Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Metro Vancouver considering producing power from water system

Metro Vancouver is seeking a a consultant to do a feasibility study to investigate developing power from the water transmission system.   I am very interested to see that they are doing this as all over BC we have water systems that could be producing power.

The energy of the water could turn turbines and produce electrical power.   The sale of this power would help defray the costs of the water system and would offer another source of green power.

Generating power from municipal water systems or from irrigation systems is the lowest hanging green power generation possible.    The water system is already in place, all that needs to be done is adding some form of a turbine at an appropriate spot in the system.

At the moment the only municipal water system that I know of that is producing power is Lake Country from their Eldorado resevoir.  It is a very small system, but provides Lake Country with about $250,000 to $300,000 a year in revenue.  I am not certain, but I think there are three systems connected to ranch irrigation systems.

We have about 200 other municipal water systems that could produce power.   My quick estimate is that they could bring us about 1000-2000 GWh of power per year.    This is on the order of 1/4 to 1/3 of what Site C on the Peace would produce.   This would also be around $10 million a year for local water systems in electrical power sales.

Municipal water systems would have consistent flows year around, there would be not slow times as people are always showering and washing.

If we look further at irrigation systems, there is a potential for something on the same order of power production per year, though they would be on average much smaller.

It is these easy small solutions with no negative impacts that should be pushed.