Hydro Power

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Power: Hydro power is created by capturing the energy of falling water. The following is the basic calculation for determining the hydropower potential of a given site: kW = 9.8 Q H g where Q = flow (m3/sec), H = height (m) and g = overall efficiency. Energy: Energy is the amount of power delivered over time, often expressed as kilowatt-hours (kWh). Average annual energy is calculated by multiplying the average annual usable flow by 8,760, the number of hours in a year. Project Cost: Project cost is highly sensitive to the location of the project and its design features. Typical costs range from $1,500/kW to $2,500/kW. Considerations: Hydro projects are almost always located in sensitive environmental areas. Care and experience is required to develop a project right. Getting Started: Gather all the existing information that is available concerning the site. This information should include stream flow data, precipitation records, topographical surveys, environmental studies, and land ownership maps. Our Recommendation: HydroWest recommends that before you get too far down the development path you have a reconnaissance level study performed by a qualified hydroelectric engineer. A typical HydroWest review would include a site visit, development of a conceptual design, an estimation of project capacity and energy generation, a cost estimate, and a “fatal-flaw” analysis. Plan on spending $15,000-$25,000 for this type of study. http://www.hydrowest.com/hw06hydro101.htm

Example: A potential hydro site has 100 m of vertical head that can be developed by putting the water into a pipe. The maximum usable flow in the river is estimated to be 5 m3/sec while the average flow is estimated to be 2.5 m3/sec.

Assuming an overall efficiency of 80%, the power that could be produced would be 3,920 kW. The average annual energy would be 17,170,000 kWh.

At $0.05/kWh, annual revenues would be $858,000.

At $2,000/kW, the project would cost $7.85M to...
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