The goal of the Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Program’s (WPP) Basin Scale Opportunity Assessment (BSOA) project is to develop and implement an integrative approach to assess hydropower and environmental opportunities at a basin scale. Specifically, the project emphasizes sustainable, low-impact, or small hydropower, and related renewable energies, while simultaneously identifying opportunities for environmental improvements in a given basin. The first two years of the BSOA project (FY11 and FY12) involved a pilot study in the Deschutes River basin. Based on this experience, a three-phased, sequential assessment approach for a given basin was recommended for future work. The progression from one phase to the next requires a conscious go/no go decision on the part of DOE and the national BSOA Steering Committee.
The phases are:
- Phase 1 – Scoping Assessments – rapid (approx. 6 months), initial identification, screening and classification of hydropower and environmental opportunities.
- Phase 2 – Stakeholder Engagement - stakeholder-driven opportunity identification, prioritization, and scenario building.
- Phase 3 – Technical Analysis – detailed analysis of interactions and tradeoffs between hydropower and environmental opportunities in the context of other water uses.