The construction of new hydropower plants isn't particularly environmentally-friendly, but what about the already existing dams in the country that could be making electricity? According to MWH, a water engineering firm, out of the 80,000 dams in the U.S., only three percent are currently used for power generation. Isn't that just a bunch of untapped, clean energy?
Ohio utility American Municipal Power thinks so. It has partnered with MWH to conduct five retrofit projects on the Ohio River, turning dams that were built for navigation and watershed purposes into hydropower facilities. When completed sometime between 2013 and 2015, the dams will produce a total of 350 MW, enough power for 350,000 homes. The total cost of the projects will come to about $1.9 billion.
The potential of dam retrofits to produce clean energy is huge. Here's a list (PDF) of dams with retrofit potential according to a federal survey. If all of them began producing electiricty, think of all the coal power that would become unnecessary.
via Green Inc.
written by Chris Hooymans, August 27, 2009
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