28 Mar '12, 3pm

The Power of the Dammed: How Small Hydro Could Rescue America's Dumb Dams

The Power of the Dammed: How Small Hydro Could Rescue America's Dumb Dams

Call it America’s dumb dam epidemic. Now a host of companies are scheming to retrofit old dams and levees with turbines and plug them in to the power grid. The potential is substantial: Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimates that 54,000 non-powered dams could produce 12.6 gigawatts, or enough juice to electrify 12.6 million homes. The prospect has initiated something of a gold rush for the rights to the best sites, and has even received a cautious nod from advocates for healthy rivers. “There’s no reason these dams shouldn’t have hydro on them,” said Mark Stover, an executive at Hydro Green Energy, a developer that hopes to electrify dozens of dams across the Midwest and South. “That is just wasted renewable energy.” Reality Check There are many reasons to believe that smart dams aren’t just a pipe dream. First among them is that hydropower has a century-long record as a ...

Full article: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012...

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