The need for accurate real-time discharge in the International Niagara River hydro power system requires reliable, accurate and reproducible data. The U.S. Geological Survey has been widely using Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP) to accurately measure discharge in riverine channels since the mid-1990s. The use of the ADCP to measure discharge has remained largely untested at hydroelectric-generation facilities such as the New York Power Authority's (NYPA) Niagara Power Project in Niagara Falls, N.Y. This facility has a large, engineered diversion channel with the capacity of high volume discharges in excess of 100,000 cubic feet per second (ft3/s). Facilities such as this could benefit from the use of an ADCP, if the ADCP discharge measurements prove to be more time effective and accurate than those obtained from the flow-calculation techniques that are currently used.
Measurements of diversion flow by an ADCP in the 'Pant Leg' diversion channel at the Niagara Power Project were made on November 6, 7, and 8, 2006, and compared favorably (within 1 percent) with those obtained concurrently by a conventional Price-AA current-meter measurement during one of the ADCP measurement sessions. The mean discharge recorded during each 2-hour individual ADCP measurement session compared favorably with (3.5 to 6.8 percent greater than) the discharge values computed by the flow-calculation method presently in use by NYPA. The use of ADCP technology to measure discharge could ultimately permit increased power-generation efficiency at the NYPA Niagara Falls Power Project by providing improved predictions of the amount of water (and thus the power output) available.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Evaluation of Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler to Measure Discharge at New York Power Authority's Niagara Power Project, Niagara Falls, New York