When we normally imagine hydroelectric energy, we think of huge dams, big lakes, and dry rivers. The state of Nevada – not normally known for its water – is trying to promote something different. Their new HydroGenerations initiative offers incentives for individuals on agricultural property that will help offset the cost of purchasing hydroelectric technology.
This small-scale technology can be placed in streams where they draw energy through a small Stream Engine. This sort of technology certainly is not new, but this government program promoting its expansion is innovative, and most things that help offset carbon emissions tend to be positive.
As a recent article from the Reno Gazette-Journal reports, the HydroGenerations program is already being successfully put into place on private farms. With water being more difficult to come by in Nevada, the amount of energy required to irrigate farms can be large. The Young Brothers Ranch in Big Smoky Valley pays as much as $25,000 dollars a month in energy bills.With their hydroelectric power unit installed, they expect to save anywhere from $5,00 to $7,000 dollars monthly.
Just as with any energy, hydroelectric power generated on an individual scale has a much smaller negative environmental impact. Major dams can do more harm than good. They are very expensive, and they can threaten rivers and wildlife.
The Diablo Dam near Newhalem, WA in the Cascade Mountains
As the Wall Street Journal pointed out last summer, Dam construction, especially in the State of Washington, has been met with fierce opposition, and many Dams are plauged with innefficiencies. Hydro power on a smaller, more individual scale, though, might eliminate most, if not all of these issues.
What do you think about Hydroelectricity? Is it a viable supplement to our growing energy needs? Is it environmentally acceptable on a smaller scale? Should we be utilizing it more? Share your thoughts below.