Thursday, July 21, 2011

More hydro development possibilities

At 10:30 a.m. today, Earl Ray Tomblin, the acting governor of the great state of West Virginia, will be the keynote speaker at a groundbreaking ceremony on the West Virginia side of the Willow Island Locks and Dam. The ceremony will mark the beginning of construction of the new hydroelectric plant there. In actuality, site clearing began a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post has an article about using the flow of rivers to generate electricity without dams. It's called hydrokinetic power. The article in mainly about the Mississippi River, but it does address something that I mentioned in this blog months ago but had almost forgotten until I was working on articles last month about hydroelectric projects in West Virginia.

You should read the entire article, but here are the main points about the Ohio River:

But the cost has killed the plans of other developers.
Marine services company McGinnis Inc. thought its proximity to the Ohio River was a natural reason to get into hydrokinetic generation. However, the South Point, Ohio-based company found small-scale generation wasn't economically feasible and a larger operation required development costs that were too high, said its legal counsel Doug Ruschman.
The company tried to get federal help, but was turned aside.
Douglas Meffert, executive director of Tulane University's RiverSphere, a planned hydrokinetic testing facility along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, said the technology will need federal support for commercial development.
"Every renewable energy source that has moved into commercial use, such as solar and wind, has always had to depend upon that initial subsidy," he said.