We all need electricity for powering different stuff in our home, to make our lives more pleasant, but if the electricity is produced using green sources it’s even better. One of the most used types of energy up to now was hydropower, but it involves the construction of dams, weirs or other structures that could affect fish.
Hydro Green Energy, LLC has conducted a study to see if hydrokinetic power has an influence over the fish population. Hydrokinetic power uses underwater turbines to harvest the energy developed by the currents in rivers. The study was conducted in real life, not in front of a computer by comparing some statistical data. Fish have been tagged and tracked with radio transmitters and balloons. The results were really encouraging.
Hydro Green Energy has employed a specialized company called Normandeau Associates that has tagged 502 fish that were released in the Mississippi River at Hastings, MN. In this area, Hydro Green Energy has installed a tube-shaped hydrokinetic turbine which was flown through by 402 fish while the rest of 100 swam near by. Almost all of the fish were captured and only one showed injuries from the turbine but it seems this only happened because of the balloon that raised it to the surface. In normal conditions the fish would have probably not been harmed at all.
It’s known that conventional hydropower installations kill fish. But dams concentrate a lot of fish upstream attracting more predatory species. Downstream fish are weakened by injury and stress, and being vulnerable in these areas, they attract lots of predators as well, but this reaction was not observed while using the hydrokinetic installation.
As the final report confirmed that no harm is done to the fish population from rivers, it’s possible that hydrokinetic power will be used further and will be introduced to other locations beside major rivers. One company even developed a hydrokinetic turbine for canals, streams, and other small waterways.