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Does the plan benefit hydropower?

This is the last of nine Study Board decision criteria used in the evaluation of Lake Superior regulation plans. The Study Board preferred plans that at least preserved or even increased hydropower benefits on the St. Marys River. The hydropower benefit is the value to society of the power produced at the hydroelectric generating stations at Sault Ste. Marie. It has two components: the amount of hydroelectricity produced under different plans based on equations that relate flows and levels to energy produced at each of the plants; and the value per unit of energy produced based on the marginal prices of energy. In this analysis, the Study Board considered only the power plants on the St. Marys River. It was recognized that changes in the releases from Lake Superior will have a small effect on Lake Erie levels eventually, which would, in turn, affect the energy produced at power plants at Niagara Falls. However, any changes in the levels and flows driving hydroelectric power at Niagara are small and beyond the ability of existing computer models to estimate in a planning study or for operators to control effectively in practice (e.g., the error in the estimate would generally be larger than the estimated change).
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