Hydropower Without Dams: Alaskan Village Powered Entirely by New Hydrokinetic River Turbine

eagle alaska hydrokinetic river turbine photo

photo: Business Wire

A couple weeks back when writing about whether hydropower really should be considered a clean power source, there were a couple varieties that were left out. Thanks to the remote town of Eagle, Alaska we can highlight one of them. It's there that Alaska Power & Telephone has installed a new hydrokinetic river turbine.The 25 kilowatt turbine, made by New Energy Corp., is attached to a barge in the Yukon River, requires no dam on the river at all and rotates at slow enough speeds that aquatic life is not placed at risk. AP&T; boasts that the project will make Eagle Village the first town in the United States to be entirely powered by a hydrokinetic river turbine.

One of the turbines, not in Alaska but at a wastewater treatment plant--just to give you an idea of what's underwater in the that photo above. Photo: New Energy Corp.

If you're starting to scratch your head, pull out the calculator and do the math on how much power that river turbine generates and compare it to the size of the village (68 people), it's easy to see through the boasting.

River turbines like this are nothing new--pilot and small-scale projects like this aren't uncommon, from New York City, to Ontario, to proposals for the Mississippi--but scaling them to supply bigger areas is the challenge. Looked at it another way though, in a energy-constrained world and/or remote locations, this is an interesting, low-impact way of generating electricity.

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More on Hydropower:
Is Hydropower Really a Clean Power Source?
Improving Efficiency at Washington's Hydropower Projects Could Boost Output 3x More Than Building New Dams
Tidal Turbine Project in New York City's East River Gets a Facelift
Hydropower Without the Dams: Ontario Invests in Free Flow Underwater Turbines
Tapping the Power of the Mighty Mississippi: Thousands of Hydrokinetic Turbines Could Generate 1600 MW

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