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January 16, 2014 6:51 AM
It does not have to be this way.
The DOE examined more than 54,000 of the 80,000 non-generating dams around the country and found that the U.S. could add as much as 12 gigawatts of hydroelectric power, an increase of about 15 percent.
Expansion of hydroelectricity can be difficult since new dams require the formation of reservoirs and can have a substantial environmental impact. However, adapting existing flood-control dams to generate electricity as well could serve to cut costs while reducing the environmental impact.
“Engineer Steve Jones at the newly operational power plant at Whittle’s Mill. The concrete base houses the original turbines installed in the 1920′s when the mill was owned by A.W. Hankley. The generators are housed in the iconic red power house. (Compare this photograph with the one directly above to see the evolution of the mill structure.) 200 years after Fortescue Whittle built his dam, new energy from this old source is powering Southside Virginia homes and businesses.”
Unlike big hydropower, most micro hydro power, if done correctly, does not slice’n’dice fish. Certainly, there needs to be more study before any hydro power is re-implemented in the James River.
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