Hydropower Engineering

Our Focus. Our Passion.

Hydropower is the oldest and largest source of renewable power generation. We have served this market for more than 55 years, working on hundreds of hydropower facilities from existing hydropower rehabilitations and modernizations, to building new facilities. We build trust with our clients by working effectively to solve problems in a manner that reduces costs and increases revenues.

We staff each project with experienced, knowledgeable professionals who average more than 22 years of hydropower experience. The core project team remains assigned for the duration of the project. Our reputation for quality is founded on our ability to analyze, prepare, and present project information that is comprehensive and detailed, and concise to withstand the scrutiny of technical, regulatory, and legal review.

Feasibility and Planning

Kleinschmidt has specialized in all aspects of hydropower engineering design for more than 5 decades including developing feasibility studies, designs, bid specifications, evaluations of contractor’s submittals, and construction observation under FERC guidance. Over the years, we have developed expertise and proven methodologies for conducting feasibility studies through our many large-scale site screening projects including evaluating hundreds of sites.

Our experience includes performing hydropower feasibility assessments for the upgrade potential of existing sites, development potential of new greenfield sites, and performing due diligence assessments at existing hydropower facilities nationwide.

During the past five years, Kleinschmidt has performed more than 80 feasibility studies and completed design projects of all types including design of powerhouses, gates, penstocks, and spillways and provided construction monitoring on most of our designed hydro projects. We have completed a majority of these projects under FERC jurisdiction.

Kleinschmidt’s Feasbility and Planning Services Include:
  • Fatal Flaw Analysis
  • Regulatory Analysis
  • Conceptual Layouts
  • Opinion of Cost
  • Conceptual Feasibility Studies
  • Detailed Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Energy Analysis

Asset Modernization and New Facility Engineering

Whether the project involves developing a new “greenfield” hydropower plant, adding generation to an existing non-powered dam, or rehabilitating an existing hydropower facility, hydropower engineers need a comprehensive understanding of the inter-relationship of all the project components. Our team has diverse backgrounds in civil, structural, hydraulic, mechanical, electrical, and geotechnical disciplines, which allow us to identify, evaluate, and develop comprehensive and integrated solutions.

Our technical expertise is concentrated in hydropower and dam projects, addressing the repair, rehabilitation, redevelopment and regulatory compliance of existing facilities as well as new developments.

Kleinschmidt’s Asset Modernization and New Facility Engineering Services Include:
  • Existing Facility & Equipment Condition Assessments
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Energy Analysis
  • Hydrologic & Hydraulic Analysis
  • Rehabilitation & Modernization
  • New Powerhouse Design
  • Civil & Structural Design
  • Mechanical & Electrical design
  • Automation Design
  • Dam Engineering
  • FERC & State Safety Services
  • Decommissioning Studies & Design Valuations

Penstock Inspections & Design

We have inspected, evaluated, and designed hundreds of penstocks with a wide variety of specific site conditions since 1966. We have developed a practical and detailed understanding of the long-term behavior and characteristics of aging penstocks.

We routinely perform penstock inspections and evaluations to assess the condition of existing penstocks. Several staff members hold Level I certification with the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) and have the experience to perform penstock and hydraulic structure inspections using industrial rope access techniques. Our experienced inspection staff complete annual confined space training for entry into penstocks.

In the past 10 years, we have completed more than 20 penstock replacement projects that involve steel, fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), and centrifugally cast glass reinforced plastic (CCGRP) projects.

Our recent webinar, in conjunction with Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA), highlighting our recent white paper – Taking Stock of Your Penstock – with Jillian Davis and Keenan Goslin can be viewed here.

Kleinschmidt’s Penstock Inspections Services Include:
  • Inspections
  • Structural Evaluation
  • Repair Recommendations
  • Feasibility Studies for Penstock Replacement
  • Final Design Bid Package Drawings
  • Technical Specification Development
  • Construction Services Development

Valuations and Due Diligence

Technical consultants are often required to evaluate a project or an asset portfolio. Our team of experienced, senior personnel offer specialized technical services to our clients and the lenders involved in the financing, sale, acquisition and development of hydroelectric and other electric assets. In meeting this need, Kleinschmidt has served as independent reviewers for lending institutions, private developers, utilities, and law firms.

We have developed hundreds of costing and economic evaluations for energy projects, and our financial models are used to develop and analyze capital expenditure budgeting programs, support divestiture and decommissioning proceedings, evaluate sales prices, and litigate property taxes.

Kleinschmidt’s Valuation and Due Diligence Services Include:
  • Condition Assessments
  • Life Cycle Costs
  • Operation and Maintenance Assessments
  • Generation Assessments
  • Financial Analysis
  • Lender Due Diligence
  • Environmental & Regulatory Mitigation Costs
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Asset Management
  • Plant Optimization Studies

Pumped Storage

There is a strong interest in developing new pumped storage hydropower (PSH) in North America as the majority of the existing PSH was built over 50 years ago. Those original pumped storage projects are expected to continue to operate for the next 50-100 years, so there is also a need to modernize and upgrade these facilities. The Department of Energy published a report in 2016 that projected that 36GW of new PSH would be developed in the United States to support grid stability and the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. There is a growing need for a proven, economically viable technology such as PSH that can store excess energy, as well as quickly start-up to meet peak demands. Kleinschmidt can assist with all aspects of PSH and is working with a number of developers and utilities on existing and proposed PSH projects.

Learn More

Kleinschmidt’s Pumped Storage Services Include:
  • FERC Licensing
  • Regulatory Strategic Planning
  • Agency Consultation & Negotiations
  • Stakeholder & Meeting Facilitation
  • Recreation Studies & Design
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Ecological Habitat Assessments
  • Endangered Species Surveys & Habitat Conservation Plans
  • Engineering Feasibility Studies
  • Energy Analysis
  • Hydrologic & Hydraulic Analysis
  • Penstock Inspections & Design
  • Intake & Powerhouse Design
  • Embankment Stability & Dam Safety

Construction Services

To confirm that a construction project is built according to the design specifications and to mitigate future liability, most owners require construction monitoring or inspection services to be performed by an owner’s engineer – someone whose primary responsibility is to consider the owner’s interests.

These services may be limited to reviewing shop drawings, answering contractor questions during construction and occasional site visits; or for larger complex projects they may require full-time on-site engineering teams. We have experience with both scenarios and can provide the necessary hydro engineering construction services required to verify the quality, accuracy, and progress of the project.

Kleinschmidt’s Construction Services Include:
  • Developing Technical Specifications and Bid Documents
  • Reviewing Submittals from Contractors
  • Administering & Coordinating Permits
  • Reviewing Contractor Shop Drawings & Submittals
  • Responding to Requests for Information
  • Observing & Reporting on Construction Activities
  • Preparing Record Drawing