On this blog, I’ve talked about wind power, solar energy and other forms of renewable energy such as geothermal quite a bit. But, one area that I haven’t covered much is hydroelectric power. Dam, that’s an oversight, I jest.
Now, really, hydroelectric power is not only just a bunch of big ass dams such as the Hoover behemoth clogging up our rivers, causing water stagnation and yes, delivering power. There is another type of hydroelectric power called “run of the river” that is considered to be a greener alternative in that it goes with the flow, so to speak, of the body of water.
These run of the river hydroelectric power stations do not impede fish migration or cause water stagnation. Most of the underwater turbines go unnoticed by the general population.
In West Virginia, the New Martinsville Hydroelectric Plant is explained like this, “…the power producing units are like a seven-story light bulb turned on its side which allows the water to flow straight. Each has a giant three-bladed propeller rotating around the neck with turbine generators attached to the propeller. They are 21 feet below the surface of the water. At the time they were built, they were among the largest in the world.”
Just as wind turbines use air currents to turn generators to produce electricity so do submerged run of the river turbines use water to do the same. They go with the flow and unlike the Three Gorges Dam in China, you don’t have to evacuate thousand of people from the manmade flood area to accommodate the turbines.