Saturday, September 27, 2014

New hydro-electric dam on the Walloomsac river in Vermont

The Walloomsac river that rises in southwestern Vermont has become the construction site for the new hydro-electric dam in Vermont. Once this dam becomes operational it will have the capacity of 360-kilowatt, enough to produce enough power for around 145 average U.S. homes.

Vermont, just like many other U.S. states, wants to add more clean energy sources to its renewable energy portfolio and hydropower is certainly one of the most interesting options. In 2013, Vermont Economic Development Authority issued a $683,278 energy loan to this project to help its estimated $2.2 million cost. 

The environmental impact of this new hydro project is said to be a positive one. The investors have said that once the hydro-electric dam is constructed it will offset 1,103 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is said to have a negative effect on climate change. The positive environmental benefits of this hydro-project do not only include offsetting carbon emissions. In order to start the construction of the dam large amounts of trash had to be removed from the river, and once this project becomes operational it should also provide better fish ladders for wildlife to move up and downstream.

Many U.S. states have significant hydropower potential but potential investors are often driven away by not just significant construction costs but also because  there are many permits needed from federal and state government in order for projects to go forward, meaning that new legislation needs to be far more flexible.

Hydropower has very good potential in Vermont because the state has many defunct hydro dams on its rivers, many of which can be used as sites for new hydro-electric dams.