Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Hydro coming to CT



The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund announced that it has approved a loan for a 500kW hydroelectric plant at the Kirby Mill within Mansfield Hollow State Park. Hydroelectric is by far the most widely developed renewable source, providing almost 7% of the nation's electricity. Hydro isn't perfect (nothing is) but when installed responsibly to minimize social and environmental impact, it's hard to beat. It has been shown that hydro plants with large reservoirs actually generate significant greenhouse gas emissions, as large areas of vegetation decompose under the new lake and release methane gas. This plant looks to be a run-of-the-river type, which does not require a large reservoir and will include a fish ladder so as not to...um, bother all the fishies, I guess.

This project sounds to me like an excellent investment -- by the way this is your money they're dishing out, so pay attention. If this is the entire funding (the press release isn't too clear), then the installation comes to about $1000/kW. This is quite a bargain considering they've been funding fuel cell installations like they're going out of style at about $4500/kW. The neat thing this about this project is that the developer of the turbine, Windham Automated Machines, operates from inside the very mill where it will be installed. Compared to their pizza sauce dispenser, this must be a pretty exciting product for their engineers to work on.