How it Works
A traditional hydroelectric plant generates power by using the weight of falling water. The weight of the water (62.4 lbs/cubic foot) spins a turbine converting the kinetic power of the moving water to mechanical power. In turn the mechanical power is used to generate electricity. Wikipedia provides detailed information on traditional hydroelectric power generation. The new technology being tested at Hastings does not require a structure that impounds water, or that changes the flow of the river. Rather, turbines are installed to make use of the natural flow of the river current. This is called run of river mode. If all works out as planned, the turbines will be generating clean, renewable energy for as long as the river flows and the machinery is operable.
Two 12-foot diameter turbines will be suspended under a barge located just downstream of the existing Hastings powerplant. The turbines will be mounted on gantries so they can be pulled out of the water in case of emergencies, adverse river conditions, or maintenance requirements. The barge is anchored to the river bottom and tethered to the existing dam structure. The electricity generators are mounted on the barge platform. A transmission cable carries the electricity from the barge to the existing powerplant grid.
Did You Know?
At the headwaters of the Mississippi, the average surface speed of the water is 1.2 miles per hour. People typically walk 3 miles per hour.