New Orleans Could be Powered by River Energy

A recent article about renewable energy in Louisiana proposed quite a fascinating scenario, especially considering all the oil currently leaking into the Gulf. Electricity-generating turbines are being considered for placement in the Mississippi River. They are similar in concept to wind power
turbines, but they use the natural flowing currents of water to spin their components and generate electricity. A related article reported, “These turbines potentially could create enough energy to power the city of New Orleans.”

Permits have been granted to study the placement of turbines at points within the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. Some of the locations are Manchac Point, Duncan Point and Greenville Bend. Free Flow Power is the name of the company studying the placement and energy potential. They say their turbines can generate, 10kW in a 2.25m/s flow and 40kW in a 3m/s flow.

Turbines would be mounted on the river bottom or suspended from barges where the fastest currents are. Part of the preliminary study is to evaluate potential for damage to fish populations and to dredging work done by the engineers who maintain the rivers for commercial navigation. Reportedly the overall project could cost $3 billion, and utilize clusters of turbines at various sites. If everything is approved and goes smoothly, turbine installation could begin in 2012.

Energy from wave and current technologies has been said to have a potential of about 10% of national energy demand.

The first commercial hydro-kinetic river turbine was installed in the Mississsippi River near Hastings, Minnesota. It began operating in mid 2009. A study indicated the turbine caused virtually no damage to local fish when functioning in the river, “Only one fish out of the 402 that were introduced into the hydrokinetic unit showed evidence of direct physical harm (0.002%)”

Image Credit: kiril106

23 comments

beverly g.
beverly g.6 years ago

noted thks.

Lynn C.
Lynn C6 years ago

I'd like to see pictures of the turbine in action. Those proposing and questioning should talk to those who have done it. Reference: Paul Diamond's comment.

SusanQ S.
Susan S6 years ago

WHY has it taken this long to get these things into operation ??
This country has used hydroelectric power for YEARS so why not on the biggest river in th USA ??

Paul Diamond
Paul Diamond6 years ago

About 30 yrs ago Con Ed wanted to build a peak generation project on Storm King Mtn. They would build a manmade lake on top of the mountain with tunnels running down to the Hudson Rvr. Pumps would suck water from the river up to the lake at night when demand is lowest.
Then during the day when demand increases the water is released through hydroelectric turbines providing power. The plan was vehemently opposed by environmentalists of every stripe. They feared destruction to life in the river. Con Ed scrapped the project.
They went upriver to a community that was more amenable to the idea. After it went into operation there was neglible effect on life in the river. However, the lake they built is now the best sports fishing in the area. AAANNNDD no one stocked the lake.
There are many ideas that sound bad to someone, but they work.
~;^}>

Keegan Allen
Keegan Allen6 years ago

I hadn't heard about this, any new renewable energy source is exciting.

Mike Masley
Michael Masley6 years ago

Clean coal lol. Stick with the wind, its cheap, truly clean and limitless supply.

Thomas T.
Thomas T.6 years ago

Whazzamatta with clean coal power?

google climate-gate and see how 3 billion can be saved by using clean coal.

CO2 is the life blood of all plants, not some global warming and poisonus gas.

Cherry Marrone
Cherry M6 years ago

This sounds great, let's get it done!!

Linda F.
Linda F6 years ago

They've had these in the Hudson for a couple of years.

Cindy M.
Cindy M6 years ago

Here in Colorado we have a place called Georgetown, a smaller, & somewhat mountain, town. Since the days of evil Edison, one of his rivals he shot down was lucky enough to create a hydrogenerator, of sorts, first, which the town still runs ALL its electricity on. Expensive @ 1st, but much, MUCH cheaper in the long run.