They did it by collecting available flow, head water and tail water elevation data for all 530 sites, obtaining data from existing stream gages, facility designs and Reclamation office and irrigation district records, as well as from field staff knowledge.
They monitored the continuous period of daily flow records of at least one year, defined the head water and tail water elevations, and the distance to the nearest transmission or distribution line.
These are all micro hydro sites, ranging in potential capacity from 125 kW to about 26 MW installed capacity. Fish would not be endangered because they are largely municipal water conduits.
The total clean energy produced would be equivalent to replacing one 260 -300 MW coal power station. While this study did not uncover a vast new free clean energy supply, it does suggest that many local entities could provide small local sources of additional clean power that have been overlooked.
The days of big dams are over, for various environmental and even simple political reasons: we just no longer have the cohesion as a society to agree to build projects on such a huge scale. Gov. Chris Christie’s refusal to even connect New Jersey with New York by high speed rail is a typical example of today’s Republican “do less for fewer people” approach to the public good.
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