Most of the potential is concentrated in 100 dams largely owned by the federal government and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. Many are navigation locks on the Ohio, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas rivers or their major tributaries.
The state with the most hydropower potential is Illinois, followed by Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania. Rounding out the top 10 are Texas, Missouri, Indiana, and Iowa, the study concluded.
Workers could begin construction on the Red Rock Dam as early as the spring. The project involves drilling two holes in the 110-foot high, mile-long dam and running water through two turbines.
Missouri River Energy Services, a Sioux Falls, S.D.-based not-for-profit utility that provides power to 61 cities, has the license to build the power plant at an estimated cost of $260 million.
When complete, the 34-megawatt facility will be able to support as many as 18,000 homes for a year, said company spokesman Bill Radio. It could crank out up to 55 megawatts at times when the river is running full.
Missouri River Energy is considering three other hydroelectric projects at existing dams – one on the Des Moines River north of Des Moines and two others on the Mississippi River at Dubuque and Davenport.
Electricity suppliers prefer hydropower because it is much easier to ramp up or down based on customer demand than natural gas-powered plants, and it is much more reliable on a daily basis than wind or solar power.
The proposed developments also benefit from worries about the environmental risks of coal power and safety fears surrounding nuclear energy.<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>