There are many reasons why hydropower is less available than it could be. One of the main reasons is that utility suppliers are still heavily regulated in many states. In deregulated energy states, consumers often have the option of selecting renewable energy sources, using consumer choice to force an energy company to diversify more.
But what can you do if you live in a regulated energy state or your local electricity company has no green options? One good option might be building your own Micro Hydro system.
What is Micro Hydro?
Micro Hydropower is a low-impact form of harnessing moving water to generate enough clean energy to power either a single home or several closely connected modern homes. It works similarly to a conventional hydroelectric system: water passes through a turbine, which spins a generator to produce electricity.
What Do You Need
A sufficiently powerful stream and approval from your local authorities are the first two must-haves for a home micro hydro set. Then comes the matter of the intake, building an inlet for your system which funnels water in from the stream.
Other items you will need are a battery bank, a power inverter, and a transmission line leading to your home or other point of use.
The biggest advantage is the regularity of the power source. Unlike solar or wind energy, there are few regular disruptions to the power generating like a cloudy or windless day would be, respectively. This also allows for a smaller battery bank, and more consumptive energy uses.
Another advantage is the price. While the initial cost of setting up a home micro hydro system can range from $1,000 to $20,000, over the life of the unit it will prove to be a cheaper, more reliable method for generating energy.
Because hydropower is highly site specific, you must not only live in an area with powerful enough streams to spin the turbine, but you must also contend with local regulations, even if you own the land.
There is also the danger of drought or flooding. While drought would render your hydropower system moot, enough flooding could cause severe damage to your equipment.
Sustainable Energy can be hard to find if you don't live in a deregulated energy state. Building your own micro hydro system is just one of the many ways you utilize renewable energy sources to gain energy independence.