.  

Solar + Storage Modeling Tool

California leads the nation in installed solar rooftop systems, however, solar is hitting the penetration limits on the state’s distribution systems. Further increases will make integration even more challenging, according to the California Independent System Operator, the entity responsible for maintaining the reliability of the grid. 

Fortunately, new concepts and technologies are constantly being developed or improved – such as battery storage, advanced controls, and other distributed energy resources (DERs) – that can help California meet its energy and climate goals, and reduce energy costs for ratepayers and utilities.

To help make sense of it all, the California Energy Commission recently partnered with San Francisco-based E3 to develop the Solar+ Storage Modeling Tool, which easily assesses the cost effectiveness and benefits of solar, storage, and other DER technologies.

The tool estimates the value of integrated solar and storage systems based on their expected optimal operations, location on the grid, market prices, and other characteristics. It also evaluates the operation of distributed solar and storage in combination with other DER technologies such as smart thermostats, electric vehicle chargers, and similar devices.

The results provide insight to the synergy among multiple technologies, as well as their impact on distribution deferral values and customers’ bills. It also provides flexibility in evaluating future rates, demand response, and resource adequacy program designs.

Empower Innovation to form partnerships for funding opportunities


Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program