DAMLESS HYDRO POTENTIAL
New damless hydro electric energy invention will change the way we power the world.
Which renewable energy source has the most potential? Mankind has been benefiting from the “energy of moving water…since before the Roman Empire” to power waterwheels for mills. Today the global renewable energy industry is worth $615 billion. Today it is probably wind or solar, whose technologies are falling precipitously and making those investments economical. However, don’t discount hydro power, which now accounts for about 10% of the electricity and which could also grow in the coming decades.
“Let’s not lose sight of what we know for certain about hydro power — it has greatly contributed to a healthier environment and economic prosperity and can sustainability grow to do more. Hydro power provides many benefits in the fight to address climate change and for cleaner air,” says the National Hydropower Association.
Base level electricity is a requirement. Most hydro power facilities can quickly go from zero power to maximum output, making them ideal for meeting sudden changes in demand for electricity.
The US government is so focused at other renewable sources of energy like wind and solar, it may be overlooking the contributing potential of hydroelectricity. More investment into damless hydro is the key to its development into a feasible renewable and clean alternative for power production.
The advocacy group points to a US Department of Energy (DOE) report that says the energy form could grow by 50,000 megawatts by 2050. That, in turn, would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 112,000 metric tons of CO2/megawatt and save $4.2 billion/megawatt in avoided damages from heat-trapping emissions.
The next phase of hydro power, however, will focus on smaller hydro units that are less disruptive environmentally but still useful in supplying electricity to remote areas. A 2007 Electric Power Research Institute study estimated that there is a potential for adding a 300 megawatts of damless hydro power in the US by 2025. Meanwhile, at least 100 countries are developing small hydro plants, with the most potential in the former Soviet Union, South Asia and South America.
Only 3 percent of the nation’s 80,000 dams currently generate power. An Energy Department-funded study found that 12,000 megawatts of hydroelectric generating capacity could be added to existing dams around the country.
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