The company's goal is to install several hundreds of thousands of turbines at 59 sites along the river; each turbine would be attached to pilings in the river bed and would be made of a lightweight composite material like carbon fiber. If all goes according to schedule, Irvin is confident his turbines will be ready to begin producing electricity by 2012. Despite securing permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to study the sites, Free Flow Power is already facing some close scrutiny by environmental regulators and the Army Corps of Engineers, who have expressed concerns about the turbines' effects on river navigation and its wildlife - the pallid sturgeon, a species native to the Mississippi river basin, is endangered.
His other major concern will be one familiar to most renewable energy enthusiasts: cost. Though he didn't disclose any specific figures, Irvin said his project would quickly be able to generate electricity at a price competitive with that of coal- and natural gas-fired plants.
Barring any unforeseen effects on the river's ecology, this seems like a great way to take advantage of one of the best (and plentiful) sources of renewable energy.
Image courtesy of cbanck via flickr
Via ::redOrbit: Startup Seeks to Tap the Mississippi River for Power (news website)