Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hydropower Potential

Hydrovolts plans to install its first turbines in irrigation canals and other mandmade fresh water flows. There are many other large markets for hydrokinetic technology, including natural rivers and streams throughout the world. Small scale hydropower in the developing world has enormous potential to improve the health, education and quality of life for millions of people. Yet there is also huge potential for Hydrovolts turbines in western industrialized countries:

Potential for European Hydropower
Graphic: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

The theoretical hydropower potential depicted in the map
prepresents a calculation based on the topography and precipitation in the countries, and is the amount power that could be extracted if all run-off was turbined down to the lowest level of the specified country (sea-level).
While this potential could not be fully realized for political and practical reasons, the use of hydrokinetic technology would allow a fuller realization because it would avoid the many problems involved with the dams needed by conventional hydropower, including increased evaporation, silting, and impairment of migrating fish runs.

Countries such as France, which derives much of its current electricity from aging nuclear power plants, would be clear beneficiaries of distributed hydropower. Hydrovolts has had multiple purchase inquiries from Turkey, as well as several requests to locally manufacture and distribute the Flipwing turbine.

The European Union has a 2020 target of a 20% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and are on track to make it. Not all countries will achieve the target individually. Italy for one will need help, but it looks like hydropower could make the difference!

Update: Replaced graphic with higher-resolution version
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