What are “run-of-the-river” hydro projects?



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    Run-of-the-river hydroelectric power comes from smaller generators that do not change the flow of the waterway, like a huge dam would, but rather gather power from the waterway’s natural flow. Some projects involve putting a pipe in the river to gather the water with increased pressure to run a tubine, while some simply place the turbine out of sight at the bottom of the river and let the water powerit naturally as it runs. This is much less disruptive to the surrounding environment: dams can change and destroy an entire existing ecosystem, while the worst a run-of-the-river turbine can do is kill a few fish (and they are being designed to reduce this risk as well). A system of these hydro projects is priced compeitively with a fossil-fuel based source of energy, it is aesthetically superior, and it doesn’t kill surrounding plant life through flooding like a dam does, so they can still fix carbon. The only possible downside is that seasonal reduced waterflow can affect energy output more directly. The solution is simply to pick sites for turbine placement carefully.

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